Do you feel like your brain is aging well? According to Dr. John Medina you can keep your brain functioning at its peak no matter your age.
After reading his book, “Brain Rules for Aging Well”, I’d like to share 10 takeaways. In this post, I’ll focus on five emotion-based aging brain health tips: (I’ll share part two on the aging brain’s physical-fitness-based tips next month.)
1. Socializing has been likened to “vitamins for the brain”. Having high quality relationships and friends of all ages, including children, keeps your brain young. When we seek to understand their differing outlook, we give our brain training in adjusting to new viewpoints.
2. Choose happiness. In general, people become happier as they age. There is often more acceptance by selectively remembering pleasant life events; nostalgic feelings increase well-being. I often try to relive past vacations, much more satisfying than fretting about the future.
3. Practice gratitude daily. Keep a gratitude journal in which you write down three positive things you are grateful that happened during the day. Look at your list both before bed and upon awakening: you will be astounded at how it influences your life. Try a gratitude walk, by concentrating on appreciative thoughts and the natural beauty surrounding us.
4. Soothe your stress responses. Stress is intended to be a temporary crisis response to keep us safe. Learning how to reduce your stress improves well-being and sleep, and lessens depression and anxiety, while increasing your creativity and enjoyment.
5. Strengthen your memory. Give your memory a workout by both learning and teaching. It’s never too late to take a class (OLLI is a remarkable local resource). Acquiring a complex skill is an excellent way to reduce age-related memory decline. Study a new language or to play an instrument or explore an interest in a hobby. Initiate deep conversations about what you’ve learned and experienced in life.
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