3 Tips For Staying Mentally Active
For most of us, we take our brains for granted, we use it in every single thing we do without even realising. As I’m typing up this blog post, my fingers are moving over the keyboard with little effort. Yet if you breakdown just some of the processes that are happening at once – I’m forming ideas and thoughts of what to write, signals are being sent to my fingers to not only move but to choose the correct keys to press, I’m proof reading as I go, etc. It’s amazing how much is happening in less than a fraction of a second, all thanks to my brain.
It’s often only as we start to age and they realise their memory isn’t quite what it was, that we really appreciate how fantastic our brains are. We’ve all heard the old adage, “Use it or lose it.” That saying is particularly true when it comes to our brains.
Here are some tips on how to keep your brain active:
Problem solving is a great way to kick your brain into gear. Some people see jigsaws as an educational toy that you give to young children but a jigsaw as a great way to switch off and relax no matter what age you are. While your body will be relatively stationary your brain is firing up and doing lots of work. It’s a great activity for all generations to get involved in.
Sudoku is another great puzzle that will keep your brain active. The aim is to fill each nine-square row, each nine-square column and each nine-square box with the numbers 1 through 9. Sounds simple but you cannot repeat any number in a row, column or box. Each puzzle will have some numbers prefilled to help you along. There are different difficulty levels too, so something for all capabilities.
2. Online Games
I’m sure you will have seen brain training apps that charge quite a bit of money to download. But using online games does not have to cost you money. There are sites, such as solitaire.org, that have a large catalogue of games that you can access totally free of charge. I love a traditional pen and paper word search but tend to be able to solve them quite quickly.
The Daily Word Search gives you the option of 12×12, 14×14 or 16×16. To the left of the screen is a list of words you need to find but it doesn’t show you the full list of words straight away. As you find words, another is added to the list. For the 12×12 there are 16 words to find and for the 14×14 & 16×16 there are 25 words to find. You also have a clock timing how long it’s taken you which adds to the challenge.
If word games aren’t your thing then they have card games or even hidden object games. All of these games, where logic needs to be used, helps to keep your mind sharp and focused.
3. Social interaction
We are social creatures; we thrive when we connect to other people. For some their worlds become smaller as they get older – children move out of home, friends may move away, they may retire, their lives aren’t as busy as they were. You may have noticed this in older relatives, that as they have less happening in their life, their memory doesn’t seem quite as sharp, they’ve slowed down in themselves.
If we can keep ourselves active within our social groups it will not only help keep us mentally active but it’s also helps our mental health. People who have strong social interactions are less likely to experience depression and stress. No matter what stage you are in life here are some tips on how to broaden your social connections:
- take part in a group sport or exercise class
- join a group to learn a new skill or hobby
- join a book club
- be friendly and talk to your neighbours
Next time your out, smile at someone as you pass them on the street, you’d be surprised at how many people will smile back. Your day will be all the better for these small interactions. Are there are any tips you have on how to keep mentally active? I’d love to hear them, just pop your comments in the box below.