The start of January marks the opportunity to create a list of resolutions to help you start the New Year with your best foot forward. Improving physical health, particularly losing weight, is consistently among the top five resolutions every year. Why not invest in your overall wellbeing by setting a resolution to also boost your cognitive health?
Consider these 6 tips to promote optimal brain health over the long-term:
- Stimulate your mind. Mentally engaging activities such as card games, Sudoku or reading help strengthen communication pathways in the brain. Consider making it a goal to challenge your brain with similar activities once a week for at least 20 minutes.
- Exercise your body. Physical activity stimulates the circulatory system, which promotes the removal of toxins and increases blood flow (carrying oxygen and nutrients) to the brain. Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every other day.
- Eat a balanced diet. Fish, nuts, dark chocolate, blueberries and olive oil are considered brain super foods because they also promote heart health and blood flow to the brain.
- De-stress. Stress actually shuts down systems in your body including the part of the brain that allows you to learn. Sign up for a yoga class that meets once a week, or try meditating or praying in the comfort of your home to promote inner calm.
- Maintain social ties. Rich, meaningful relationships help reduce stress and depression, and sharpen cognitive abilities. Stay connected with friends and family, and consider joining a community group or club. Set aside one evening a week for a phone call or visit with loved ones.
- The Cognitive Therapeutics Method™. The Method, which is an in-home activities program that promotes brain health, is another great brain-engaging option.
New Year’s resolutions can be difficult to keep, so we have put together 5 additional tips to help you stay on track!
- Make your goals both realistic and attainable. The above behaviors may not currently be a part of your regimen, so start off with smaller goals such as 10-15 minutes of light exercise once a week and meditating once a week. By making easy-to-manage goals, you’ll be more likely to commit to your plans and maintain a healthier way of living!
- Make a solid plan. Write down your weekly and monthly goals using a calendar, and how you plan to achieve. The calendar will serve as a reminder and help you visualize what you hope to accomplish.
- Remember that it’s okay to have off-days. Indulging in a few sweets or missing one day of exercise doesn’t mean that you can’t get right back on track.
- Be committed and reward your success. Try creating a reward system – if you meet a weekly goal, reward yourself with something as simple as watching your favorite movie or more extravagant by purchasing that fun workout top you have been eyeing. By linking rewards with completing your goals, you’ll be more motivated to keep up the good work!
- Talk about it! Spread the word and share your goals with family and friends –they may even want to join you and now you have someone that will hold you accountable (this goes both ways). Remember, making choices that promote brain health and optimal wellbeing is important for people of all ages!
For more information on brain healthy behaviors, check out Home Care Assistance’s book, The Brain Boost: A Practical Guide to Brain Health, which addresses the latest research on enhancing cognitive functioning. For more information on the Cognitive Therapeutics Method, visit www.CognitiveTherapeutics.com, or sign up for our Cognitive Therapeutics Newsletter which will provide a monthly update on the latest research in brain health and overall cognition.