Brain Health 101

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People tend to think of the mind and the body as two separate things. One is purely physical, the other is ethereal and mysterious. But, in truth, that’s not true. Our minds and our ability to think is intimately tied up in physical stuff – namely the two pounds of gray matter sitting between our ears.

Keeping the brain healthy has become an increasingly important subject of late. Everything from the growing prevalence of dementia to the rising number of cases of sports-related brain problems, it seems that everybody is talking about brain health. So how can you keep yours healthy?

Engage With Complex Subjective Matter

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The brain is often likened to a muscle: you’ve got to use it or lose it. But while many people suspected that such an analogy held, it’s only recently that science has begun to prove it. According to Reader’s Digest, the best way to keep your brain young and healthy is to continually challenge it with novel and interesting subject matter. They suggest trying something new, like learning statistics, reading a good book or doing origami. It doesn’t really matter what it is, so long as it’s a challenge for your brain. Even something as simple as taking up a new sport can help.

Avoid Contact Sports

According to a personal injury lawyer that won substantial settlements for thousands of clients, trauma is a leading cause of brain injury and decline in mental function. Trauma doesn’t necessarily have to be the result of violent intent: it can be any sort of impact, including those caused by playing sports. The most dangerous sport is, of course, boxing, but other sports like rugby are also potentially very dangerous. Impacts to the skull can lead to internal bleeding which, if left untreated, could cause permanent impairment. If you value your brain, stick to gentle sports, like swimming.

Make Strong Connections With Others

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Having a healthy brain isn’t just about eating right and taking exercise, it’s also making sure that you have a strong connection with other people. According to Reader’s Digest, research shows that people who are part of rich social networks (not social media) are far less likely to get dementia. Social connections help to keep our brains healthy and active and enable us to enjoy stress-reducing activities, like chilling out with friends.

Create Financial Goals

It might sound strange to suggest that financial goals could improve your brain health, but according to research, they can. It’s all to do with your brain’s executive function. When you make financial decisions, you stimulate the part of your brain responsible for complex actions, like scheduling and organizing. Repeatedly stimulating this part of the brain helps to grow more connections between neurons, shielding you from cognitive decline.

Never Retirement

People spend all their lives looking forward to their retirement, but too many people view retirement as retiring from life, rather than work. Retiring from work is a good thing for your brain, so long as you have something else lined up afterward. Otherwise, you risk just sitting around all day, allowing your intellect to go to waste.