Slow to the Draw? Try These Mind Exercises to Stay Sharp

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There isn’t a single person out there who doesn’t have the occasional “senior moment.” You may have walked into the kitchen and forgotten the reason why or go blank on a person’s name that you should know.  Memory lapses may occur at any age and aging alone is not the cause of cognitive decline.

Ready for the good news? Studies have shown that you can help prevent and slow cognitive decline and keep your brain mentally fit with some simple habits. Take a look at these five mind exercises you should use to stay sharp.

Get a good night’s sleep.

This one may seem pretty obvious, but enough sleep is critical to ensure your mind stays sharp. Many experts agree that a good night’s sleep is one of the very best things you can do prior to learning or memorizing new things.

If you fail to get enough sleep, you will feel sluggish and act forgetful. There are ways to help you feel less tired, but more, regular rest is the best cure.  This is why you need to prioritize sleep — lack of proper rest affects motivation, mood, and judgment. So make sure you get at least seven hours of sleep each night to help your brain stay sharp.

Journal.

Disconnect from the digital world to focus your mind.  Think about what it feels like to read without distractions and have the satisfaction of being absorbed by a book. It’s smart to practice this daily to preserve your ability to concentrate. Sit down and journal every day. It will help you focus and clear your mind in a therapeutic way.

Play poker or bingo.

Games like poker and bingo are fun ways to decrease your chances of developing brain-related issues. The reason is that these games stimulate mental activity and focus.  When you play poker with friends, you use several parts of your brain and in turn, keep your mind working and avoid diseases of the brain.  So pull out a deck of cards or head to a local Bingo Hall to keep your brain in tiptop shape.

Practice an instrument.

It’s proven that music is a brain stimulant. Learning how to play an instrument or practicing one is an amazing way to exercise the mind and body connection.  It teaches memory, learning, and coordination skills.  Studies have shown that children who learn music have stronger connections in the motor regions of the brain. In addition, playing music produces dopamine, a neurotransmitter that makes us feel “good.”

Listen to music.

You don’t have to actually make the music yourself for benefits to take place. Music acts like medicine for your mind and benefits memory.  Your mind has to do a lot of computing to make sense of the notes.  You can bring more music and brain benefits into your life by listening to music you don’t know.  It’s easy to get into the routine of listening to the same songs and genre of music, but new music challenges the brain in a way old music cannot.  The unfamiliarity may not feel pleasurable initially, but the music forces the brain to struggle to understand the new sound, therefore it keeps your mind sharp and even improves sleep quality and your mood.

Everyone wants to stay sharp throughout the aging process. If you want to become fitter, you exercise at the gym. If you want to challenge your mind, you have to find ways to work out your brain.  Make it a point to challenge your mind everyday to help it stay sharp and healthy.