7 tips to keep your mind in shape

09 October 2019

“Some people, because they control their minds, are barely disturbed by failure and adverse circumstances.”
Dalai Lama

It has been clinically proven that people who stay active, physically and intellectually, enjoy a higher quality of life. Our brain needs to exercise, just like the muscles of our organism, otherwise it can also become “atrophied”.

The brain can be stimulated by simply changing our daily routines, such as: trying to write with the non-dominant hand, changing the route to work or watching movies in original version and / or subtitles, because this activates the areas of the brain that are not frequently used and force the learning process. This ability to adapt to learning is called Neuroplasticity.

These are the 7 important steps to keep our mind in shape:

  1. Food for the brain. The brain needs 20% of the energy we consume for its proper functioning, hence the importance of a good diet. It is essential to follow a healthy diet based on fruits and vegetables, fish, meat, cereals and dairy products, and to a lesser extent, sugars and highly processed foods.
    There are specific foods that highly benefit our brain since they are related to the improvement of the state of mind and the capacity of concentration such as oats; or oily fish that is rich in fatty acids Omega 3 and they are related to the prevention of alzheimer. Nuts favour the development of memory and learning capacity or, broccoli with tremendous neuroprotective effect.
  2. Physical exercise. The size of the brain decreases by 5% per decades, from the age of 40. Performing some physical activity periodically, for 30 minutes a day, contributes positively to increase some areas of the brain, especially the left region of the hippocampus, and therefore improve cognitive functions of the person such as attention or long-term memory. It also has an antidepressant effect and relieves and reduces stress and anxiety.
  3. Recreational activities. Certain activities, either individually, such as hobbies: wordfinders, crossword puzzles or sudokus; or in groups, such as board games, have a positive effect on our brain because they require the use of reasoning strategy, memory, attention and logic…
  4. Reading: The act of reading regularly improves our capacity for abstraction, imagination, memory and we develop the capacity for comprehension and inference. This makes our reserve of cognitive functions greater and this is something that benefits us greatly in old age.
  5. Cultivating interest and learning new things: Always taking into account the age and tastes of each person, learning something new requires the activation of many different areas of our brain. To speak a new language or to play an instrument supposes that more neurons are generated and increases the gray matter of our brain, memory and the capacity of concentration.
  6. Get enough sleep: The brain never rests, not even when we sleep. In fact, it’s when you sleep, when the processing and storage of all-day information takes place; so if we don’t get enough sleep, this information could be lost. It is recommended to rest an average of 7 to 9 hours a day so that brain function is not affected by lack of sleep.
  7. Social relationships: There are studies that support the existence of a strong connection between having a broad social life and an increase in the cognitive capacity of the person. Socializing cognitively stimulates the person by initiating and maintaining conversations and/or putting into practice the social norms that each moment requires. Being socially active contributes to decreasing the deterioration of memory over time, improving the speed of perception and visual/spatial awareness, among other cognitive functions.