As we get older, we begin to experience a slow cognitive decline. However, it isn’t old age that causes memory lapses. The leading cause of memory lapses, besides an illness or disorder, is lack of brain activity, lack of focus, and lack of attention. To prevent cognitive decline and reduce the risk of dementia, it is crucial for a person to stay physically active, get enough sleep, limiting toxic substances, eat a balanced diet, and to challenge your mind and keep your brain active on a daily basis. Here are a few tips on how you can keep your mind sharp:
1. Keep learning
A higher level of education is associated with better mental functioning in old age. As a person continues to learn new things, he or she is actively challenging their mind and keeping their brain active. Challenging your brain with mental exercise is believed to help maintain and stimulate individual brain cells.
2. Use all of your senses
The more senses you use in learning something, the more of your brain will be involved in retaining the memory. So challenge all your senses as you venture into the unfamiliar. Use your sense of sight, smell, touch, sound, and taste when applicable. The more senses you use, the more engaged your brain will be.
3. Focus your attention
Live in the present moment. More often than not, we find ourselves operating on “automatic mode”. By failing to pay attention to our daily actions, we aren’t actively using or engaging our brain. This causes us to misplace certain items, forget tasks, and ultimately causes us to experience memory loss. By living in the present moment and focusing your attention on your daily tasks, you are better able to concentrate on learning and remembering new and important things.
4. Participate in activities
Actively participating in activities such as games, puzzles, problem solving, etc. allow you to engage your brain and think outside the box. Problem solving is one of the best ways to challenge your mind and find solutions to different problems. Activities allow you to define the problem, generate alternatives, evaluate your situation, and reach a solution.