Four ways to be kind to your brain

Shannon Perkins, exercise specialist, suggests some helpful activities to train your brain to stay sharp and healthy, in honor of Brain Awareness Week.

Brain health is often one of those facets of our overall health that we tend to ignore, taking for granted the ability to recall where we set our car keys down or whose birthday falls in the current month. We don’t realize that over time, as we age, our brains start to naturally deteriorate. As scary as that sounds, there are things we can do to keep it sharp and active. The challenge becomes reducing this rate of decline and using sources at our disposal to slow the process.

Come to your senses.

One of the easiest ways to increase the use of your brain is to do things that employ all of your senses.  Time after time, studies have shown that including one other sense in a task will increase your ability to remember it. For instance, think about your favorite home cooked meal. Can you picture its colors, feel its texture and smell its aroma? Can you recall ingredients used or the first time you tasted it? Maybe you can recall sharing this meal with a loved one. The addition of senses helps a person paint a better picture of the experience.

Stay on the bright side.

Another easy way to keep your mind active is to maintain a positive attitude about yourself. Being open to experiencing new events and not using your age as a reason why you can’t participate can give you the right mental attitude about life. People who tend to believe they can’t accomplish tasks or participate in fun activities will find themselves not even trying. 

Keep it clean.

There’s a lot of truth to the quote, “A clean home is a happy home.” Removing clutter and getting organized has multiple benefits, including its ability to reduce stress on the brain. Studies have found links to people diagnosed with depression and unorganized living conditions. While our brains are able to adapt to just about anything over time, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t experiencing some form of unneeded stress. Take time to remove unnecessary clutter from your home, designate areas for specific items (which makes it easier to find them) and take advantage of calendars and planners. 

Stay studious and social.

One of the biggest ways to keep your brain healthy and sharp is to continue learning. Find a new hobby or skill that engages you in active thinking, such as puzzles, joining a book club, writing out your life story, creating a new garden layout for the spring or volunteering. You should always be challenging yourself to think outside of the box. Keeping yourself social with a variety of people is not only a fun way to spend an afternoon, but a great way to engage your brain without it feeling like a chore. 

If you would like to test out your brain health, please join us at one of our multiple Parkview locations for a Train the Brain class. Our exercise specialists will lead you through brain drills designed to challenge your mind using short and long term memory, reasoning, and processing skills in a friendly and fun environment.

Train the Brain classes are offered at multiple Parkview locations: Allen County with Jim Thurber, Parkview Senior Wellness Center at the Parkview Health & Fitness Center, Mondays and Wednesdays, 2:05 p.m. – 2:50 p.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays 9 a.m. – 9:45 a.m. and 2:05 p.m. – 2:50 p.m. Kosciusko County with Shannon Perkins, the Parkview Center for Healthy Living Warsaw, Tuesdays 8 a.m. – 9 a.m.

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