We work to keep our bodies healthy, so why not our brains? Follow these 5 common-sense tips to keep your thinking cap in tip-top shape over the summer.
It’s summer, and that means it’s time for beaches, barbeques, baseball and…
That’s right. From what I’m hearing from friends, on TV and in even the halls of Jabra, summer-time the perfect time to recharge our brains.
Summer may be a lot of things, but brain-recharging season it isn’t. Chasing kids around a theme park is tough on both nerves and brain. Sitting on a beach sipping pina coladas does little for the gray matter. And lounging on the couch watching TV does even less.
In fact, there’s really no such thing as “recharging” our brains. There isn’t a magic pill, and we can’t plug them into a wall socket like we do our smartphones.
What we can do are some pretty basic activities to keep our brains healthy and they don’t even involve staying away from the frosty drinks. But we need to perform these tasks routinely and continuously – not just for a couple of weeks in the summer.
How Do We Build Healthier Brains?
There are plenty of activities that can lead to stronger, healthier brains, and here are just a few of them:
- Exercise (the body). Research shows that the fitter we are physically, the fitter we become mentally too. We don’t need to be workout warriors to keep our brains in tip-top shape; regular exercise such as a brisk walk or some intense gardening sends plenty of nourishing blood flowing through our brains.
- Be sociable. Being around other humans isn’t just fun, it’s vital to providing the stimulation our brains crave. There are plenty of activities even the most timid person can participate in to stay socially active. Like join a community group, book club, sports team — or just grab a cup of coffee with a friend, or better yet, a stranger.
- Exercise (the mind). Keeping our brains alert and sharp requires that we continually challenge them. Think of it as exercise for the mind. Fortunately, we don’t have to master the theory of relatively; simple, everyday activities such as playing cards, doing a crossword puzzle or sitting down at the piano provide all the mental challenge our brains need to stay healthy.
- Laugh it off. They say laughter is the best medicine, right? Laughter is an instant and infectious mood-lifter. And since research shows that having a positive attitude and thinking positive thoughts are better for our brains than negative ones, laughter is actually a pretty potent medicine for our minds.
- Clear your head. If you’ve been working hard for an extended period or have been under stress, let your brain process it all, so you can let it go. Listening to relaxing music (as we discussed in a previous blog), talking a quiet walk in the park or watching a soothing waterfall are perfect de-stressors.
Challenging our brains is critical to keeping them in sharp. Yet at the same time, studies show that people who are relaxed have lower rates of dementia than those who report being stressed. Give yourself time to clear your head of work-related to-dos, stop obsessing over the next deadline, and then focus on rebuilding the thinker.
So, this summer, forget about the passive recharging of your brain. Instead, exercise your mind, body and soul. That’s what I’m going to do.