In a mental fog? Feeling sluggish or forgetful or distracted? I’ve been there, too! Our brains are amazing, complicated organs, affected by so many factors. I’ve been working on various areas of brain boosting over the past few years and thinking lately about how to increase my mental accuity and focus even more.
I've been planning to write this post for a while, but my memory was jogged this morning by these electronic sign messages outside my son's high school about preparing for the upcoming standardized writing tests.
Great reminder, but it's not just for students preparing for tests! We all need to remember to care for our brains!
- How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day by Michael J. Gelb: This book takes a long look at how da Vinci approached life and learning, incorporating curiosity, learning through experience/persistence, cultivating sensory attention, embracing ambiguity, balancing between the arts and sciences, nurturing the physical body, and an appreciating interconnectedness.
- No More Brain Drain: Proven Ways to Maintain Your Mind and Memories by Readers Digest: Based on more than 100 scientific studies, this easy-to-read, visually pleasing book is full of practical and innovative ideas for boosting your mental edge – foods, exercises, mental games, sleep tips, etc. Please note that there are other books with similar titles. Maybe they're good, too!
Aim for eight hours of nightly sleep in a cool, dark, quiet room. The ideal hours are before midnight!
Oh, and don't forget to drink plenty of clean water! A body that is not properly hydrated can feel sluggish and tired! How much water? Take your weight in pounds. Divide that in half. Drink that many ounces per day. That's a lot of water, but your body needs it for so many reasons!
Exercise - especially aerobic - gets your blood and oxygen flowing to the brain, and improves mood and general stamina. It also increases physical awareness, such as hand-eye coordination, that is crucial to strengthening your mental muscles. It helps posture and flexibility, and, done correctly, can alleviate pain. It releases calming hormones like serotonin and dopamine, reducing stress. All of these will help you think better, too.
Can't afford a gym membership or just can't get out much? Lace on your sneakers and take a brisk walk in your own neighborhood! Walk with a friend for extra motivation. Or buy yourself an exercise DVD to use in your own home! I just bought the "Keeping Fit in Your 50's" DVD set at Sam's Club, but I need to go to the chiropractor before I start using it!