Improve Your Mental and Physical Well-Being
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New Year resolutions tend to focus on losing weight. This year, make a commitment to improve both your physical and mental health.
- Exercise your mind. Choose activities that challenge the mind: learn to play a musical instrument, tackle crossword puzzles, take up a new hobby, study a foreign language or sign language, keep up with current events, and read.
- Exercise your body. A 30-minute daily exercise routine not only boosts your physical health, but improves blood flow to the brain.
- Get sufficient sleep.
- Socialize. Seek opportunities for discussion, listen carefully, and respond appropriately.
- Eat nutritious foods for a healthy mind and body. Fruits and vegetables, for example, provide antioxidants which protect and nourish brain cells.
- Develop good mental habits by accepting learning challenges. Try to figure out why something works or why something happened.
- Maintain a positive attitude. An optimistic outlook makes you more alert, and when you’re more alert, your senses are more open to receiving information. Engaging the senses, in turn, contributes to a healthy brain and an active mind.
- Be aware of factors which can adversely affect mental functioning. Many are unrelated to aging and/or genetics, such as medications, poor vision and/or hearing, vitamin deficiencies, stress, and depression. Depression, in particular, is sometimes mistaken for Alzheimer’s disease because it can contribute to difficulties with memory and concentration.
- Schedule regular physical examinations with your physician. Your overall health status directly affects brain function.
- Develop a system of mental reminders and cues. To remember the name of the person to whom you were just introduced, for instance, repeat it often in conversation.