How to Not Just Get Older, but Also Wiser
You get older and you get wiser, but you can also become more isolated. This paradox is something that is seen over and over again. Senior citizens often have a wealth of wisdom but have few people to impart it to, so they begin to close in on themselves. By doing this, not only do they begin to experience depression and isolation, which are becoming more common in the aging population, but their minds also begin to dull. Thankfully, having a mind that diminishes in proportion with increases in age is not an inescapable prophecy. Create a different future for yourself. Work to keep your mind sharp and engaged now, to ensure that you have a healthy brain, body, and spirit in the years to come. The University of Texas recently released a new study that explored the effects that mental challenges and exercises had on aging minds. It turns out that continuous learning opportunities and brain engagement with mental puzzles greatly increase the quality of life in aging populations. Healthy aging is the key to happy aging. Finding ways to increase your mental interactions is just as important as daily bathing, grooming, and eating. Look for ways to stimulate your brain or find someone that can help you. Doing this will not only keep you mentally agile, but will also keep you out of isolation and increase the quality of your life.
Improving Your Mind’s Agility
A classic for a reason, playing games keeps you on your toes. Cards and board games require you to consider and evaluate a situation before acting, thereby preventing routine responses to a problem. Being savvy in your problem solving is always beneficial, because even in your golden years you will be presented with situations in which you have to generate a creative and effective solution.
Plus, playing games involves social interaction. Socializing with children, friends, and grandchildren helps reinforce interpersonal bonds that further increase mental stimulation. Besides, being surrounded by your loved ones, even when competing against them, is a great way to have fun and feel a sense of community.
Start a Diary
Improving cognitive function can be as simple as expressing yourself. Finding a way to make your feelings, thoughts, hopes, and dreams heard can do wonders for your self-esteem. Having a high self-worth also helps alleviate much of the stress and depression that senior citizens can feel (teenagers aren’t the only ones that experience angst!). Remember that you have as much to contribute to the future as anyone else. Write down ideas and projects, and reflect on your positive feelings. Doing this will require you not only to think and assess situations that occur daily, but it can also increase the longevity of your memory while brightening up your day.
What you eat can drastically affect your mental health. Proper nutrition is a cornerstone of a healthy mind, and diets high in antioxidants, fruits, and vegetables are known for boosting your quality of life.
This becomes even more important as you age. Since your body does not consider a quick mind to be essential to survival, when other body systems lack nutrition they will absorb resources that your brain needs, leaving you feeling sluggish and dim. A good diet, though, will keep your systems in working order so they do not have to fight each other to receive the correct vitamins and minerals, which will leaves you chipper and alert at the end of each day.
Besides mental gymnastics, another way to stave off decreases in brain function and depression is through exercise. A report from the Journal of Neurology finds that the single greatest predictor of your future brain capacity is regular exercise. The study concludes that this is because regular movement helps increase blood and oxygen flow to the brain, which helps energize the neurons and refreshes your cognitive abilities.
So, if you’re planning on living until 110 like Flossie Dickey, take a page out of her book and learn the secret of a long, good life. That secret is: “Don’t fight it, just live it.” That’s right, apparently “living” is the secret to longevity with all your faculties intact. So don’t just accept the mind numbing comfort of the television when your knees feel creaky or your spirit feels unmotivated. Get yourself out there. Find a companion to chat with and motivate you to keep your spirit, mind, and body sharp. There’s a big wide world out there. Don’t think you’ve lost the opportunity to explore it because you’ve begun to age! It is never too late to start exploring.