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While you might know the importance of taking a jog, lifting some weight or stretching several times a day is healthy for your body, it is much as important to exercise your mind as well. There have been recent studies that suggest different types of activities which can be beneficial for your brain:
You are what you eat: This is true for all your body, including your brain. Not smoking, exercising regularly, consuming lots of fruits and vegetables and reducing your alcohol intake are healthy behaviors that reduce the risk for dementia and other cognitive impairment.
Learn something new: Keep learning new things that will keep your brain active, including learning to play an instrument or engaging in a new language. Studies have shown that those learning new skills do better on memory tests than those who don’t.
Use your non-dominant hand: To keep your brain active, neurobiologists suggest trying to switch hands when eating dinner or when writing something down.
Meditation: Mindful meditation is actually very effective when trying to improve attention and focus. A few minutes of meditation a day can help engage in new neural pathways, increasing your mental flexibility.
Socialize: People who are socially active are at a lower risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s. Even if you’re an introvert, seeking activities such as joining a club, staying in touch with family or volunteering in your local community are some ways to engage socially.
Just like with other parts of your body, you need to make sure you use your brain constantly to keep as healthy as possible.
With an ongoing pandemic and recent political turmoil, many people have been living in a storm of stress which has negatively impacted their well being. Prolonged stress in human beings directly impacts their health, including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, depression, sleep disorders and many others. In order to prevent this happening, experts recommend the following lifestyle habits that can reduce your stress levels:
Meditation: Doing meditation exercises regularly is proven to help lower cortisol levels, blood pressure and heart rate. A simple meditation requires you to bring your full attention to your breath and inhaling/exhaling through your nose. If you feel your mind starting to wander off, focus back to your breath without judgement.
Exercise breaks: If you work at home and don’t do much movement during the day, regular physical activity is a great way to reduce stress and keep a strong immune system. Engaging in a 30 minute exercise break every day will increase your heart rate and oxygenate your body, boosting your endorphin levels and reducing stress.
Take a nap (or two): Consistent poor sleep is directly related to higher stress levels. If you have trouble sleeping at night, try taking two naps no longer than 30 minutes each to counteract the negative effects of sleep deprivation.
Listen to the music you love: Experts have proven that playing your favorite tune can boost your mood, relax your muscles and release some of the accumulated stress during the day. Music is effective for relaxation and stress management, depending if you put on some classical music or some heavy metal.
What other lifestyle habits can you think of that helps you reduce stress levels in this unique day and age?
Sleep is one of the most important activities for human beings, and a lack of it can bring emotional and physical consequences to your health: it might affect your mood, concentration and memory, while it boosts your risk for depression, obesity and heart disease. While it’s not always necessary to get a prescription for sleep aid, anxiety or stress may get in your way of having a good night’s sleep. Therefore, there are natural ways to improve your sleeping habits:
Hot drinks: While many recur to alcohol to get some sleep, warm milk has long been believed to have chemicals that simulate the effects of tryptophan on the brain, which makes you sleepy. Other beverages include chamomile tea, which contains no caffeine and relaxes you before bedtime.
Exercise: Make sure to get plenty of exercise - The effects of aerobic exercise on sleep appear to be similar to those of sleeping pills, boosting the amount of deep sleep you get. Avoid working out within 2 hours of bedtime, though, as endorphins actually get your body energized!
Room Temperature: The body feels more comfortable when sleeping in a cool environment, with the ideal temperature ranging between 65 and 72 degrees (or between 18 and 22 Celsius).
Go Dark: Your body is programmed to rest when the sun has set and there is no light around you, but technology has brought artificial light to millions of homes around the world which interferes with sleep. Make sure to keep your smartphone away from you at night, and don’t watch TV or turn the lights on if you have trouble with it
Perhaps, the best remedy of all to get a great night’s sleep is to enjoy it. Program your mind for a well-deserved , rested night and get ready to enjoy the experience. Come on, you know you deserve it”
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