Did you know that May is Mental Health Month? It's the perfect opportunity to spread awareness about the importance of cognitive health.
Unfortunately, both long- and short-term memory worsens with age, according to Live Science. However, there are many ways you can be proactive and practice good habits that maximize your overall mental health. Maintaining your cognitive health can be as simple as playing games throughout the day or switching up your normal daily routines to test your mind. There are so many fun and easy ways you can increase your mental performance as your grow older.
Consider these ways you can sharpen your mind throughout retirement:
Wake up and smell the rosemary
Did you know that certain aromas can affect your mental abilities? According to a study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience, essential oil of rosemary and lavender can influence the way your mind works when it comes to memory. The subjects placed in the rosemary-infused cubicles showed better long-term and working memory than those working in the unscented cubicles. On the other hand, the subjects working in cubicles infused with lavender oil performed worse than both groups in memory testing. Maybe it's time to consider freshening up your living space with rosemary essential oils!
Tell a great story
By telling a story, you are challenging and engaging your mind, according to the Chartered Accountants Benevolent Association. Get a group of your friends together and start a train of storytelling. Come up with a theme or subject, begin the story with only one sentence and have the person to the right of you complete the next one. Go around the circle until your story completes itself! This is a great way to be socially active and get those creative juices flowing.
Always get a good night's sleep
Sleeping well throughout the night helps restore your energy for the next day, but it could also improve your memory. According to the information Neal Barnard, professor of medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine shared with Real Simple magazine, getting more sleep is one of the simplest ways to improve your memory.
"Sleep is key time for your brain to solidify the connections between neurons," he said.
In general, older adults should be getting seven to eight hours of sleep each night, so make sure you're not skimping out!
Exercising on a regular basis is great for promoting a healthy lifestyle physically, but it could also affect your mental health. Performing any type of cardiovascular activity - running, biking or swimming - for 30 minutes at least three times a week can help improve your memory. Cardiovascular activity raises your heart rate, which increases the rate of blood flow to the brain. That enlarges the hippocampus and increases the secretion of a protein that is necessary for long-term memory. So, the next time you're unsure about heading to the gym, consider the good it could do for your memory!
Treat unhealthy stress
Feeling stressed out doesn't only affect your mood, it can also damage your brain, according to Helpguide. Not only can chronic stress destroy brain cells, but it can even damage the hippocampus. Consider managing your stress by taking breaks throughout the day, setting balance between everyday activities and focusing on taking one step at a time. Don't force yourself to multitask if it's not necessary. These are all simple ways you can prevent yourself from getting overly stressed or having a mental breakdown.
Laugh more often
Having a good laugh can actually engage multiple regions of your brain, that includes the area dedicated to memory. So spend time with the people who make you happy and know how to make you laugh. Don't take life too seriously - just have a good laugh and enjoy the company!
Source: Sunrise Senior Living