At any age, a brain that isn’t used and challenged regularly will lose its sharpness and wit. As you age, it’s especially important to keep your mind sharp so that you can continue to enjoy new experiences in life. Whoever said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks just gave up trying. Any activity that requires real-time problem solving is an excellent way to keep your mind sharp. The following are some activities that not only keep your mind sharp, but are enjoyable, too.
Learn a new skill or hobby
If there’s ever been a skill or hobby that you’ve been impressed by or wanted to learn, the best time to start is the present. You don’t need to master a hobby to enjoy it. There are plenty of amateur musicians out there who aren’t selling records but have enriched their lives through music. If you’re not interested in music, think of the things you’ve seen others do and thought, “that would be a nice skill to have.” This could be writing poetry or stories, birdwatching, fixing machines like cars, painting or drawing, singing—the list goes on and on.
Teach one of your skills to someone else
Whether it’s a loved one, a friend, a neighbor; there is someone in your life who shares an interest of yours that you could lend some expertise to. Teaching others is one of the most rewarding experiences available to you. Not only can you enjoy a skill that you’ve already built, but you can see that joy brand new in someone learning it for the first time.
Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years, and more recent studies have shown that it can improve brain function and your general mood. The trick with meditation is to stick with it. Like most hobbies, the beginning week or two can feel slow and dragging. But, after a week or two, you will start to see the positive effects, including stronger focus. Meditation is all about letting thoughts come and go. You don’t sit and try to think about nothing, you just focus on steady breathing and let your thoughts leave your mind as quickly as they have popped up. Once you get the hang of it, it can become an incredibly restful and relaxing activity that brings tons of benefits with it.
Mix up your daily routine
If you are a creature of habit like many of us, switch things up every once in a while to keep your mind on its feet. If you watch TV after dinner every night, think about taking a walk or reading a book sometimes instead. Repeating the same routine can be comforting, but it can also put your brain into a rut that doesn’t challenge it, allowing it to lose sharpness.
Dance to your favorite music
If you’re not much of a dancer, that’s okay. Wait until you’re on your own and jam out. Dancing gets your body moving, which is always good. Also, just the act of listening to positive music stimulates your brain. Move it or lose it, as they say.
Expand your vocabulary
Keeping your brain sharp is all about making connections. The more connections you can make, the more often and more deeply your brain will be stimulated. A great way to increase these connections is by focusing on learning more words. Keep a journal of words that you’re unfamiliar with to look up later. Repeating these words and their definitions is a surefire way to lock them into your memory. Expanding your vocabulary will strengthen your memory and enrich your life.
Stick with it and keep trying
Pushing yourself is never easy, but the rewards are always worth it. When you feel like giving up, remember what motivates you to try in the first place. You want to lead a full life and make a positive impact on the lives of your loved ones. The best way to do that is with a healthy body and a healthy brain, so stick with it!