5 Ways to Help Your Brain Stay Younger

By Clare Burgess - Hypnotherapist -

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We often worry about keeping our skin looking younger or our bodies fit and healthy but do you ever think about doing things to help your brain stay younger?

The health of our brain determines everything about our quality of life both physically and mentally, so it goes without saying that it’s worth focusing on sooner rather than later. By keeping your brain healthy you can prevent the effects of ageing from taking hold too soon and avoid a certain amount of cognitive deterioration altogether. It’s estimated that the cells in our brains start to deteriorate from about the age of 20 and factors like smoking, stress, excess alcohol and poor diet contribute to premature deterioration and ageing of the brain.

Apart from adopting a healthier lifestyle and more nutritious diet, here’s a summary of some of the positive things you might want to start integrating into your daily routine to keep your brain healthier and younger.

1. Relax and take time out!

Excess and continued exposure to stress hormones, such as cortisol, not only have an impact on our mental health in terms of depression and anxiety issues but also contribute to ageing our brains and has an enormous impact on our immune system. It’s been proven that people who practice meditation or regular relaxation have healthier brains. So if you want to keep your memory and cognitive function sharp then learn how to breathe, reduce stress and give yourself a break.

Try to take a few minutes to give your brain a rest every 30 minutes if you can. Also, something as simple as 10 to 20 minutes of meditation or mindfulness a day can help protect your brain and keep it healthy.

2. Aerobic exercise – get that heart-rate up daily

The brain needs a good supply of oxygen and nutrients to keep it healthy and one of the best ways is through aerobic exercise. We are all probably aware that exercise helps your body stay healthy and therefore reduces the risks of diseases such as heart disease and high blood pressure but did you know it can keep your brain sharper too? Numerous studies have proven that regular exercise has a positive impact on your cognitive function and maintaining memory in an ageing brain. Not only does it encourage the development of new cells in the brain but also helps to maintain strong connections between cells*.

3. Reduce screen time and improve your sleep

Good quality sleep is vital to our mental health and it’s also vital to keeping the brain younger. Sleep is also essentially for our overall health. There are many ways to improve your sleep but one way you might not be aware of is avoiding the overuse of screens. Using devices such as mobile phones during the hour or so before bedtime exposes our brain to high amounts of blue light which is very stimulating and can disrupt our sleep patterns.

4. Connect and socialise

We are social beings and need connection to others. Loneliness is considered a major contributor to poor health and is often a factor in addictions. When we connect with others we are fulfilling many of our basic emotional needs which can help our overall well-being and stimulate our brains.

Our brains also benefit when we laugh so having regular fun and laughing is a great way to keep your brain young.

5. Exercise your brain

Stimulating your brain is essential. This is probably one of the most well know tips – ‘use it or you’ll lose it’!  Recent studies have shown that learning a new skill or learning another language helps create new neuron pathways and improves memory especially in older people.  So you want to keep the neuro-plasticity of your brain in good working order, invest time in learning something new.

If you missed it, the BBC series on How to Stay Young was very insightful.

* References:
Neurocognitive Effects of Stress Jeansok John Kim, University of Washington
Aerobic fitness reduces brain tissue loss in ageing humans. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12586857

Clare Burgess is a Cognitive Hypnotherapist and personal development coach. She first discovered the power of hypnotherapy when she was pregnant with her second child. A positive birth experience aided by hypnotherapy and hypnobirthing inspired Clare to train as a hypnotherapist. Clare is passionate about helping people overcome anxiety issues and emotional blocks in their lives through her work. To read more about Clare click here

If you’re looking to boost your brain health through your diet, try adding some healthy fats in the form of chia seeds and coconut. Good quality dark chocolate is also known to boost brain power too! All available in our natural health food shop

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