Mental Strength: Keeping Your Brain Healthy

MHRC News

As we grow older, it’s important to keep our minds healthy as well as our bodies. Keeping busy and engaged and maintaining social connections are two of the most important ways to keep your mind sharp. Here are some of the best ways to get a mental workout!

A MacArthur Foundation Study on Successful Aging found in a long-term study that the more education an individual has, the more likely he or she is able to maintain memory and thinking skills as he or she grows older. That doesn’t mean you have to return to school to get your PhD! All it takes is a commitment to life-long learning and to challenging your mind daily.

The study also found that maintaining social connections is crucial to keeping the mind healthy, especially during stressful times. Social interaction has been shown to reduce stress on the brain. Having the support of family, friends, religious communities, and retirement communities remain essential to mental health as we age. (For help in connecting with family and friends with our new Amazon Fire Tablets, contact Shelia Owens at shelia.owens@marshillretire.com.)

To challenge your mind and stay socially connected, try some of these activities:

Read. Reading a good book won’t just challenge your mind; it’s also a great way to take a break from the stresses of everyday life.

Attend a lecture. Learning new and interesting things keep us mentally sharp, and you can attend lectures with friends, which provides social interaction. Mars Hill residents have FREE access to all Mars Hill University lectures. During COVID, when lectures aren’t available, try listening to TED Talks or other videos on subjects you’re interested in.

Learn a second language. Or, build your vocabulary by writing down words you aren’t familiar with as you read, looking them up, then challenging yourself to use them a few times in conversation. You’ll impress your friends and yourself!

Play cards. Gin rummy, anyone? Playing cards is a great way to interact socially, learn a new skill, or practice one you already know. (No cheating!)

Put a puzzle together. Challenge yourself by working puzzles of 1,000 pieces or more. They’re a great way to spend time with friends or for concentrating on your own for a couple of hours.

Learn a new skill. Ask a friend to teach you to knit, draw, paint, or dance, then return the favor! You’ll both enjoy the fun of being together, and you’ll keep your brain active by teaching it something new.