With all the stress that goes on in your daily lives, it’s no wonder that many are stressed out. Stress, as it turns out, eats away at critical parts of our brain when its ongoing for a long time. As a result, your level of sharpness declines as you age. But there are ways to stay sharp, whether long-term or short-term.
Here are five ways to stay sharp at any age:
- Calm is Key
No matter how stressful your job life or home life may be, finding ways to be calm is a way to focus on your job easier. Even though these challenges in life can take a toll on you, try to stay calm. By doing that, you will be able to focus more on the issue, help you perform at your job, think clearly, stay on your toes and overcome it creatively. Some effective ways of keeping calm before a big day is to meditate. Rehearse every little thing that you must do in your mind’s eye and imagine each step. You can also play calming music to help everyone in the room relax.
- Either stay active or rest
Time management is the key in this step. No matter how busy you are, there must be boundaries between being active and resting. Sleeping is an especially important activity that you must do, for research has even shown that sleep stimulates cognitive function, including attention, memory and thinking skills because the brain rests and recovers when we sleep. When we don’t sleep well, however, a study in SLEEP concluded that we will have worse cognitive performance, including inferior reasoning and verbal skills.
Besides resting and sleeping, you must also stay active. One way in which you can do that is by exercising, which can increase blood flow and, in turn, sends oxygen and nutrients to the brain. Other than that, exercise also releases chemicals that affect overall health of new brain cells, boost mood and reduce stress. It even clears out certain “wastes” from your brain, known as beta-amyloid plaques, that are linked to dementia. Team sports that provide social engagement is also linked to maintaining sharpness with age.
- Be grateful
Another way to maintain mental clarity in your busy schedule is to take a step back and appreciate the beauty in everyday life. Doing this could relieve stress and maintain resilience for what is ahead. Taking a moment to appreciate beauty each day is something that is well within our reach but helps to contribute to an overall sense of calmness in an otherwise stressful day. What you enjoy varies person to person, but stopping to notice the joy in nature, those you love, your cute pets or anything that really moves you can help improve your sense of resilience.
- Prioritize your family
There are a lot of occupations that are incredibly challenging and drain you physically, mentally and emotionally. Stress, if not managed properly, has been shown to negatively affect brain function, including impairing memory and learning. Making time for your family can help you de-stress and recharge after a long day.
But you have to make sure that you provide the time and room specifically for that reason alone. Otherwise, it will be too easy to allow stuff from the day to seep into your night, making you worry late into the night by work. The trick is to maximize efficiency while at work, so that when you’re home, you can focus on family. After everyone’s asleep, then you will have the opportunity to get back to a time-sensitive tasks.
Finally, eating well and healthy is something you should do regularly in order to stay sharp on the long run. Several studies have shown that a Mediterranean diet, rich in vegetables, fruits, fish and healthy fats like olive oil, is associated with better memory, less cognitive decline, and less brain atrophy in general.
Are there any tips that you follow in order to stay sharp? Tell us in the comments section below!