Retirement Article
Ageless Mind: Defying Forgetfulness with 5 Brain-Boosting Techniques
Scott A. Gese


Retirement should be the best time of your life. It's imperative to keep yourself physically and mentally healthy.

Do you find yourself becoming more forgetful? Is simple math a complex problem? Is brain fog showing up more often and taking longer to lift?

Don't shrug it off by chalking it up to “old age”. Age is not the enemy of your brain. How could it be? Age is nothing more than a measurement of time. It has very little to do with the decline of your cognitive functions. There's more to it than that. These issues are symptoms of something other than old age.

What Are Cognitive Functions?

In a nutshell, cognitive functions are mental activities which include clear thinking, reasoning, and remembering. These functions have less to do with age and more to do with lifestyle choices. So don't be thinking your foggy thought process or forgetfulness is inevitable because you're “old”. That's a poor excuse.

You can clear the fog and sharpen your mind. Turning things around is not impossible, but you'll have to get off the couch to make it happen.

Here are 5 time-tested mind-stimulating, brain-sharpening skills you need to employ to keep your cognitive function working in your favor. They may cost you a little more than a few minutes of your time each day, but the results will be well worth the effort.

1. Music

Does music improve cognitive function? There are plenty of studies that say yes; music can do this. Not only can it improve cognitive function, but it also has a positive effect on a multitude of other brain and body health issues.

Start your day with music. It can put you in a good mood that can stay with you throughout the day. Raising your mood will help sharpen your cognitive functions.

You can listen to the type of music you like. This is one of the easiest ways to improve your overall health. Here's a great article that goes into more detail on how the brain responds to music: Your Brain on Music. There are many more articles if the topic interests you.

2. Regular Exercise

This one takes a little more effort, but it doesn't need to be strenuous. Pumping iron is great if you want to do it. As we get older and for most of us who are retired, lifting heavy weights is a younger man's exercise. Fortunately, it's not necessary. As I've written in other posts, Qi Gong, Tai Chi, Yoga, and even walking are excellent low-impact exercises. These exercises will give your brain plenty of fresh oxygen, which is necessary for good cognitive function. Regular exercise also helps to keep your body in shape.

3. Healthy Eating Habits

Eating. We all do it. It's what keeps us alive. The thing is, as far as eating healthy goes, some of us do it better than others. There's a lot about food you need to know if you want to keep your body and your brain healthy. Here are a few general suggestions. You may have heard them... or not.

  • One of the most important suggestions is to eat whole foods.
  • Try to eat organic food as much as possible.
  • Keep away from unhealthy processed foods.
  • Shop the perimeter of the store. This seems to be where most of the healthy whole foods like fruits and vegetables hang out.
  • Get into the habit of reading labels. Learn what ingredients are not good for you. There are plenty of them.
  • A good rule of thumb is if you can't pronounce it, don't eat it. These are just a few of the many things you can do to improve your eating habits.

4. Mental Stimulation

Mental stimulation starts with turning off your television. Getting your brain back will be well worth giving up the T.V. remote. The television does not stimulate your brain. In fact, it has just the opposite effect. After all, why do you think it's called an idiot box? It's a mindless activity and not mentally stimulating.

If you want to improve your cognitive function, you need to keep your mind active. You need to engage in activities that make you think.

Puzzles, board games, reading books all stimulate your critical thinking or imagination. Learning a new language or new skill will do the same. Finding a hobby you enjoy is an excellent idea for stimulating your brain.

Above all, find an activity that requires problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

5. Social Interaction

Retirement will pull you away from those you interacted with when you were working. (Sometimes that can be a good thing.) Now you no longer maintain all of those social connections or engage in as many conversations. Don't give up on all of them. It's important to stay close to the friends you have or work toward making new ones.

Social interaction can benefit you in a couple of ways. It can help improve your cognitive function and your emotional well-being. Volunteering in your community is a great way to interact with other people.

If you're not one for volunteering, there are alternatives. You can enroll in classes at your local community college or attend workshops on subjects you enjoy. Both of these will give you the opportunity to socially interact with others. They will also challenge (mentally stimulate) your brain and expand your knowledge base.

***

So there you have it. Five healthy habits that will stimulate your brain and improve your cognitive function.

Working these habits into your daily routine with consistency will contribute to a sharp and resilient mind over time.

Retirement should be the best time of your life. It's imperative to keep yourself physically and mentally healthy.

The best you can do is start early. Keep at it and meet your retirement in good health.

It's still okay if you don't figure it out until after you've retired. Start now. It's never too late. These habits will improve your life. Being at your very best both physically and mentally during your “golden years” will make a world of difference. You'll be amazed.


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