Top 10 2009 Brain Resolutions
No.1 – Play strategic games
Why? Strategic gaming allows you to truly test your wits and match them against those of an opponent. Improving strategic thinking will improve response time when presented with similar real-world situations.
How? Board games, pen-and-paper games, online games or video games — choose your weapon.
No.2 – Stop smoking
Why? Aside from all the other ill effects that burning tobacco elicits, smoking may also be a risk factor for dementia and cognitive decline, particularly in the elderly.
How? This is the million dollar question isn’t it? Quitting smoking isn’t easy, but it is entirely possible. What is required most is determination: the will to want to quit smoking.
No.3 – Take on a creative hobby
Why? Creative endeavors train the right side of the brain, whereas logic and reasoning flex the left. Keeping both sides of the brain in peak condition will ensure greater total brainpower.
How? Take an hour of your week and dedicate it to a creative hobby: painting, drawing, woodworking, photography or evencooking. If you lack self-motivation, try taking a community workshop. Who knows? You might just end up in a room full of free-spirited females.
No.4 – Start reading
Why? There’s no denying the power of reading and its mental benefits. The reality, however, is that literary reading is currently in decline, probably being replaced by digital and online sources.
How? Pick up a book and read it, cover to cover. Do some research first — asking friends or skimming online reviews — to ensure that the content will keep you interested.
No.5 – Play logic puzzles
Why? Logic puzzles beef up the lovely left side of your brain, improving reasoning and speed-logic processing.
How? Open any major newspaper, buy a logic puzzle book, pick up a brain-training video game or check out an onlinebrain-training website.
No.6 – Take a course
Why? Knowledge is power, remember?
How? Pursue an online degree or check out your local university for continuing-education classes. Taking even one evening course can be a nice break from work and can get you thinking in new, exciting ways.
No.7 – Eat your greens
Why? Dark green veggies are high in the vitamins and antioxidants that help prevent mental decline: vitamin E(broccoli, spinach), vitamin C (broccoli), iron (broccoli), andvitamin B (dark-leaf lettuce).
How? Make a made-for-brain salad using spinach leaves, dark-leaf lettuce, broccoli, tomatoes, blueberries, sunflower seeds, walnuts, and olive oil. Throw in some grilled chicken or boiled egg whites for some lean protein, down your feast with plenty of water and you’ll feel those brain juices flowing in no time.
No.8 – Boost your cardio
Why? Cardiovascular exercise enhances cognitive functions, slows cognitive decline and improves overall metabolism and energy.
How? Get to the gym, go for a run or purchase some exercise equipment. Exercise bikes are relatively inexpensive compared to treadmills or elliptical machines, and can still offer great cardiovascular benefits if used consistently.
No.9 – Relax
Why? Stress exerts mental energy and decreases mental efficiency.
How? Practice some relaxation techniques or take a community yoga/meditation class
No.10 – Get more sleep
Why? Lack of sleep affects all body systems, particularly cognitive functions like memory and attention span. Lack of sleep can also have a snowball effect, affecting future sleep, making the condition chronic.
How? Get yourself into a healthy bedtime routine. Start your wind-down early with no late-night meals, video games or workouts. Particularly during the winter months, get to bed earlier to maximize your exposure to sunlight — this should help with mood and alertness.