Improve your mental and physical well-being in 2016

New Year resolutions tend to focus on losing weight. This year, make a commitment to improve both your physical and mental health.

  1. Exercise your mind. Choose activities that challenge the mind: learn to play a musical instrument, tackle crossword puzzles, take up a new hobby, study a foreign language or sign language, keep up with current events, and read.
  2. Exercise your body. A 30-minute daily exercise routine not only boosts your physical health, but improves blood flow to the brain.
  3. Get sufficient sleep.
  4. Socialize. Seek opportunities for discussion, listen carefully, and respond appropriately.
  5. Eat nutritious foods for a healthy mind and body. Fruits and vegetables, for example, provide antioxidants which protect and nourish brain cells.
  6. Develop good mental habits by accepting learning challenges. Try to figure out why something works or why something happened.
  7. Maintain a positive attitude. An optimistic outlook makes you more alert, and when you’re more alert, your senses are more open to receiving information. Engaging the senses, in turn, contributes to a healthy brain and an active mind.
  8. Be aware of factors which can adversely affect mental functioning. Many are unrelated to aging and/or genetics, such as medications, poor vision and/or hearing, vitamin deficiencies, stress, and depression. Depression, in particular, is sometimes mistaken for Alzheimer’s disease because it can contribute to difficulties with memory and concentration.
  9. Schedule regular physical examinations with your physician. Your overall health status directly affects brain function.
  10. Develop a system of mental reminders and cues. To remember the name of the person to whom you were just introduced, for instance, repeat it often in conversation.
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