How to Preserve Your Mental Health

Feb 12, 2009
Many people think that ageing is inevitably connected with impairment of mental abilities. However, lifestyle plays an important role at any age and staying physically and mentally active at more advanced age may actually protect you against such conditions as Alzheimer's disease.

What happens with our brain as we age?

Changes that happen in our brain are closely related to our overall health condition. Chronic illnesses like high blood pressure or diabetes as well as taking a wide range of medications can affect our mental abilities. As a result older people have to face certain changes in their brain, such as:
  • Loss of neurons, which are not replaceable

  • Accumulation of fat, which impairs brain functioning

  • Smaller brain mass

  • Decrease in functioning of neurotransmitters

However, these changes will not necessarily lead to worse mental abilities, because the activity of the brain is controlled by various parts. In case when certain neurons get older and die, their function is taken by other neurons. Also if you keep to healthy habits and take some efforts to keep your metal abilities sharp, your brain can function pretty well.
  • Stay connected with your friends and family. Try to socialize more, spending time with people close to you. Communication helps to prevent age-related mental problems. If you live alone, it is important to find someone to share your interests.

  • Keep your mind busy, by reading a lot (books, magazines and others). You may also play mind games, do crosswords and engage in any other activity to involve your memory and intellect.

  • Manage stress with a help of relaxation techniques, like yoga or massage. Stress can negatively affect your brain functioning negatively.

  • Improve your memory to keep your mind sharp. Use different techniques, like associating an object with picture or a name. You may use these memory boosters doing everyday tasks, like remembering all the items you want to buy while shopping.

  • Exercising also affects your mental health in a positive way. Remember about body and mind connection: physical activity boosts your brain functioning. Try to exercise at least 30 minutes a day on a regular basis.

  • Keep to healthy eating habits to keep your mind in best condition. Balanced diet rich in vegetables and fruits, products containing B group vitamins(cereals, beans, nuts, leafy vegetables), good carbohydrates (whole grains, vegetables, fruits, beans) is essential for your brain health.