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Matters Of The Mind

We’ve all stumbled when reaching for a stray thought a song we heard the other day, what we had for dinner, where we set the keys... and perhaps with increasing frequency as we get older. But research seems to show that performing regular, targeted brain exercises can increase the brain’s cognitive reserve and lessen the effects of age on our squishy gray matter.

Next time you find yourself trying to remember something, see if you can remember to do some of these brain building exercises instead!

  • Go see a movie in the theater without knowing anything about it beforehand.

  • Take new routes home to keep your brain visually stimulated.

  • Take a shower with your eyes closed or the lights off.

  • Switch hands try using your non dominant hand to do things like brush your teeth or eat a meal.

  • Try to do things upside down or backwards, like hanging a clock upside down so your brain needs to work a little to understand the time.

  • Learn a foreign language or work on expanding your vocabulary.

  • Solve math problems in your head without using pencil and paper.

  • Learn to play a musical instrument or study music.

  • Engage in activities that involve many senses, such as cooking and gardening.

  • Learn a new skill that involves fine motor skills, such as knitting, drawing, or painting.

  • Learn new cooking techniques and styles.

  • After returning home from visiting anew place, try to draw a map of the area from memory.

  • Visualize the spelling of a word in your head, then try to think of otherwords that begin (or end) with the sametwo letters.

  • Try learning computer programming, which is a good way to improve your problem solving ability while also obtaining a marketable skill.

  • Take up a new sport that utilizes the mind and body, such as golf or basketball.

  • Write down ideas and stray thoughts.

  • Go somewhere new or try something unfamiliar and write about it.

The Power of Pets

  • The brain and health benefits of pet ownership are numerous.

  • Interacting with a cat or dog increases dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin production in the brain.

  • Pets are also a natural ice breakerwhen socializing.

  • Folks who own a pet generally get more exercise.

  • Interacting with a pet helps lower blood pressure and relieve stress.

  • Pet owners are less likely todevelop depression.

  • Smiling and laughing at your pet triggers healthy nerve transmitters in your brain.

  • Petting an animal has been linked to a release of oxytocin, a hormone related to anxiety relief.

  • The routine that comes with owning a pet provides structure and a sense of purpose.

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