How to Stay Mentally Active

February 12, 2014

To follow up on last week’s post about how prolonged sitting can affect mental health, we’ve come up with a few ways to stay mentally active. You don’t have to do a Sudoku or crossword puzzle every morning to keep your brain up and running (unless you want to, then go for it!). These everyday practices are an easy way for anyone to keep his or her mind as sharp as a tack.

1. Write
Learning how to express one’s feelings and correctly communicate through writing is a great skill to have. Expressing an idea calls for an exactness of thought that’s mentally stimulating as well as challenging. You don’t have to be the next Ernest Hemingway, but successfully putting your thoughts on paper can be a rewarding experience.

2. Read
Reading may not be the most favorite pastime for people and it requires time, but it does help you absorb information quickly. To help spur your love of reading, choose to read things that relate to a certain hobby or your work.

If you’re an engineer, it wouldn’t hurt to read a few news articles on the latest trends and research in the field (that you could later impress your boss with). Take a trip to your local library and spend some time there, you may be surprised at what you find.

3. Manage Stress
Of course it’s easier said than done, but learning how to manage stress can greatly affect mental health. Stress can be distracting, depressing, and overwhelming, which ultimately affects a person’s mental stability. Practice deep breathing exercises or meditation, and make sure to get enough sleep to start managing a stressful lifestyle.

Speaking of sleep, getting enough sleep is essential to staying mentally active. Sleep helps consolidate memories and “reboot” brain function for the next day.

4. Learn a New Skill
What better way to stay mentally active than learning something new? With new technology coming out almost daily, learning how to use a new app or computer program is a great way to maintain mental health. And when you’ve mastered a new design software or program, you may be able to add it to your resume. If you don’t want to devote that much time, consider trying a new recipe for dinner or taking a new route home without the GPS.

5. Share Your Interests
Being around others who share the same interests is an easy way to stay mentally active. Join a club or build relationships with people around you to create a sense of belonging and community. Shared interests can lead to great conversations, enjoyable memories, and a sense of well-being.

And of course while you’re at work, don’t forget to stand, stretch and move around throughout the day. Have a conversation with a coworker that doesn’t involve work, or take a break to read a news article. These daily practices along with physical activity, will keep you engaged for lifelong mental health.

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