Taking care of the mind is key to living a gratifying and complete life. As humans grow older, their mental health becomes more fragile and at risk of developing chronic illnesses. Your memory starts to dull, along with your creative muscles and ability to problem solve. Here’s five activities to help you protect and improve your mental health as you age:
Learning Something New
Taking the time to learn something new can be beneficial to your mental health. Studies show that reading books can lead to longer lives while learning new languages can sharpen your cognitive processes including memory. Sign up for cooking classes on the weekend or pick up a new sport at your local gym.
If you need more reasons to attend or host a board game night with friends, you should know that mentally stimulating activities including card and board games can improve your mental health. As an added bonus, you get to spend time with people you like and have fun with. Aside from board games, certain genres of video games can also be mentally stimulating, specifically games that involve solving puzzles or memorizing patterns.
Volunteering allows you to meet new people who know things that you might not. Most volunteer activities are also physically demanding, which means you get to work out your body as much as your brain. Volunteer at a local pet shelter or join environmental groups as they plant trees and bring awareness at social events.
Organize and Clean Up
Decluttering your living quarters and work space can also declutter your mind. A cluttered environment can have indirect toxic effects to your mental health. Cleaning up and organizing your stuff reduces the risk of depression and anxiety, allows you to accomplish more, and brightens up your mood, all of which coalesce into improving your mental health.
Debates are not only a great exercise to stay mentally sharp but are also a good way to improve your public speaking skills. Monks who practice Tibetan Buddhism can attest to the mental health benefits of a healthy and respectful debate. The main goal of these debates is not to prove who’s right or wrong but to learn how to be open-minded and respectful of other people’s viewpoints as well as to teach themselves to let go of excessive pride and ego.
Try at least one of these activities today with a family member or friend. If it doesn’t work for you, try another activity until you find one that you enjoy doing and is mentally beneficial.