We all worry about our physical fitness and wellbeing — but what about our brains? Here are a few things that will flex your most important muscle every day.
Take a minute and think back: when was the last time you did something for your health and well-being? No, that nutritious meal or trip to the gym doesn’t quite count — we’re talking about your mental health. Brain health is a crucial factor in overall wellness, both in terms of its functionality and your feelings.
Just like any of your muscles, your brain grows stronger when it’s engaged in the right ways — and it never never stops changing, so you’d be wise to take care of your body’s most complex organ. Here are seven habits you can add to your daily routine to help keep your brain in tip-top shape.
1) Switch Things Up
Your brain grows accustomed to patterns and repeated behaviors, so switch things up a bit to give it a jolt. Try things like changing the order of your morning routine or taking a different route to work than usual. You could even try small, weird things like brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand, sitting at a different seat at your kitchen table to eat, or rearranging photos, furniture, and other items in your house so you can see them from a different perspective.
Okay, turns out that trip to the gym was good for your brain after all. The positive effects that physical exercise can have on the brain are well-documented. Getting active helps the brain both directly, through the stimulation of the organ itself and its chemical functions, and indirectly, through the positive effects of a stimulated mind on your mood, sleep patterns, and stress levels. What’s more, since you’re working out for your body’s health as well, you’re killing two health birds with one stone.
3) Solve a Puzzle
While certain types of puzzles probably don’t boost overall cognitive function at the level their manufacturers claim, challenging your brain to overcome problems can be surprisingly helpful in developing certain cognitive skills. So pick up a Sudoku or crossword puzzle, or even check out app-based brain games like Lumosity — just don’t expect them to make you an automatic genius.
4) Pick Up a Pen
When was the last time you actually wrote something down, pen to paper? Nowadays, people even use smartphones to write notes and make doodles. Next chance you have, pick up a pen and paper instead. Especially if you’re trying to solve a problem or learn something, research has shown that actually writing things out longhand engages your brain at a much higher level than inputting it onto a screen.
5) Talk to Someone
If you go about your daily routines solo, make it a point to interact with at least one other person, face to face, every day. Social deprivation has been shown to stunt brain growth in children, and there’s a reason one of the most extreme methods of punishment is solitary confinement. People are social creatures — your brain needs some friends.
6) Unplug and Zone Out
Studies show that unplugging from electronic devices for even 30 minutes each day can be beneficial to brain health — so while you’re away from the screen, why not reap even more benefits through meditation? Taking time out of the day for a quick, meditative session has been proven to benefit the brain and overall mental health, so find a quiet space, close your eyes, and get your ommm on.
7) Monitor Your Progress
And while you take all these steps to improve your brain’s health, be sure to keep track of your progress by sticking to regularly scheduled check-ups with your doctor. If things aren’t going so well in your head, don’t hesitate to see someone about mental health, either.
For affordable access to great doctors, procedures, and medications, consider joining SingleCare’s free network. Whether you need to see your general practitioner or a mental health professional, being part of the SingleCare network can get you serious savings, no matter what your level of insurance coverage is.
When it comes to keeping your brain healthy, just focus on the little things — SingleCare can handle the rest.
* Prescription savings vary by prescription and by pharmacy, and may reach up to 80% off cash price.
This is a medical discount plan.This is NOT insurance. This program offers you the opportunity to locate providers of various types of medical services who will offer their services to you at discounted rates. The range of discounts for medical or ancillary services provided under the plan will vary depending on the type of provider and service received. You are fully responsible for paying for all health care services but will be entitled to receive a discount from those health care providers in accordance with the specific pre-negotiated discounted fee schedule. This program does not guarantee the quality of the services or procedures offered by the providers. Except for prescription drugs which you will pay directly to the pharmacy at the time of purchase, all other services received through a program provider will be charged to the credit card on file in your member account. The charge will include an administrative fee for use of the program. Towers Administrators LLC is the licensed discount medical plan organization with its administrative office located at 4510 Cox Road, Suite 111, Glen Allen, VA 23060. SingleCare Services, LLC is the marketer of the discount medical plan organization including its website, singlecare.com, with its corporate office located at 99 High Street, Suite 2800, Boston, MA 02110. For additional information, including an up-to-date list of providers, or assistance with any issue related to program membership, please contact member support any time at www.singlecare.com, or by calling toll-free 844-234-3057, Monday through Friday 9am-9pm EST.