There is a lot of chatter about brain health in our current social distancing and isolation status. We are human beings, and as such, most of us crave contact with others.
A study done in Antarctica, ironically, before COVID-19 hit, showed the scientists working in social isolation in an environment that never changed exhibited a 7% shrinkage in the hippocampus area of their brain – the part that helps us learn and remember. Luckily, when these scientists were exposed to new scenery and experiences, their brains regenerated (thanks AARP bulletin, July/August 2020).
Early in the pandemic restrictions, I purchased some jigsaw puzzles and shared one, titled Paris, with my young friend, Lucia Namey, age 11. Lucia is brilliant and very determined, and loves puzzles, completing hers in about a quarter of the time it’s taking me to finish! I have some brain work to do!
If you are experiencing some brain drain due to stress, isolation, uncertainty or plain boredom, try some of these ideas to boost your power and memory:
- Learn a new language. This can help your brain process information better and help you focus.
- Do things with your non-dominant hands. For instance, if you usually use your right hand to eat, brush your teeth, unlock things, try using your left for a change. This challenges your brain and can expand your cognitive function.
- Meditation and mindfulness are great for your brain connectivity, and some studies have shown these practices may slow the progression of certain brain conditions.
- Play ping pong! Seriously! This game has long been proven to improve our attention and concentration. This must be why my good friends Linda Gilgore and Steve Lewis are so smart – they’re both basement champion ping-pong players!
- Another great pastime is coloring! It’s all the rage, but it can be really fun and sparks your creativity while relieving stress.
- Dance! If this is true, my Sweetie and I should be geniuses! We love to dance.
Keep your brain and body active with some of these tips. Be sure to read next week’s blog on foods to boost your brain power! Yum!
To Your Vitality!