If we take a look at our bodies as a whole, there is one organ which stands out, because it is incredibly important: The brain. It works constantly and is our own real life, high speed computer. We breathe, we think, move, look, talk, hear, and feel. And mostly all at once. The brain sends orders to our organs, keeps our heart beating and lets us know if we are tired or if there are pains in our body.
My brain is the centre of my life.
And yet it happens often enough that we take our brains for granted. Our brains are with us before we’re born, working away during our mother’s pregnancy. And when we’re born, our brain, our “system,” has to work with high effectiveness. And it does the job well.
For humans one of the most important challenges in health is to strive for a healthy brain. For MS patients it is especially important – maintaining our cognitive abilities is a high priority. We have to develop our own strategies to help our brain and keep it thinking!
Over the past few months I have heard a lot of talks and presentations about our brains and brain health. It was interesting to have discussions with health experts and I learned some simple tips to keep the brain thinking. They are so simple, in fact, that we can integrate them into our daily lives!
1. We know this one, but exercise regularly. It is not only good for the body, but it is also good for the brain. We have to move and consider exercise as a vital part of our lives.
2. Eat healthy. We know that, but do we stick to it? Do we? This means the basics: get your daily rations of fruits and veggies, and cut down on sweets and junk food. And yes, sometimes this is a little bit hard for me. Because I love pizza and ice cream.
3. Do something nice for yourself. Every day. Whether you read a good book, take a walk around the block or do something in your garden. It is for you and you alone. Do things that make you smile and be happy.
4. Give your brain the rest it needs! It works hard. A power nap, a nature walk or a good night’s sleep can always help you to relax and recharge.
5. Create a list of your goals. Prioritize your goals in a to-do list and reward yourself whenever you check one off. I recommend a trip to the cinema or a small piece of chocolate!
6. Take a look on your own biorhythm. The more you hear your inner voice, the more you feel better and stronger.
7. Have a social life. Talking and interacting with others can help to train your brain to listen, sort out information and come up with answers to questions – all good for cognition!
8. Use electronic assistants. For example, I use several different apps for organising my household and other important things. They help me to be more efficient!
9. Learn! When you learn something new, like a new language, you expand your own knowledge and train the brain at the same time.
10. Create a life worth living. Spend quality time with your partner, loved ones and your friends. Network with other patients.
I think it’s actually not so difficult. Most of the time, it is the awareness of the beauty of life that helps us to have a good and healthy lifestyle. I am absolutely positive that if we strive to leave our comfort zones, we can have fun and live long, good lives.
As Thomas A. Edison (1847-1931) said:
“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in care of the human frame, in diet, an in the cause of prevention of disease.”
What are some tips you have for keeping your mind sharp?