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How to stay mentally fit

Brain drain

Relying on tech to “do it for you” can make us mentally lazy. 

Research by University College London into the brains of trainee taxi drivers showed that those who had passed the famous “Knowledge” test to learn routes across the city’s 25,000 streets and thousands of places of interest had a greater volume of grey matter in their posterior hippocampus — the nerve cells in the brain where processing takes place — than when they started.

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How to stay mentally fit

How to stay mentally fit

https://www.ft.com/content/50b6eb46-576c-11e8-806a-808d194ffb75

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Key Ideas

Brain drain

Relying on tech to “do it for you” can make us mentally lazy. 

Research by University College London into the brains of trainee taxi drivers showed that those who had passed the famous “Knowledge” test to learn routes across the city’s 25,000 streets and thousands of places of interest had a greater volume of grey matter in their posterior hippocampus — the nerve cells in the brain where processing takes place — than when they started.

Learning a new language

Speaking more than two languages has a protective effect on memory in seniors who practice foreign languages over their lifetime or at the time of the study.

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Taking good breaks

This is important for your daily productivity. Good breaks can leave us feeling refreshed and energized. It can reduce mental fatigue, boost brain function and keep us on-task for extended periods....

The brain and goal management

The prefrontal cortex of the brain is mainly responsible for goal management. It orchestrates attention, working memory and other cognitive resources to help us get what we want.

For a challenging task, briefly taking our minds off the goal can renew and strengthen motivation. Doing activities that rely on different brain regions is best to restore focus.

Going Natural

Exposure to nature restores the mind. One study showed better working memory scores for people after a walk in a natural environment, but not in an urban setting.

If you are unable to go into nature, find plants, fresh air or a fish tank. Sit down, take a deep breath, and notice the details of nature. Research shows that even looking at some pictures of nature can work.

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Never stop learning

Research shows that people with more education have a greater cognitive reserve and this works as a protection in the face of mental decline.

But there's a twist to it: educated people t...

Crosswords

Cognitive activities like crossword puzzles, reading or playing music may delay memory decline among people who eventually developed dementia.

Stereotype threat

It happens when a person is in a situation where they are anxious that they may conform to a negative stereotype aimed at his or her social group.

Positive stereotypes, or success on previous memory tasks, can help combat this negativity. 

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Being overweight affects the brain

A diet high in saturated fats and sugars affects your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. It also affects the parts of the brain that are important to memory.

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Memory problems

Obese people find it more difficult to pick apart spatial, item, and temporal memory, as well as the ability to integrate them.

If you're obese, you might be up to 20 percent more likely not to remember where you put your keys.

Changing eating habits

The diet of obese people degrades their memory and makes them more likely to overeat, a study revealed.

Making a meal more memorable may help to eat less bad stuff. If you watch TV while you eat, you'll eat more than planned.