Stamford, Conn—With Alzheimer’s Disease already ranked as the 6th leading cause of death in Americans over age 65, Baby Boomers have reason for concern about what has been termed “the signature disease of the aging Boomer generation.” The first Boomers began turning 65 in 2011 at the rate of almost 10,000 per day.
“Although the chance of developing this disease dramatically increases after age 65, Boomers can do a lot to protect their brain health,” says Richard Roll, founder and chairman of the Baby Boomers Retirement Network (BBRN). “Maintaining a healthy brain through cognitive exercises such as puzzles, games, reading, and emotional health maintenance, can reduce a Baby Boomer’s chances of developing diminished brain capacity later in life.”
BBRN has recently added Kathy Laurenhue, M.A., to their Pantheon of Boomer Experts. Laurenhue is the Pantheon Panel’s first expert in the area of Brain Health.
This week, in BBRN’s online magazine “The Boomer Beat,” Laurenhue revealed her top 10 tips for better brain health, and keeping the mind active
Top 10 Tips for Brain Health
- Tip # 10. Don’t smoke at all or drink to excess.As always, moderation is advised.
- Tip # 9 Eat a healthy diet.You know the drill – lots of fruits and veggies and whole grains, and go easy on the fats, sugars and red meat.But don’t get overly stressed about it. Studies seem to show that eating in a pleasant atmosphere with companions you enjoy is as important as eating the right foods.
- Tip # 8 Treat yourself to pleasure.This is easier than you think, even in the midst of a busy day.The chemicals in the brain that make us feel warm and fuzzy do not require a trip around the world for activation. Pleasure can be as simple as listening to children giggling or a few chocolate chips well savored.The key is the savoring
- Tip # 7 Stay curious.Stop worrying about having wrong answers.Knowing all the answers means you haven’t asked enough questions. Brain fitness is about creating new pathways in your brain, not deepening the ruts by retrieving what you already know.Albert Einstein said, “Never lose a holy curiosity.”
Always be interested (and the side effect is that others will find you more interesting). Look at life with wonder. Keep asking, “What else?”
- Tip # 6. Remember that your brain craves novelty.Variety is the spice of life. To keep physically fit, trainers encourage us to cross train. We need to do weight lifting, weight bearing and stretching exercises. You need that variety for keeping your mind fit, too.Crossword puzzles are great if you enjoy them, but the brain has many other parts that need stimulation.Avoid the ruts and build new pathways. Go where you haven’t gone before – both literally and figuratively.
- Tip # 5 Fun fuels the brain.Physicians commonly recommend crossword puzzles as a positive form of brain stimulation to patients who are worried about their memories, but it’s only a good experience if you love crossword puzzles.If they make you feel utterly inept as they do me, you will not only avoid doing them, but you will feel stressed thinking you ought to be doing them.If you don’t enjoy the exercise you have chosen for yourself, you will spend more time making excuses why you can’t do it, than doing it.
Start with something you already think is fun and then look for ways to let your curiosity expand from there.
As author/humorist Allen Klein notes: “There is humor all around. Open your humor eyes and ears and find some.”
He wrote that he once saw a sign on the wall of a Laundromat that read, “When the machine stops, remove all your clothing.”
So he did. Was anyone shocked? He didn’t say.
Be easily amused.
- Tip # 4. Unleash your creativity through laughter.Your sense of humor is the most creative part of your brain, because it forces you to look at life from a different angle.We acknowledge that every time we say, “Try to see the funny side of the problem.”Studies have shown that brainstorming that is open to funny, ridiculous solutions tends to generate many more ideas, at least one of which is likely to work.
The cloud gives way to light. Amusement awakens our muse
- Tip # 3 Be of good cheer.The dictionary defines “well-being” as “happiness, health and prosperity.”By the choices we make we have some control over health and prosperity, but of the three, choosing to be happy is completely within our power, whatever our circumstances.At least one study has shown that you can add as much as seven years to your life by having a positive attitude toward aging
So when you are having a down day, tell yourself to fake it ’til you make it. Even if you don’t add seven years, you’ll enjoy the time you do have more.
- Tip # 2 Surround yourself with friends.Isolation is the enemy.More and more researchers are coming to the conclusion that nothing affects our quality of life more than the quality of our relationships.Happiness and good cheer come naturally when we are part of a network of people who love and value one another.
Chat by phone or in person with someone you value and who values you back – every day Note that texts and emails can be nice, but if you want to release those positive chemicals in the brain, arouse your senses; it’s your loved one’s voice, face and touch that are irreplaceable.
- Tip # 1 MOVE YOUR BODY!It surprises many people that the number one thing you can do to help your mind is to exercise your body. Exercise brings oxygen to your brain to freshen your thinking. So walk, run, swim, bike, stretch, dance, do your own thing; just keep moving. Nothing is better for your mind
Laurenhue, CEO of Wiser Now, Inc., is just one of the almost 100 experts who have been assembled by Roll to provide their expert advice on the predictable but often unexpected issues Baby Boomers are encountering in their next stage of life.
These exclusive tips and advice are featured weekly in BBRN’s free retirement planning newsletter “The Boomer Beat.”
Subscribe free to “The Boomer Beat” at: http://www.babyboomersretirementnetwork.com/blog/newsletter/
Peace of your mind
caseyweeklycranbourne.com.au – Dressed in jeans and a plaid shirt, Matthew Johnstone doesn’t look like a meditation guru. He isn’t bald, claims to know nothing of chakras and has never been to an ashram. But he has written and illustrated Quiet the Mind, a beginner’s guide to meditation.
Johnstone is the creative director of the Black Dog Institute, which raises awareness of mood disorders. He discovered the benefits of meditation when he was working in advertising and took a course to cope with stress.
”Advertising is like a never-ending sand dune,” he says. ”You get to the top and fall back to the bottom. There are never-ending deadlines and there was pressure to be creative, win awards, be relevant and contemporary.”
Twenty years later, he says his life is definitely better when he meditates than when he doesn’t: ”It’s like cleaning the windows and turning down the volume.”
Illustrated by Johnstone in the style of a beautiful children’s picture book, Quiet the Mind is a kind of ”Meditation for Dummies”. ”People often have a bit of fear of the unknown and associate meditation with airy-fairy, fringy-hippie stuff. They don’t want to waste time. I wanted the book to be pragmatic.”
It’s his fourth book on mental health, including the best-selling I Had a Black Dog. Quiet the Mind states that in 24 hours, humans can process up to 70,000 thoughts. This continues during sleep, equating to a different thought every 1.2 seconds, or two thoughts for every heartbeat.
Johnston says many people don’t realise meditation can be as simple as focusing on breathing for 10 to 20 minutes in a quiet place. That’s it. Read more…