There are many ways we can integrate mental fitness practices into our daily lives. Some of those explored in Part 1 are common activities you likely engage in regularly.
Note also that mental fitness is something that can be improved over time. You may be in good shape already but there is always room for development. Like anything, our mental fitness gets better with intentional practice and consistency. Here are a few more ideas to experiment with for improved mental fitness.
Learn a new skill. Learning a new skill stimulates and strengthens the neural connections in our brain. Research has also shown that it can improve memory and retention. Is there something you’ve always wanted to try? Is there a hobby you’ve been hoping to start sometime? Research shows that people who engage in hobbies or creative activities have less stress and depression, both of which are vital for mental well-being.
Learn a new language. Research has shown the many cognitive benefits of being able to speak more than one language. Being fluent in more than one language helps improve memory and can also spark creativity. And it’s something that you can do at any time, no matter your age. Online platforms such as Duolingo, Babel and others make learning a new language easily accessible.
Focus. Really focus. Choose something in your circle of awareness. This can be another person, a painting or a tree outside your window.
Take note of details. If a person, what color are their eyes? What are they wearing? What kinds of shoes do they have on? Do they wear jewelry? What distinguishing characteristics do they have?
If a painting or a scene outside, notice shapes and colors. Are the trees’ leaves different shades of green? Is the wind blowing or is it still? What is the trunk like – is it rough or smooth? What might the artist be trying to convey in their painting? What stands out? What details do you notice in the background?
Games and puzzles or try a brain training app. Playing games helps with cognition, can improve memory and enhance problem-solving skills. There are now a variety of brain training apps that you can find online that will help improve recall and processing speed. Try Lumosity.com, Elevate or Fit Brains. These platforms offer challenges that can help improve mental agility, concentration, language and memory.
You can try most of these platforms for free or upgrade to a premium version for a set fee. And there’s nothing wrong with gathering the family around for a good old-fashioned game night – good for the mind and the soul!