Ageing and Mental Health

Clarity of thought is an essential marker of mental health. A healthy mind is one of the most important components required to lead a healthy life. As age progresses, brain functions slow down and sometimes begin to deteriorate along with other bodily functions. Studies have shown that nearly 25% of the population above 55 years of age exhibit signs and symptoms of depression. It is essential to build and reinforce your mind in order to sustain your aging body.

Exercise your working memory

Working memory is one of the most important parts of the brain’s cognitive structure. Its functions range from temporary data storage to information manipulation and performing arithmetic functions. Working memory becomes excessively susceptible with age and is a general point of inception for diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Mental exercises are very important for keeping your working memory sharp.

It is a good idea to keep your grey cells active with puzzles, crosswords and anagrams. They require the brain to function constantly, especially the working memory area thus forcing it to process, retain and retrieve information. A number of different brain exercises have been developed by mental health experts all over the world to this effect. Although the long term impact of working memory development is still unknown, the short term results have shown promising results in battling Parkinson’s.

Technological therapy

Neurofeedback systems have been developed to enable individuals to actively regulate their neurological functions. The system helps the user identify and interpret brain waves. The data thus gathered can then be used to actively control and redirect various neurological functions. Neurofeedback therapy has long term effects on brain functions, opening up previously untapped neural paths and improving blood flow within the brain. It reduces reaction time, improves cognitive capabilities and general information processing speed. These can be considered as positive outcomes for an aging brain.

General practices

Forming a reading habit is considered effective in maintaining normal brain functions. It exercises the working memory and also improves the visual-neural interpretation link. You must actively read and try to retain the information for this method to work. Otherwise it is a futile exercise. You could consider joining a book club where each week a new book is selected for the members to read and discuss in detail after they are done reading it. This is one of the easiest techniques to train your brain to retain information and process them to various effects. Playing chess and forming a habit out of it can drastically improve neural functions too. It forces your brain to process a multiple threads of variable information in order to make your next move.

Exercising your brain and keeping it as active as possibly while you grow older is the best way to prevent all sorts of degenerative mental diseases from cropping up as you grow older. Reading, writing and exercising your working memory in general will promote good mental health and do their bit to keep psychological issues like dementia and depression at bay.

Teisha Mahabir specializes in writing articles about health, diet, longevity and health specialists like Brenda Rusnak.

Brenda Rusnak is a health care specialist who writes about health-aging and prevention. For more information about healthy-aging and Brenda Rusnak, check her out on Toronto iBegin.

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