Tag Archives: brain health lifestyle

Tips For Improving Memory

Tips for Improving Memory

Our memory helps to shape and define who we are, provide us with comfort, and guide us in our daily lives. While there are many different types of memory we tend to rely primarily on a type of memory that enables us to recall information presented to us either recently or sometime in the distant past.

Memory can be affected by many factors including level of stress, rest, nutrition, medical status, medications, alcohol, exercise, sensory function, hormones, and information processing ability. Common types of memory difficulties include inability to remember names, forgetting directions, forgetting where the car or other object is, and forgetting to complete a task in a specified order.

While it is true that our memory ability tends to decline as we age, a healthy older adult can recall quite well, particularly when given cues and prompts. Memory in late life should not be confused with disease such as Alzheimer’s that can impair memory. Here are some strategies and tips to assist you with your recall on a daily basis regardless of age:

1. Recognize what types of information and situations increase forgetfulness for  you. You may be able to identify particular factors that lead to your memory  problems and a change of these factors might help your recall.

2. Make sure your brain is well rested. You might be surprised to learn that a  fatigued brain will not process as deeply or as efficiently as a well rested brain.

3. Eat brain healthy foods such as fish, fruits, nuts, and vegetables.

4. Information that you need to encode will be recalled better if you repeat the  information to yourself several times.

5. If you have problems remembering names of people you meet continue to use  their names in every sentence when speaking to them. This is a type of normal  repetition that is polite and helpful to your processing.

6. Do not be ashamed to admit to someone that you have forgotten their name and  need to hear it again. Simply tell the person you are bad with names, but you are  trying  and can benefit if they provide his or her name again. At that point, refer  back to point # 5.

7. Lists are fine or small pocket book with cues and prompts can be very useful to  assist your recall.

8. Develop routines and fixed places for placement of items such as car keys. Your  brain will develop a subconscious process to place and retrieve objects with such  routine. This will then free up the conscious part of your brain to learn new
information.

9. Engage in memory exercises such as learning an increasingly larger list of words,  faces on cards, facts such as state capitals, and names of neighborhood family  members.

10. Learn how to relax and remove stress from your life. Memory is directly affected  by chronic stress and you will make mistakes when your brain is stressed.

11. Engage in a regular physical exercise routine as cardiovascular health can  increase learning and memory ability.

FitBrains has several mental exercise games that can assist your memory if you engage in a daily or regular brain fitness routine. Consider the following games by FitBrains for your memory workout:

Good luck and do not forget these memory tips!

Brain Tips For Those Winter Months

snowflakes.jpgIt is important to point out that I am not a fan of the winter season. In fact, I dread it and would rather be on a beach somewhere! However, regardless of my personal stuff, it is important to keep our brains active and engaged in the brain health lifestyle regardless of the season.
For some, the winter season does not represent a change in the options available to follow the brain health lifestyle. If you live in a part of the world where the sun continues to shine throughout the year keep your brain health lifestyle active over the 12 months. For those of us who actually see snow our options to venture outside may be limited at times.
Winter can be a time of increased stress and simultaneously a time for creativity and increased family time. Consider the following ideas for brain health this winter:

  1. Save your pennies and get a family membership to a gym or exercise club. Set up the family schedule for exercising together and use the gym as the snow may keep you inside at times.
  2. Break out the skis and get some exercise from this sport. Cross country skiing is also a great physical exercise.
  3. Try to walk in the snow if it is not dangerous.
  4. Break out the board games and have a family game night. This includes some family fun with Fit Brains brain games.
  5. Try to have winter as a time for getting your brain health diet started. Have a family member pick a night to help cook a brain health dinner.
  6. Have some friends and family over once a week.
  7. Start a family book club in which each family member will read one or two books during the three months of winter.
  8. Try to reduce driving in dangerous conditions during the winter as this will reduce your stress.
  9. When the sun does surface, get outside as you will benefit from the Vitamin D.
  10. Take a day or two and get the family together to make a snowman or go sled riding (wear a helmet).

While the winter can limit our opportunities for brain health, it also offers us a time to be creative and to increase family experiences.

Try the Fit Brains brain games.

The Male/Female Brain

genders.jpgTalk to the most happily married couples or to the best of friends and they will tell you that sometimes they do not “understand each other,” “he does not listen to me,” or “I just do not understand her.”

If this sounds familiar do not fret as it is to be expected and even normal. The female and male brain is different and the two brains process information differently. The good news is that with some conscious effort communication can be enhanced between the brains and frustrations lowered.

In general, female brains tend to employ both sides of their brain to process information while male brains tend to rely primarily on their dominant or language side to process. As the dominant hemisphere tends to be analytic, problem solving, task oriented, detailed, and verbal this helps to explain male behavior. A female brain can also process in this manner, but the non-dominant hemisphere that can process emotion, meaning without words, empathy, tone, and disposition is also engaged by the female.

Perhaps this helps to explain why females enjoy shopping while most men view it as a chore, women vote differently than males, men and women struggle communicating with each other, and men do not understand psychotherapy. Men tend to be more isolative, less talkative, and focused on solution. Women tend to be more group oriented, more talkative, and focused on the means and not necessarily the ends. This gets played out in the U.S. at this time as women and men tend to view the same debate between candidates differently (men tend to focus on content and women both content and style).

A great question from a male brain to a female brain is “what do you mean” or Am I correct in hearing this…” Female brains can enhance communication from and to the male brain by being explicit in language as male brains may have some difficulty “reading between the lines” or appreciating emotion if it is not declared explicitly.

Once again the good news is that each brain can benefit from the other if we try!

Try the Fit Brains brain games.

Economic Anxiety and our Health

economy.jpgThe world economic situation is fertile ground for anxiety, some realistic and other perpetuated from misinformation and personal agendas. It is important to take some time to consider the following as methods for coping with these uncertain times:

  • 1. Information and knowledge will help to reduce anxiety, even when the information is not positive. Most of us experience anxiety or unease when we are confronted with uncertainty. As such, it is a good idea to spend some time researching the economic issues (stock market, credit, employment, etc) from a variety of viewpoints. You may have noticed that reading and predicting the economy is not a science, but for those in the stock market, there are predictable patterns based on many years of past behavior. This should provide some certainty even though the present represents a turbulent time.
  • 2. Meet with your financial planner to review all investments and liabilities. He or she will help you reduce your risk and loss while planning appropriately for the near and long term future.
  • 3. Have a family meeting to discuss the issues and to provide a forum to express fears and hopes. Make a family plan that adapts spending and saving to the current market demands.
  • 4. Place a focus on your emotional condition and make an extra effort to exercise and eat healthy. This will enable your body to handle the stress better.
  • 5. This is a great time to use relaxation procedures such as breathing and progressive muscle relaxation. Meditation is also a good daily activity.
  • 6. Have faith in our human innovative and adaptive nature and believe that we will survive this period of uncertainty.
  • 7. Reach out to others who may be in a particularly difficult situation and offer them your time and friendship.

Try the Fit Brains brain games.

Brain Health in the Corporate World

boardroom1.jpgBrain health has matured to the point of being ready for introduction and implementation in the work setting and across the corporate world. Enough research exists to demonstrate the human brain is a dynamic system capable of being shaped for health across the lifespan. Dr. Nussbaum’s five factor brain health lifestyle is an approach that is easily applied to any corporate setting. CEOs and companies interested in the wellbeing of their employees should consider adding health of the brain to their wellness program!

Here are some quick tips to begin the process of implementing brain health into their corporate culture.

1. Educate the entire workforce including the leadership team on the basics of the human brain and what research tells us about how to keep your brain healthy. Consider the costs of dementia related care on your workforce and the fact that a high percentage of your workforce is concerned about their own brain health and this becomes a “no brainer” for inclusion in the company wellness program. Brain health should also be part of the orientation program for new employees.

Dr. Nussbaum is available to come to your company and speak to the leadership and workforce about brain health. It is critical to explain the why behind the what regarding brain health and a brain health lifestyle.

2. Integrate the five slices (e.g. brain fitness) of Dr. Nussbaum’s brain health lifestyle into your work culture. This can occur one step at a time with incentives for the employees to engage in the behaviors thought to promote brain health.

A. Work with the dietary staff in the cafeteria to promote brain healthy foods. This includes increases in fruits, vegetables, fish products, nuts, and juices. Reduce the trans fatty acids and fatty foods found in the vending machines

B. Encourage the employees to begin a regular exercise routine that is focused on walking and aerobic exercise. Teach the employees that each time the heart beats 25% of the blood goes directly to the brain! Every employee should be given a company pedometer to wear at work for the purpose of counting steps. We need approximately 10,000 steps daily. Begin interdepartmental competitions on number of steps taken per week or month.

C. Educate and encourage your workforce to learn how to use relaxation exercises and meditation to reduce stress. An overly stressed brain does not learn or process well and this will reduce productivity. Teach the workforce the importance of prioritizing oneself during the day and to identify what his or her major stressors are.

D. Encourage team and company socials to recreate and have fun. Socialization is an important lifestyle for brain health as it promotes mental stimulation while reducing brain passivity through isolation. Helping identify which employees are prone to loneliness and depression can also help to maximize brain function for the work setting. Socialization and opportunities for laughter and dance can help.

E. Encourage and incentivize creativity and mental stimulation (brain fitness, brain games) during the work day. Include computer stations with Fit Brains for staff to engage in daily brain exercise. Promote board game competitions, book clubs, and creative writing or story telling in the work setting.

3. Develop critical measures of outcome and after three months determine if implementation of brain health into the work setting has helped employees (1) feel better about themselves, (2) increase cognitive function, (3) promote emotional satisfaction, (4) increase physical activity, (5) reduced time off, (6) improve quality of life, (7) lower weight, reduce total cholesterol and reduce glucose, etc.

4. Begin the process of including family members in the brain health program as another benefit of working for your company.

5. Identify a core brain health team that keeps the brain health culture alive with semiannual or annual brain health events for the company and families.

This is a start for making your implementing brain health into your work culture.

Try the Fit Brains brain games.