Photo by CDC on Unsplash
We’ve written a whole multitude of guides on physical longevity, but a lot about mental longevity can’t be treated with just the help of the physical topics. In this article, we’ll go over some steps you can take to help keep your mental health as clear as your physical health.
Cortisol, the number one enemy of longevity, also tends to affect mental health. Since cortisol is built up by stress, we need to find some habits that will help us reduce stress levels.
The first is meditation. Meditation has a whole host of mental benefits -- less stress, anger, anxiousness -- but most importantly for our case it helps to improve the quality of the mind in the long term.
Secondly, you can try taking scheduled and consistent breaks throughout the day. This helps you relieve built up stress without harming your focus, since you’ll be able to plan around the breaks in advance. The best of both worlds!
Building up memory skill helps reduce long run risk of dementia (barring genetic factors), and so plays itself as a vital ingredient in our mental longevity recipe.
How do you practice memory, anyway? Unfortunately, memory games like Lumosity don’t actually help build memory skill in the long run -- and even when they do, it’s short term memory. For our purposes, we need to build long term memory.
The idea of practicing memory is still pretty hazy, but research seems to point towards reminiscing as a good method of keeping mental capacity intact. The more often and consistently we go back to previous points in our lives -- whether to look at personal moments like photographs or just “signs of the times” like old TV commercials -- the more we build the neural network that puts those memories together. When that network is strengthened, it will be significantly harder for the processes underlying diseases such as Alzheimer’s to break through.
The last step we have for building mental fortitude is to learn new things often. In particular, new things that challenge you or otherwise are very different from things you’ve learned before help the best. Never be afraid to pick up a new skill, no matter how hard or different it is!
Here at Shanah, we’ve built a multitude of cheat sheets to help you build sustainable mental longevity habits! Click here to learn more.