There Are Ways to Keep Your Mind Sharp (And Improve Your Attitude)

Lynn Martelli
Lynn Martelli

When you retire, you lose the intellectual engagement you got from your job and run the risk of expedited cognitive decline. The brain is a “use it or lose it” type of organ, meaning that if you don’t use it for a long period of time, you’ll lose the functions previously stored there. Without a career to focus on, it can be all too easy to let your intellectual potential fade away. Irrespective of your age, there are times when memory lapses seem to get you down. Most of the time, it’s nothing to worry about, but if you’re concerned, make wise lifestyle choices to help keep your brain healthy.

Read on to learn more about how you can keep your brain sharp as you age while keeping a positive attitude.

Sleep From Seven to Nine Hours A Night

Your brain needs to get some rest from time to time, so getting enough sleep is vital for your overall health. Scientists recommend trying to get between seven and nine hours of sleep per night to keep your brain functioning at its best. The brain generates two types of sleep: slow wave sleep (deep sleep) and rapid eye movement (dreaming sleep). When you drift off, your brain doesn’t go “offline”; it’s just that you can’t observe what’s going on. Cognitive rest also occurs when you’re not actively engaged in something that requires a lot of attention. During this time, your brain engages in a default mode network, which means its energy is no longer put to good use.

Nurture A Hobby

Contrary to popular opinion, a hobby isn’t just a way to fill time. It can help you connect with your passions and challenge your mind, so don’t be afraid to pursue your interests. It doesn’t hurt to be selective. Collecting cannabis seeds, for instance, can help reduce mental stress and the physical fatigue of everyday life, so it’s a wonderful and fun hobby. Remember that what might be important to you is actually an important part of preserving genetic biodiversity. At any rate, it’s recommended to place the seeds in dry labeled envelopes in an airtight container.

Continuous learning can have positive effects on the brain by improving memory and enhancing problem-solving abilities. Collecting cannabis seeds brings positive change in your life as you improve your knowledge about plants. Chances are you didn’t know the blueberry strain, also referred to as Berry Blue, is an Indica-dominant strain with a solid genetic backbone believed to have originated in the 70s or 80s. Invest time and resources into building your knowledge. Collecting is an accessible hobby, but careful planning is of the essence. Blogs, eBooks, and conferences provide new and useful information. You collect information, but you gain knowledge by connecting that information.

Have Good Social Connections

We’re biologically wired for social engagement, so having good connections is one of the most important things you can do for your brain as you get older. People who are more socially connected live longer, not to mention they have better mental and cognitive health outcomes. If you’re feeling lonely and disconnected despite your digital devices, get out into the world. Like any habit, fostering connections takes time to learn and may even come with bumpy patches. How long it takes to make friends depends on your behavior and specific circumstances.

Here are some helpful tips on how to create meaningful social bonds in your life:

  • Rekindle old friendships and reconnect: Falling out with friends is something you desperately want to avoid, but it happens, whether it’s something small and regrettable or something bigger. Try to reconnect with old friends, especially if you itch to get in touch again. Don’t over-romanticize the past by remembering old relationships better than they actually were. Refrain from rekindling the friendship if it hurts you or them.
  • Try volunteering: Volunteering is an excellent way to make new friends and make a difference in the world. You might feel more comfortable joining group activities where the main goal isn’t socialization. You’ll meet people you won’t normally come across in your day-to-day life. Giving can help your mental health by reducing stress, combatting depression, and providing a sense of purpose.
  • Go for quality, not quantity: Obviously, quality matters more than quality, so be careful because stressful relationships can take a toll on your health. Unlike anything else, you get to choose your friends. Having no friends at all can be a healthy reset, provided it’s not permanent. Invest your time and effort into a handful of relationships that fulfill you instead of striving to expand your social group.

Try Healthier Versions of Your Comfort Food

If you want your brain to really be optimized, pay close attention to what you eat. By tweaking your diet, you can relieve adverse mental health symptoms, so nutrition doesn’t play a key role in just your physical health. Instead of looking for one food that will fix everything, you should better change your entire eating pattern. Limit red meat, soda (and other sugary drinks), fried foods, white bread/rice, and alcohol to name a few. Your diet should consist of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, fish, nuts, and olive oil. The MIND diet has proven benefits for brain health.

You can lean into the foods you like but have healthier versions of them so you don’t become overwhelmed when thinking about making changes in your diet. For example, you can eat brown rice instead of white rice because it improves blood flow in the brain and helps memory function. The versatile and affordable grain is packed with nutrients, such as carbohydrates, which include sugars, starches, and fiber. Certain foods can elevate the mood. Dark chocolate is one such example. It has flavonoids that accurately improve cognitive function via their neuroprotective properties.


Just like you exercise your body to keep it in good shape, you must exercise your brain to keep it sharp and protect yourself from dementia. As mentioned previously, new neurons are kept alive by effortful learning, so whether it’s picking up a new hobby or learning how to make friends, acquire fresh knowledge and skills.

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