Five keys to a healthy mind

Today’s five keys to a healthy mind come from the work of a United Kingdom government think tank, called the Foresight Project on Mental Capital.

These keys have to do with our interactions in the world around us.  They are:

*Connect to others — family, friends, neighbors, co-workers — because these connections help keep people healthy and living longer.

*Be physically active.  Walk, run, do tai chi, cycle, work around your house and yard, anything to keep moving.  Living a sedentary life does not support good physical or mental health.

*Take time to smell the roses. Pay attention to changing seasons, to your surroundings, and your experiences.  Savor positive happenings and find other ways to remind yourself of what’s important in life.  As Zen practitioner Leo Babuta says, Make life a conscious practice.

*Challenge your brain by learning something new.  Research indicates that adults can grow new neurons in the hippocampus, the area in the brain connected to “memory, learning and other cognitive functions.”

*Volunteer; find a way to help someone else.  It’s one more way to build social  connections.

Tomorrow we’ll look at another five keys, this time behaviors that must come from within ourselves.

About stillalife

I retired June 30, 2010 after working for 40 years in the field of education and most recently doing school public relations/community outreach in a mid-size urban school district. I wrote for superintendents and school board members. Now I'm writing for me and I hope for you. In this blog, I offer my own views coupled with the latest research on how to preserve our physical and mental health as we age, delve into issues most of us over 50 can relate to like noticing wrinkles and forgetting where we left our keys, discuss the pros and cons of different ways to engage our minds and bodies after we leave the workplace, and throw in an occasional book review, all peppered with a touch of humor, irony, and just plain silliness. Also, I'm on the third draft of my second novel since retirement.
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