Tips to stay mentally active

Physical activity is fundamental for a healthy body. Gyms, running groups and pre / post-work boot camps are just as popular as they were several years ago. Exercise is a tonic, and we’ve been encouraging our models to continue their healthy routines for some time. Keep at it.

Mental health is just as important, as the hundreds of charities around the country indicate. Staying mentally active might not be as difficult as it would seem. The human brain is a hugely complex organ comprising roughly 60% fat. The rest is made up of carbohydrates, water, protein, salts, blood vessels and a range of nerves. It controls many crucial human activities, from thought and memory to emotion and temperature. No wonder a healthy mental state is becoming increasingly talked about these days.

Everyone should know that a healthy brain equals a happy life. But other than examining your most treasured organ in extreme detail (and why should you?), there are plenty of activities to keep your brain in tip-top order. All of them could greatly improve your life. And if you try at least one of them and it doesn’t particularly appeal, then what have you lost? Not a great deal. Read with an open mind, and give them a go.

1. Have the motivation to change. If you feel like you’re stuck in a rut, your brain won’t be challenged. A different approach to simple things can be beneficial: how about trying a different route to work or experimenting with new additions to your wardrobe or even a new hairdo.

Break up your weekly routine by doing anything worthwhile or enjoyable. Whether that’s going for a mid-week viewing at your cinema, putting on the lycra for a bike ride or scanning our jobs post for relevant assignments that appeals, don’t endure the tedious 24/7 routine. Your brain will thank you for it.

2. Pass on your skills. If you have a particular interest or skill, share it with others. It could be a sport, a genre of literature or a musical flair – the person you share your enthusiasm with could become friends for life.  

3. Puzzle hard. It’s not puzzling to think that solving brainteasers and other puzzles gives your brain a good workout. Crack open that jigsaw you were given at Christmas four years ago, sit down with a crossword or write a quiz for your friends. Any type of creative puzzle is like catnip to your brain, so give them a go.

4. Word play. This both intellectual and fun. Learn the meaning of one unfamiliar word per day, and then incorporate it in a conversation. This serves two purposes: in a few months you’ll be a Wordsmith; and your friends will admire your newly elongated vocabulary. Winner-winner.

5. Relax. As simple as that. Reserve a half hour daily to gather your thoughts or indulge in a spot of yoga or meditation. Think of this as a brain re-fuel, ready to tackle your next chore or activity.

6. Eat well with friends. The next time you book a table at a restaurant, invite those who provide mental stimulation, and order low-fat, high protein foods such as oily fish. You’ll have a great time, and feel less guilty about your calorie intake.