6 Ways to keep mentally fit

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Few people have not been touched by brain disease or mental health issues at some point in their lives. Statistically, we're all likely to know someone who is a close friend, family member, or co-worker who has some sort of mental health issue. Most likely, it's someone with depression, dementia, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, or the like.

Without brain health, there is no health at all. Although there is no sure-fire way to prevent mental health issues, there are ways known to improve mental health regardless of your state of being. These six things can be done by just about anyone, cost nothing, and can go a long way towards improving your overall well-being.

Get exercise - exercise leads to overall better health, with light cardiovascular exercise (walking, bicycle riding, etc) being the most-studied as beneficial. Cardio increases neurogenesis and improves memory and mood.

Exercise your mind - your workout shouldn't ignore your brain. Regular brain activity is proven to maintain mental health and studies of elderly people who live fuller, healthier lives seem to show a clear trend of lifelong learning and puzzle playing.

Challenge yourself mentally and physically. Along with daily exercise of mind and body, make sure to occasionally create challenge goals that go beyond your current capability to press your limits. Challenges, even when not immediately met, are mood strengtheners and give goals.

Get good sleep. Evidence from all spectra of mental health show that those who get a good night's sleep more often than not are less likely to have mental health problems or serious health issues.

Cultivate friends and family. Social relationships are important to our well-being and having strong familial and friendship ties improves our overall health. Remember that not all friends are human, so consider keeping a pet or plant you can have as a companion as well.

Appreciate things. Stop to appreciate things. "Smell the roses," as it were. Those who run through life missing the small things in order to chase the big ones often miss both.


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