If you want to remain sharp-minded as you get older, say goodbye to these 9 behaviors

Maintaining mental agility as we age isn’t just about crossword puzzles and memory games. It’s also about letting go of certain behaviors that can dull our cognitive edge.

Our habits and lifestyle choices have a significant impact on our brain health, and some of them might be doing more harm than good.

But here’s the good news – by identifying these detrimental behaviors, we give ourselves the chance to change them.

In this article, we’ll explore some of these behaviors that you may want to bid adieu to, if you’re keen on preserving a sharp mind as you age.

1) Mindless scrolling

In the digital age, it’s all too easy to get caught in the trap of endless scrolling.

Whether it’s social media feeds, news sites, or even just hopping from one blog to another, mindless scrolling can consume hours of our day without us even realizing it.

And while it may seem like a harmless way to relax or kill time, this behavior can actually have a detrimental impact on our cognitive health.

The issue with mindless scrolling is that it doesn’t engage our brains in a meaningful way.

Instead of actively processing information, we’re passively consuming it. This kind of shallow engagement doesn’t stimulate our cognitive functions and can lead to mental lethargy over time.

Moreover, constant exposure to digital screens can disrupt sleep patterns – another key factor in maintaining mental sharpness.

If you want to stay mentally sharp as you age, consider setting boundaries around your screen time. Opt for activities that challenge your brain instead – read a book, solve a puzzle, or learn a new skill.

Remember, every conscious choice you make today can contribute to the health of your mind tomorrow. It’s all about acknowledging these behaviors and making the decision to change them.

2) Neglecting physical activity

As a person who has always valued the interconnection between body and mind, I can’t stress enough the importance of physical activity for maintaining mental sharpness.

Regular physical exercise is not just beneficial for our bodies; it’s also vital for our cognitive health. Workouts increase blood flow to the brain, which aids in the delivery of oxygen and nutrients – essential components for the maintenance and growth of healthy brain cells.

Additionally, regular exercise stimulates the production of neurotrophins – substances that promote the growth and survival of neurons. This not only helps to keep our brains healthy but also fosters neuroplasticity, our brain’s ability to adapt and change throughout life.

So, if you’ve been neglecting your workouts or leading a sedentary lifestyle, you might want to reconsider.

A walk in the park, a yoga session, or even a dance class could do wonders for your mental agility.

To quote John F. Kennedy, “Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.” 

3) Letting stress take over

Life comes with its fair share of stresses. Deadlines, responsibilities, unforeseen circumstances – they all add up. But when we let stress become a constant presence in our lives, it takes a toll on our cognitive health.

Chronic stress has been linked to a host of health issues, including cognitive decline. It’s our body’s emergency response system, and when it’s constantly activated, it can wear us down physically and mentally.

So how do we manage stress better?

One approach that I’ve personally found useful is mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness can accentuate what’s already inside us – the good and the bad.

In my video on this topic, I delve deeper into these findings and explore how mindfulness can help us manage our stress and ultimately safeguard our mental sharpness.

I invite you to watch it:

Managing stress efficiently is crucial for maintaining mental agility as we age. By being more mindful of our reactions to stressful situations, we can learn to respond rather than react, preserving our mental energy for things that truly matter.

If you find this video helpful and want to join a community of over 20,000 people on a journey towards living life with more purpose and freedom, feel free to subscribe to my YouTube channel.

4) Neglecting self-awareness

In our fast-paced world, it’s all too easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. We often overlook the importance of slowing down and checking in with ourselves. This neglect of self-awareness can be detrimental to our cognitive health as we age.

Self-awareness is about tuning in to our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. It’s about understanding our strengths and weaknesses, acknowledging our fears, and confronting our limiting beliefs.

It’s a crucial component in maintaining mental sharpness because it helps us understand how we process information, solve problems, and make decisions.

When we neglect self-awareness, we risk becoming reactive rather than proactive. We find ourselves at the mercy of our circumstances, rather than taking control of our lives. This can lead to feelings of disempowerment and stagnation.

Practicing self-awareness also fosters resilience and adaptability – two key traits for maintaining cognitive health as we age. By knowing ourselves better, we’re better equipped to manage stress, navigate life’s challenges, and ultimately keep our minds sharp.

5) Ignoring the power of community

As social creatures, we thrive on connections. Relationships and communities play an integral role in our mental health and cognitive vitality.

Yet, in our increasingly digital and disconnected world, it’s easy to forget the profound impact of face-to-face interactions, supportive friendships, and tight-knit communities on our mental sharpness.

When we isolate ourselves or neglect to foster meaningful connections, we risk stunting our cognitive growth.

You see, communities and relationships challenge us, encourage us to think differently, expose us to diverse perspectives, and stimulate our minds. They provide a network of support that can help us navigate life’s challenges and maintain our mental agility.

That’s why I’d like to urge you to invest time and energy in building meaningful connections. Engage in stimulating conversations, participate in community activities or join a club that interests you.

Remember that we are not alone in our quest for mental sharpness as we age. We are part of a community, and it’s through this community that we find the courage, resilience, and joy to keep our minds sharp.

In one of my videos, I explore what being single in a big city taught me about the importance of slowing down, reflecting on what I’m looking for, and building connections from this basis:

Whether single or in a relationship, living in a big city or a small town, the advice is universal. Let’s embrace the power of community for a sharper mind.

6) Chasing after comfort

It’s human nature to seek comfort. We crave stability, predictability, and ease. But if we want to keep our minds sharp as we age, we may need to rethink our relationship with comfort.

The truth is, our brains thrive on challenges. When we’re faced with new situations, problems, or experiences, our brains are forced to create new neural pathways and strengthen existing ones. This mental workout keeps our cognitive functions in good shape.

By constantly seeking comfort and avoiding challenges, we deny our minds the opportunity to grow and adapt. We fall into routines and patterns that may be easy but aren’t stimulating for our brains.

So don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Take up a new hobby, learn a new language, travel to a new place – anything that challenges you and stimulates your mind.

It’s not about making life unnecessarily difficult. It’s about understanding that a certain level of challenge is beneficial for our cognitive health. 

7) Over-relying on technology

We live in a world where technology has become an integral part of our lives. From smartphones to smart homes, we are surrounded by devices designed to make our lives easier and more efficient.

But when we start depending on technology for every little thing, we may be doing our cognitive health a disservice.

Consider the simple act of remembering a phone number. Today, most of us store all our contacts in our phones and rarely remember any numbers by heart.

While it’s convenient, this over-reliance on technology is robbing our brains of the chance to exercise and improve our memory.

Similarly, using GPS to navigate everywhere can weaken our spatial memory and navigation skills. Constantly using calculators for simple arithmetic can dull our mental math skills.

To keep our minds sharp as we age, it’s important to strike a balance. Use technology as a tool, not a crutch. Challenge your brain regularly by practicing mental tasks without technological aids.

8) Living in autopilot mode

Between work, family responsibilities, and social commitments, it’s easy to fall into the trap of living on autopilot – going through the motions without really engaging with what we’re doing.

When we live in autopilot mode, we’re not fully present. We’re not actively engaging with our experiences or using our cognitive abilities to their fullest potential. This lack of engagement can lead to cognitive stagnation over time.

To maintain mental sharpness as we age, it’s important to break free from autopilot mode and engage consciously in our daily activities.

This might mean taking the time to savor your meals rather than eating in front of the TV, or actively listening when someone talks instead of planning your response in your head.

By consciously engaging with our experiences, we stimulate our cognitive functions and keep our minds sharp.

9) Neglecting nutrition

The food we eat fuels our bodies and our minds. Yet, in the hustle and bustle of daily life, it’s easy to neglect nutrition and opt for convenience over health.

A diet high in processed foods, sugar, and unhealthy fats can impact our cognitive health. These foods cause inflammation, which research has linked to cognitive decline.

On the other hand, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains provides the nutrients necessary for optimal brain function.

So if you’re serious about maintaining mental sharpness as you age, then it’s time to pay attention to what’s on your plate. Your brain – and your body – will thank you.

The complexity of cognitive health

Maintaining cognitive sharpness as we age is not a singular task. It’s a multifaceted endeavor that requires us to look holistically at our lives and make conscious choices that support our brain health.

This journey is also a personal one. It may look different for each of us. But the common thread is the conscious decision to prioritize our mental health and well-being.

As you embark on this journey, I invite you to subscribe to my YouTube channel. Join a community of over 20,000 people exploring life with more purpose and freedom.

Remember: Staying sharp-minded as you age isn’t just about keeping your brain active. It’s about living a life of authenticity and freedom, one that aligns with your deepest values. What steps are you willing to take today to ensure a sharper mind tomorrow?

Did you like my article? Like me on Facebook to see more articles like this in your feed.

Justin Brown

Justin Brown is an entrepreneur and thought leader in personal development and digital media, with a foundation in education from The London School of Economics and The Australian National University. As the co-founder of Ideapod, The Vessel, and a director at Brown Brothers Media, Justin has spearheaded platforms that significantly contribute to personal and collective growth. His deep insights are shared on his YouTube channel, JustinBrownVids, offering a rich blend of guidance on living a meaningful and purposeful life.

If you use these 8 phrases regularly, you’re an incredibly self-confident person

8 signs someone is trying a bit too hard to seem classy