Go for a walk, start incorporating more fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet and try to give up any bad habits like excessive alcohol consumption or tobacco use. Some of these might be more difficult than others, but your brain will thank you for years to come. While you might feel like you can navigate the streets of your neighborhood with your eyes closed, try challenging your brain by actually drawing a map of your town or neighborhood from memory. No cheating! Try to include major streets, major side streets, and local landmarks. Once you are done, compare your memory map to a real map of the area.
How did you do? Are you surprised by some of the things that you missed? If you found this activity too easy, try drawing a less familiar area from memory, such as a map of the entire United States or Europe, and try to label every state or country. Navigating your way to the supermarket or doctor's office might seem simple and almost automatic when you are behind the wheel of your car. However, forcing yourself to remember the layout of your neighborhood as well as draw and label it helps activate a variety of areas of your brain.
Brain training research has repeatedly shown that it is exactly these types of challenging and complex activities that provide the greatest benefit to your brain. This brain exercise requires a bit of commitment, but it is also one that just might give you the most bang for your buck. Remember how researchers believe that the most effective brain training exercises are those that are challenging, novel and complex? Learning something new is one way to keep your brain on its toes and continually introduce new challenges. In one study, researchers assigned older adults to learn a variety of new skills ranging from digital photography to quilting.
They then did memory tests and compared the experimental groups to control groups. Those in the control groups had engaged in activities that were fun but not mentally challenging such as watching movies and listening to the radio. The researchers found that only those participants who had learned a new skill experienced improvement on the memory tests.
They also discovered that these memory improvements were still present when tested again a year later. Some things you might want to try include learning a new language, learning to play a musical instrument or learning a new hobby. Not only will you be stretching your mind, but you will also be continually learning something new as you keep expanding your skills and becoming more accomplished. Up next is an interesting brain exercise that one neurobiologist suggests might help "keep your brain alive.
Because using your opposite hand can be so challenging, it can be a great way to increase brain activity. Try switching hand while you are eating dinner or when you are trying to write something down.
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It will be difficult, but that is exactly the point. Up next is an activity that you probably do every day, but you might not realize just how beneficial it might be for your mental strength. Studies suggest that people who are socially active are also at a lower risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Socializing tends to engage multiple areas of the brain and many social activities also include physical elements, such as playing a sport, that is also beneficial to your mind.
Even if you are an inveterate introvert , seeking social interactions can be beneficial to your brain in both the short and long-term. Some ideas for staying socially engaged to include signing up for volunteer opportunities in your community, joining a club, signing up for a local walking group, and staying in close touch with your friends and family.
Up next is a brain exercise that has been in use for thousands of years but has recently gained considerable recognition for its effectiveness. One brain exercise you might not have considered might actually be extremely effective — meditation. Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is all the rage at the moment, espoused by positive psychologists , business leaders, and alternative health practitioners.
Before you say that this ancient Buddhist tradition is too New Age for you, consider some of the research demonstrating the many benefits of meditation. Studies suggest that mindfulness meditation can help engage new neural pathways, resulting in improved self-observational skills and increased mental flexibility. Research has also shown that meditation can help improve attention , focus, empathy , and even immunity. Studies also suggest that meditation might even increase the capacity of working memory. Are you ready to try this brain exercise? You can read a quick guide to practicing mindfulness meditation.
You can also check out some handy tips for incorporating mindfulness into your everyday life. Once you've tried some of these brain exercises, you might be left wondering if any of those online "brain training" websites might also help. Next up, let's explore whether or not those sites, apps, and programs might really be worth your time. Chances are probably pretty good that you've at least heard, or even tried, some of the many brain training games, websites, and apps that are out there. Many of these tools claim that these computerized brain exercises can increase your mental flexibility, keep you mentally sharper as you age and even make you more intelligent.
While there is still plenty of debate about whether or not these claims are true, there is a chance that playing these types of mental games might is good for your brain. How much exactly is still up for debate. If, however, you already spend too much time staring at your computer screen or smartphone, your time is probably much better well spent going out for a stroll, enjoying a new hobby or even visiting with a friend.
All of these activities can have major long-term effects on the health and vitality of your brain. Finding the cause of delirium is important to choose the best treatment. Some medications used to treat cancer or manage other side effects can cause delirium. These include:. In addition, stopping some medications suddenly may cause symptoms of withdrawal, which can include delirium. Organ failure. Problems in how some organs work can cause delirium. This can include liver and kidney failure. Heart and lung problems are also a potential cause. And seizures or cancer that has spread to the brain can cause delirium.
Fluid and electrolyte imbalances. Not having the correct balance of fluid and electrolytes in the body can cause delirium. There are several potential causes of these imbalances:. Dehydration from not taking in enough fluids because of nausea, vomiting, or not being able to swallow comfortably. Dehydration can also be caused by loss of fluids through diarrhea and frequent urination.
Drawing is better than writing for memory retention
Glucose disorders, which include hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia. Hyperglycemia is a high blood sugar level. This can be due to diabetes and worsened by cancer treatments. Or it can occur in people with no history of diabetes. Hypoglycemia is a low blood sugar level. Bladder infections, pneumonia, a type of lung infection, and sepsis can cause delirium.
Sepsis is a life-threatening condition caused from an infection that has spread to the bloodstream.
Lack of oxygen in the blood. Health problems that cause low levels of oxygen in the blood can lead to delirium. These include lung or heart problems, blood clots, and sleep disorders. Doctors must do a physical exam and blood tests to find out whether a person is experiencing delirium. They will also do a mental status exam.
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This is done using tests that check motor skills, memory, and attention level. Your health care team may also recommend other tests, such as brain scans, based on the results of testing. The most effective treatment for delirium is to understand and treat the cause.
Your doctor may use drug and non-drug approaches to manage delirium while keeping you comfortable and safe. It is important to work with your health care team to manage the symptoms of delirium. These tips may help:.
Find a reassuring environment for yourself. This may include a quiet, well-lit room with familiar people and objects. It may also help to place a clock and wall calendar where you can see it.
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Talk with your health care team about your hallucinations or unusual behaviors. They can help you learn what to expect and how to manage these symptoms. Ask about stopping or switching medications that may worsen your mental confusion. Also, ask if there are other, untreated medical conditions that may be the cause of delirium. In some cases, taking antipsychotic medications helps control the symptoms of delirium. These drugs cause side effects, but most can be managed well.