I just had a birthday.
And, it’s my habit on each birthday to spend time reflecting on the year that just took place . . .
Thinking back to this same time one year ago, I remember the conversation I had with my friend, Diane. On that particular birthday, I recall grumbling to her that I was getting new aches and pains in my body that have never been there before.
“It’s not only your body that’s aging,” she said. “Your brain is aging, too.”
“Oh, no. Good grief. My brain?” I winced. “That’s even worse.” Since Diane is a neuroscientist, I took her comments seriously.
“You’re not alone, if that makes you feel any better. Everyone’s brain is aging, every day. As a matter of fact, our brain’s aging process begins in our late twenties.”
“Our late twenties?” I groaned. “Really? Then I’m toast!”
Diane grinned. “Not so fast. There are lots of things you can do to slow–and even reverse–your brain’s aging.”
“No kidding?” I breathed a sigh of relief. “That’s fantastic news. Could you please tell me about some of those things? I want to start making my brain younger now.”
If you think about it (pun intended), our brains are responsible for nearly everything in our lives, throughout every moment of our waking day.
It begins when we get out of bed—that’s our first choice–and continues from there. We brush our teeth, make coffee, grab the newspaper off of the front doorstep, and so forth.
All day, we decide, we act, we respond and we react. And all of those thoughts, feelings and behaviors are dictated by our brains. Each “Yes,” “No,” and “Let me think about it,” whether mental or spoken, emanates from that three-pound organ on top of our head.
While we may take our brains for granted, we would be wise to remember that those thoughts and actions determine our present and our future. They govern the state of our health, how we treat our friends and families, and our business success.
Which brings me to an important point: Since I am a trader and investor (and you may be, as well), I want my brain to function to its upmost potential when I make financial decisions. After all, these decisions and resulting actions determine whether or not I manage my current finances wisely, and whether or not I am able to build a satisfactory nest egg for my retirement.
So, how do we slow our brain’s aging, and even reverse it?
Here are three ways . . .
- Challenge your mind. Increase your brain’s vitality by learning new things. Got time to learn a new language? That’s one of the best ways to build new brain connections. Doing jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles, and playing word games like Scrabble are also great ways to increase your brain’s vitality.
- Get moving. Above, we talked about exercising your brain. The next step is to exercise your body. When you break a sweat, it pumps blood to your brain. That initiates the growth of new brain cells. Studies also show that just 30 minutes a day reduces brain cell loss, not to mention the added bonuses of reduced risk of stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and more. If you can, exercise outdoors. Why? Connecting with nature calms the mind in a way only Mother Nature can do.
- Turn on the tunes. Brain scientists have discovered that listening to enjoyable music (not loud heavy metal J), played at a moderate volume, can help our brains stay focused and actually improve creativity. In fact, listening to or playing music can help keep the brain healthy, including increasing mental sharpness and enhanced memory. Listening to soft, relaxing music before turning in for the night can promote better sleep patterns. All in all, when we listen to music we enjoy, it has been shown to have a positive effect on our brains, our psyches, our moods, and our quality of life.
Since my birthday a year ago, I’ve taken Diane’s advice. I’ve exercised my brain with word games and online brain games. I have gone out of my way to attend programs that put teach novel and healthy ways of thinking (meditation, anyone?).
I am working out regularly, with no excuses. And I am taking my tunes along. In fact, one of my favorite music stations on my cell phone is Zen Garden Radio… perfect for shedding the day’s stress just before bedtime.
Diane knows many more ways that can reverse our brain’s aging process, and we’ll talk about them later.
But for now, you may want to dive into some of the suggestions above. I know they worked for me. My brain is definitely revved-up and operating on all cylinders. I feel clear and focused, which adds to my happiness. Besides, it’s very satisfying to know that I am not only keeping my brain from aging—I’m taking steps to hone its sharpness every day.
So, c’mon birthdays . . . bring it on . . . I’m ready for you!
Keep green on your screen,
Toni Turner is the President of TrendStar Group, LLC, is an accomplished technical analyst as well as a popular educator and sought-after speaker in the financial arena.
She is also the author of best-selling books: A Beginner’s Guide to Short-Term Trading, Short-Term Trading in the New Stock Market and Invest to Win: Earn and Keep Profits Bull and Bear Markets With the GainsMaster Approach, co-authored with Gordon Scott, CMT.