Keeping a healthy mind in midlife
Mental fatigue, although not necessarily a symptom of an unhealthy mind or of a middle life crisis it still is an important stress factor in lives of many people. Whilst a stressed individual is often considered to be healthy physically may suffer from mental instability and mental anguish. So one big step towards a better mind is less stress.
In midlife a healthy mind is just as important as a healthy body. There is little point or fun in having one but not the other. Therefore the earlier you come to value a healthy mind the better. We all know people whom may have a very fit body yet lacking a sound intellect or vice verse.
"Education is the best provision for old age." - Aristotle
What is a healthy mind anyway? Is it an ability to crack or understand jokes, or perhaps solving creative and intellectual tasks, or maybe even the ability to give sound and wise advice?
A human mind is still for the most part, a mystery. It has been studied and it has analyzed by countless psychologists, neurologists and philosophers yet many things remain unclear. What is clear that there are ways to attempt to make your mind healthier and more flexible.
Start with healthy diet
You are what you eat. Having a healthy diet is very important for your body, people who have fish once a week for example are 60% less likely of developing Alzheimer's. Go for food that provides nutritional value along with omega-3 fatty acid, not just fish but algal oil, squid oils, krill oil and some plant oils such as Sacha Inchi oil, echium oil, flaxseed oil and hemp oil all are common sources of omega–3 fatty acids. Wholegrain bread is also good for health and mental functioning. Blackcurrants and blueberries are not only tasty but also good for health. The usual veg, such as broccoli and tomatoes are evidently beneficial.
By drink more, we don't mean, gulping alcohol like no tomorrow but whilst health diet is obvious, so many people forget to drink properly. Water and juices, all kinds of liquids. You are 70% water, so water in fact is what keeps your brain and muscle tissue lubricated and it is absolutely necessary for a fully functioning organism. Your brain operates much better if you're not thirsty.
Socializing, learning and interacting.
Socializing and interacting requires complex mental activity. It is good practice to spend time exercising thought process. Language for example is a very complex thing, most languages consist of hundreds of thousands of words and using language itself is one of the best ways for the brain to be exercised. Especially if you find yourself losing the train of thought, it is a good idea to start reading more interesting literature, engage in intellectual conversations. Sitting in front of TV and watching junk television is not the way to engage your brain, instead if you're barely entertained by something, try doing something different.
A few approaches:
Thought provoking literature, of different cultures, poetry and prose.
Thought provoking films, films showing a different culture, in a different language
Leaning new skills and acquiring new knowledge
Learning new skills, such as learning to use computers or learning new languages will offer a massive mental health benefit. Apart from being helpful, these skills will require mental effort and exercising new thinking processes. Learning a new language for example has been researched and there is evidence to suggest that learning and regularly speaking a new language, boosts patient's cognitive skills and delay the onset of dementia, whilst it is a very healthy regardless of your mental state. But do research the method of learning a new language, some methods are better than others.
Regular physical exercise
Your brain consumes a quarter of your energy so consider mental exercise as a physical exercise. It is also important to recognize that entertainment and mental stimulation are different things, so watching discovery channel as a means of keeping a healthy mind won't do.
Regular physical exercise is essential for maintaining a steady level of good blood flow to the brain and other organs that contribute to the well being of a body. Physical exercise encourages development of new brain cells. Whilst being overweight increases the chances of getting a heart attack through having a high blood pressure, heaving a healthy slim body significantly reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke and diabetes. Furthermore the risk of Alzheimer's and other dementias are decreased. Whilst one may complain of joint pain and other conditions, there are many helpful exercises that are pleasant and don't require a perfect body to start with. Swimming is exceptionally good for the physiology of the whole body. Going for walks to get that fresh air flowing to your lungs and that oxygen about your body is very healthy as well.
Healthy mind and middle life crisis
A healthy mind, by definition would allow better choices since a stress-absent healthy mind is less likely to commit errors of judgment, so a better decision making process would be a good thing overall. Maintaining a healthy mind is good for character and for personality, however sometimes people are lazy to go about maintaining it, especially the gifted people who are used to having things come easy to them that they don't bother doing mental exercises, same goes for memory, you start with a good memory and eventually it degrades, so like any muscle it requires constant work which will pay off, in midlife or later, at any age. One has to remember that brain also need exercise and it's been mentioned above that entertainment and exercise are different things and of course it is best when they go together, yet having the willpower and the drive to challenge oneself is best which is generally a good way to deal with middle life problems and postpone or solve midlife crisis.
New goals during productive activity that is enjoyable and healthy, why aren't people doing more of it?