As a brain trainer and memory coach to many of the world’s top CEOs and celebrities, one of the questions I hear often is, “Why is my mind getting slower and weaker?”
For sure, outsourcing our brains to our smart devices means our minds and memory don’t get the workout they once did. Think about how few phone numbers you know today, versus years ago. But here’s the good news: No matter your age, you can be mentally faster, smarter and stronger, with the right brain-healthy, fit lifestyle. And while you hear a lot about things like the right foods, exercise and rest, here’s something you can overlook — being more social.
Here’s how it works. As the weather grows colder, it gets tougher and tougher to drag yourself out to holiday parties and coffee dates with friends. You know you’ll feel great once you show up, but you have no motivation to go outside to the gym or to see your friends. After all, who wants to brave miserable weather when you could curl up in bed and watch Netflix?
But socializing with others can be great for your soul. There’s nothing like a meaningful conversation with a close friend to help you recover and rejuvenate after a stressful week. Moreover, socializing is also amazing for your brain.
Nobody is quite sure why strong social ties help keep your brain healthy, but study after study proves they do. Elderly people who regularly interact with others are at a far lower risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and are much more cognitively “present” than those who are isolated. In other words, it’s not just your neurological and biological networks that matter, but also your social networks.
So why might this be? One theory suggests that because human
beings are social animals, it’s possible that interacting with others is in fact a form of exercise, as essential as hitting the gym. Holding a sustained conversation about any topic requires a surprisingly large amount of mental energy.
And just like physical exercise, the earlier you begin mental exercise, the more effective it is later on in life. So it’s essential to remain active in your social circles throughout your life.
Still don’t want to leave the house? What if I told you that hanging out with friends would warm you up? It’s strange but true: a University of Toronto study found that social exclusion can literally make you feel colder.
So this holiday season, get out of the house and socialize! Go to a holiday party. Meet your friends for brunch even if it’s snowing outside. Talk to the shopkeeper instead of staring at your phone. Your future self will thank you.
If you want even more of a brain boost, don’t forget to check out our memory training on how to learn and remember anything faster, at http://www.KwikLearning.com/24life! It’s FREE for a limited time for 24Life readers. And speaking of being more social, connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for more tips, and keep me posted on your brain fitness!