Bad Habits, Bad Memory – You Can Change This!

By Dianne M. Daniels | attitude

Studies are constantly appearing that can make us worry about the habits we form in our daily lives. These habits can include drinking too much, smoking, not getting enough sleep or enduring too much stress. None of these habits are conducive to helping you nurture or project your inner power, polish and poise – in fact – they can be detrimental to your visual image and to your mental health.

There’s always something that we could change to become healthier. Recognizing that you have these bad habits is the first step – because what you don’t recognize or acknowledge can’t be changed.

Those bad habits can also be instrumental in hindering your brain health – memory, in particular. Alzheimer’s disease is a constant concern among the aging baby boomer population and it’s now sixth in the cause of American deaths.

Although Alzheimer’s disease is mostly considered a disease of the elderly, bad habits that you develop early on can begin a “domino effect” which can harm your brain and make it easier to become affected by memory diseases later in life.

Here are some habits you might be living with right now that can greatly affect your memory and the health of your brain:

  • Poor diet – A poor diet can take a toll on your brain as well as your body. You may not be able to see the effects on the brain as you can with the body, but the harm is happening is subtle ways such as difficult in focusing, bad memory recall and cognitive functioning.

    You can change this – start today by evaluating your eating and make positive changes in the substances you put into your body. Keep a food journal (physical or on your smart phone) for a week and then look at what you’ve eaten and drank, and start making changes like working up to drinking 8 – 10 glasses of water daily.

  • Smoking – Everyone should know of the harm that smoking can cause to the brain, but smoking can also be a factor in decline of memory between the ages of 40 and 50 years old.

    There’s NO good reason to continue smoking – it’s just NOT good for you. Look into the new therapies and products to help you quit. The longer you smoke, the more negative health effects you’ll either experience or set yourself up for. You CAN turn your health around after smoking – get started today!

  • Lack of sleep – This is a big one – when you don’t get enough sleep at night, you may feel as if you’re in a fog during the day. If this condition becomes chronic, you run the risk of damaging the neural pathways of the brain which may affect memory recall.

    Whatever is keeping you up at night or preventing you from establishing a healthy sleep routine, start NOW to fix the situation. Turn off the television, put away the games, etc. Be conscious of your time, use it wisely, and prioritize what’s important. Remember that YOU are important, and without enough sleep, you can’t perform well in ANY other area of your life.

  • Lack of exercise / movement – Your brain can mimic the body when you don’t exercise enough. The hippocampus portion of the brain – which is responsible for memory storage – may become sluggish and your cognitive and recall brain functions may be impaired without the proper amount of exercise.

    Exercise doesn’t have to mean sweating it out in the gym – you can get exercise by walking, riding a bicycle, roller skating, dancing, or any number of other physical pursuits. Choose an activity that you like and just get started. 15 minutes, 3 times the first week, then increase either time or number of days every 2 weeks until you’re moving 4 – 6 days per week and up to an hour per session. You’ll find you not only feel stronger, and more flexible, but you’ll be sharper, mentally and happier!

  • Alcohol and drug use – Some people may have conditions which require prescription drugs for treatment, but overuse of prescription and over-the-counter drugs can greatly impair your ability to remember things. Alcohol consumption may also destroy cells of the brain and make it more difficult to build them back up.

    Check in with your doctor about the potential side effects of any prescription drugs you must take and design ways to counteract or supplement what you eat and drink to help offset those side effects. Eat good food, get some exercise (see above) and drink plenty of water as a start, then add specific beneficial actions based on your doctor’s advice.

Additional reasons to change bad habits are the negative effects they will eventually have on your body. Heart disease, high cholesterol, cancer and diabetes can also occur if your bad habits aren’t under control, and the challenge of eliminating a bad habit is far less than the challenge of a life-altering disease.

Put yourself first and create a plan to reduce and eliminate your bad habits starting NOW, and cultivate more brain and body health.

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