Whether it's becoming a Sudoku champion or remembering the name of someone you just met, everyone probably wishes they could muster up a little extra brain power. There are no quick fixes when it comes to improving (or preventing the decline of) cognitive functions like memory, info processing, or critical thinking, but there are some very basic steps you can take to keep your brain as healthy as possible.
"A lot of things that should be recommended for reducing dementia are actually just common sense and work for general health too," says Dr. Joe Verghese, professor of neurology and medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. "The challenge is getting people to do it." Eating right, exercising, and staying mentally active top the list of brain-health boosters, but they aren't the only options.
3. Ignore Negativity
Stereotype threat occurs when a person is in a situation where they are anxious that they may conform to a negative stereotype aimed at his or her social group. Stereotype threat stemming from beliefs about age and memory loss can hinder the performance of middle-agers and older people on memory tests. However, positive stereotypes, or success on previous memory tasks, can help combat this negativity. Oddly enough, stereotype threat has also been shown to improve performance when tasks are focused on losses rather than gains.
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