Keeping Yourself Busy Can Boost Your Mental Health, Science Says

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What most people want is to have a relaxing day (every day) and earn money without being busy. You also want to do as much as possible in and around the home or regarding your family or social life, without being too busy as well.

Although we dread having busy lifestyle, it doesn’t mean it’s impossible to find something positive about it. In fact, a groundbreaking study published recently discovered that keeping yourself busy boosts mental health.

Busy Schedule and Mental Health

Researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas discovered that sustained engagement in mentally challenging activities improves memory in older adults. The groundbreaking research suggests that busy people may have better-functioning brains in old age than those who are less busy. For the purpose of the study, scientists included 330 participants from the Dallas Lifespan Brain Study (DLBS) aged between 50 and 89. They had to complete the questionnaire as well as series of neuropsychological tests which measured their cognitive performance.

For the purpose of the study, scientists included 330 participants from the Dallas Lifespan Brain Study (DLBS) aged between 50 and 89. They had to complete the questionnaire as well as series of neuropsychological tests which measured their cognitive performance.

One of the authors of the research, Denise C. Park, stated all team members were shocked when they found how little research has been conducted on this subject because the modern lifestyle is characterized by busyness.

Findings, published in the Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, showed that greater busyness was strongly associated with better processing speed, working memory, episodic memory, reasoning, and crystallized knowledge.

Interestingly, the interaction between age and busyness wasn’t present while predicting cognitive performance. What does this mean?

This finding indicates that busyness was similarly beneficial in different age groups. The level of education was, also, unrelated to the impact of busyness on mental health, meaning one doesn’t necessarily have to possess higher education diploma or have a well-paid job to experience brain-health benefits of busyness.

After reading these results, it’s only natural to ask yourself why busy schedule improves mental health.

Scientists assume it is because busier people have more opportunities to learn through a wide array of situations they find themselves in, thus heightening cognition, the Independent reports.

Another potential explanation is that busy individuals socialize more which is beneficial for brain health and cognitive functioning. On the other hand, social isolation poses as a significant contributor to depression and poor cognitive health.

Of course, it is necessary to make a clear distinction between the healthy and unhealthy level of busyness.

When an individual is overly busy, it could lead to increased stress and weak cognitive functions. The key is to create a schedule to enrich the lifestyle with different activities that stimulate the brain. Below, you can see how.

Read.

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Reading is one of the best exercises for your brain, and if you’ve ever wondered how to improve memory, you have your answer now.

According to a study carried out by researchers at the Liverpool University, it’s not just about reading any book you find. In fact, opting for more complex texts such as classics is more beneficial for memory, learning, and cognitive functions.

Reading was also found to lower the levels of a protein involved in Alzheimer’s disease.

Furthermore, research from the journal Neurology revealed that people who read books have healthier brains in old age compared to individuals who don’t.

Crosswords.

Crosswords, puzzles, and other brain games have been found to delay the onset of memory decline in patients with dementia in a study published in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society.

Brain games are one of the easiest ways to engage your mind, improve learning and memory as well as problem-solving skills.

When making a schedule to improve brain health, including some time to do crosswords, Sudoku, or other mind-engaging activities is beneficial for it.

Do Aerobic Exercise.

Scientists at the University of British Columbia discovered that aerobic exercise appears to boost the size of the hippocampus, the brain area responsible for verbal memory and learning.

Benefits of this exercise come from its tremendous ability to reduce insulin resistance and inflammation and promote the release of growth factors, chemicals in the brain that affect the health of brain cells, Harvard Health reports.

A sedentary lifestyle is bad for your waistline, both physical and mental health, which is why your daily or weekly schedule should include physical activity.

To get the most out of your exercise, you have to pair it with proper nutrition. This is an excellent opportunity to include Omega-3 fatty acids, blueberries and dark chocolate, known as best brain foods, and other healthy items in your menu.

Other Activities to Stay Busy.

  • Travel
  • Take up a hobby
  • Socialize with your friends
  • Play an instrument or take a class to learn
  • Sign up for a cooking class
  • Paint
  • Do some gardening
  • Learn a new language

Conclusion

A Recent study found that people with busy schedules have better brain health and the results weren’t associated with one’s educational background or age.

These findings indicate that keeping yourself busy with different activities can help improve the cognitive functioning.

Of course, you should have some time for rest, but try incorporating different things into your schedule. Every opportunity to learn, develop new skills and socialize does wonders for your brain.

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Lidiya K

Lidiya K

Author, blogger and podcaster in the fields of self-improvement and life hacking. Creator of Let's Reach Success.
Full-time freelance writer. Lifestyle designer.
Lidiya K

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