Alexander Abramson February 2019

Strength of Mind Tips to Keep Memory Sharp and Improve Cognitive Function

Irish poet Oscar Wilde once called memory “the diary that we all carry about with us.”Of course, in Wilde’s time, the average life expectancy was less than 50 years old. As modern medicine continues to enable people to live longer, these “diaries” tend to become muddled. Fortunately, there are ways to counteract the natural dulling of our memory that comes with time. Just like any other muscle, our brain needs a workout in order to stay strong. As Dr. Celeste Robb-Nicholson of Harvard Medical School writes, “Challenging your brain with mental exercise is believed to activate processes that help maintain individual brain cells.” Activities like solving puzzles, learning a musical instrument, or picking up a new hobby work wonders to keep your mind active and your memory sharp. These mental exercises are especially important after retirement, often to make up for the loss of stimulating challenges that work used to provide. PUZZLE YOURSELF

GET PHYSICAL

SPEND TIME WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY

Taking care of our physical health has also been shown to help brain function. According to a study by Sydney University in Australia, aerobic exercise is particularly good at jogging our memory. The researchers note that “aerobic exercise acts by preventing the usual decrease in neurogenesis associated with aging, thus resulting in greater retention of neural matter — particularly in the hippocampus.” In short, exercises like swimming and running keep the part of our brain responsible for memory from shrinking.

Humans are social creatures. Many studies have shown that being a part of a supportive social group can significantly benefit our physical and mental health. In fact, the American Journal of Public Health reports that people who have daily contact with friends and family cut their risk of dementia and mental impairment almost in half. Our mental diaries may be longer and fuller than they were in Wilde’s day, but if we fill those pages with hobbies, exercise, and close friends, our memories will remain sharp and vivid for the rest of our days.

percent of respondents believed they could rely on the support of their managers and colleagues. The Reason Employees Are Quitting in Droves The numbers paint a disheartening picture of the average workplace. If you’ve been a manager for a long time, it can be difficult to imagine how frustrated an undervalued member of your team can feel and how these feelings can spread throughout your organization, leaving all your employees discontent. It’s imperative to listen and respond to your employees’ concerns. It takes more than instituting an open-door policy and relaxing work requirements — two characteristics of healthy workplaces, as rated by respondents. You need to commit resources to eliminating the problem. Start with the highest-level leaders of your business. Work with them on how to interact with the rest of your team in more human, empathetic, and responsive ways. Training and assessments are a good start, but you may also need to revamp the mentality and core values of your company. In a world where finding a new job is easier than ever, managers cannot afford to ignore the needs of their employees. Evolve and acknowledge the emotions in your workplace or risk losing all that you’ve invested in your top performers.

According to a survey conducted by Randstad, 60 percent of American employees either quit or strongly considered quitting their jobs last year. That’s a number that should terrify any business owner. However, instead of panicking, consider this record-breaking moment in U.S. employment history an invitation to take a long, hard look at your organization. Are members of your team waiting for the perfect moment to bail? And if so, why? It’s not because the majority of employees are ruthless careerists or disloyal money-grubbers. If we look at Mental Health America’s 2018 Workplace Health Survey, it mostly boils down to the fact that over half of American employees feel unappreciated, unsupported, and disrespected by management. In fact, 21 percent of respondents said that instead of being paid what they deserve, they’re nickel-and-dimed when raise season arrives, and 77 percent believed that instead of being lifted up for their accomplishments, employees were forced to toil away in the corner, feeling invisible. Sadly, scarcely more than 34

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