On a daily basis, we run to other rooms of our house with something in our mind. And as soon as we enter the room, we often forget what we went there for. This common occurrence in our lives, making us all curse our short-term memory.
Have you ever ran to the fridge to look for something, and as soon as you open the fridge, have forgotten what you came for and stood there clueless?
Or, have you ever faced a situation where you are in the middle of a conversation, speaking something, and suddenly, you have forgotten what you were saying? Are you one of the users of the phrase “So, what was I saying?”
Believe it or not, these instances of forgetfulness might have to do with a lack of mental Acuity.
What Is Mental Acuity?
Mental acuity or mental sharpness of the mind is a condition in which the mind focuses on the task at hand rather effectively, all thanks to your alertness and good memory. Following are some determinants of Mental Acuity:
- If you can pay attention to the task at hand without any disruptions for prolonged periods, you have a good attention span, which directly determines one’s mental acuity.
- If you have a quick response to stimuli and good situational judgment abilities, you can process outside factors and take quick action accordingly; you have good mental acuity.
- Superior short-term memory storage is one of the major determinants of an individual’s mental acuity and sharpness.
- If you can easily learn new skills and quickly understand and process information, you likely have a good mental acuity.
As must be clear by now, mental acuity directly connects with your brain health. Now you must be wondering what affects it. Let’s have a look.
What Affects Mental Acuity?
Various factors contribute toward mental acuity, for better or worse. Some of these factors are:
1. Genetic Factors
Various genes can affect the sharpness of the mind. You must’ve heard that various diseases such as Dementia and Alzheimer’s can be hereditary within an individual. Diseases that alter a person’s brain performance, as you must’ve understood by now, are directly related to their mental acuity.
2. Environmental Factors
Environmental factors can also directly affect one’s mental sharpness. Numerous studies have shown that people who do not get access to clean air, water, and direct sunlight have much more chances of cognitive decline over the years.
The amount of clean air, water, and sunlight one can receive their brain health as well.
3. Lifestyle Factors.
You must’ve heard that a healthy lifestyle leads to a healthy mind. Turns out this statement is medically proven now. Adopting healthy eating habits, physical fitness, and reading and writing can improve cognitive health.
4. Sleep Cycle
You work hard all day, and your body needs proper rest. If you’re a workaholic, it is common to treat prioritize work over sleep. However, you need to stop. Various studies have shown that sleep deprivation and other sleeping habits can affect your brain’s performance and mental acuity over time.
Mental acuity can also be affected by uncommon or unforeseen factors, such as a traumatic brain injury or an accident. The impact can disturb brain functions or, in worst cases, brain structure, resulting in mild cognitive impairment or extreme reduction in cognitive functions in worst cases.
6. Circadian Rhythm
Circadian rhythm, as you must’ve heard, refers to the 24-hour cycle of your body. It is the timeline or the routine according to which the internal clock of your body works. It is, thus, directly related to your sleeping and waking cycle.
Often disturbances in the circadian rhythm can cause various problems, including chronic stress and poor mental health, thus, directly affecting your brain’s performance.
7. Blood Circulation
The brain, being the controller of the body, needs a healthy blood flow to function properly. Problems relating to blood circulation, such as Blood Pressure and Diabetes, can affect mental sharpness.
Consumption of various drugs, for medical or non-medical reasons, can affect the functioning of your brain. Over time, they can show negative effects on your mental acuity.
9. Hearing Loss
During Research by Johns Hopkins University, scientists found an uncommon connection. After six-year-long research, patients aged between 75-85 who suffered a loss of hearing were also observed to face a mental decline, leading to Dementia.
It was found that loss of hearing can affect mental acuity in three possible ways:
1. As the individual had to fill in the gaps of what they couldn’t hear can strain their brain.
2. Quick shrinking of the ageing brain due to the loss.
3. Less social interaction directly, resulting in less intellectual stimulation.
10. Age Factor
Age-related mental decline is a rather common phenomenon observed around the globe. Deterioration of brain cells, without a doubt, can affect an individual’s cognitive function, resulting in reduced mental performance. Therefore, older adults are more prone to lower mental acuity.
What can be the Results of Lower Mental Acuity?
As you must’ve known, mental acuity is a factor that should not be ignored. It ensures our bodies’ overall wellness and helps us lead happy life. But have you ever wondered what can result from poor mental acuity?
- In worst cases, it can lead to problems related to memory loss, leading to conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, Mild Cognitive impairment, and Amnesia.
- It can also lead to poor mental health due to low productivity and motivation. This can lead to problems like Depression, Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, and Social Phobia.
- Limited brain plasticity can result in slow recovery from brain injuries, resulting in problems like Dyslexia, Schizophrenia, and Cognitive decline.
Apart from these problems, poor focus, concentration, and response to stimuli can affect an individual’s daily life for the worse. Lack of focus and concentration prevents one from being productive and efficient. This can stop you from living the successful and happy life you have always dreamed of. Lack of quick response to stimuli can affect your physical fitness as a delayed interpretation of harmful outside factors can put you in danger.
If found in children, these problems can affect their future. Poor focus and attention span can make it hard for them to learn, making it difficult to complete basic tasks such as reading and writing. It can also have detrimental effects on the child’s sleep cycle since such problems are directly related to stress, inevitably leading to disturbed circadian rhythms.
Therefore, if a person’s mental acuity is poor, it can affect their short-term and long-term lives. It can cause problems that are hard to deal with if early precautions or attention is not provided.
How to Boost Brain Health: 6 Lifestyle Practices to Promote Mental Acuity
First and foremost, adopting a healthy lifestyle can improve your brain’s ability. As you must’ve heard, a healthy mind resides in a healthy body. Thus, paying attention to lifestyle factors is one of the most important actions to increase your brain ability. This can be done by:
1. Eating Right
Eating the right kind of food becomes necessary to main your mental and physical wellness. After all, your body thrives on nutrition. Inculcating more natural ingredients in your diet: fruits and vegetables with a decrease in greasy food intake can show immediate results.
2. Physical Activity
It is important to understand that our body needs to be physically active to thrive. In today’s world, the use of technology has affected our physical fitness to a great extent. Since everything is online, one click away, it’s like we’ve forgotten to be physically active.
Our brain has various parts, and each part, as you must know, is responsible for a different action. Now, if we overload one part and leave the other unused, it is bound to affect the system, weakening the overloaded part. Thus, remember to move around, play outdoors or go for regular walks if you want better mental acuity!
3. Healthy Environment
As mentioned earlier, a healthy environment results in a healthy body and mind. Thus, it is important to promote cleanliness around you. External factors like clean water, air, and exposure to a healthy amount of sunlight daily are necessary to maintain mental acuity.
4. Regular Exercise
Regular exercise promotes blood circulation, healthy heart rate, and physical fitness within an individual, resulting in a healthy body, which is necessary for having a healthy mind. It is not mandatory to hit the gym every day: you can practice yoga, stretching, or just walking, but make sure to exercise every day.
5. Maintaining Circadian Rhythms
If your routine is commonly disturbed, it can affect your mental well-being. Your body has its internal clock, which should not be disturbed too often.
Circadian rhythm refers to the daily routine your body adapts. It is influenced by physical, mental, and behavioral changes you face daily. This can be practiced by maintaining good sleep habits by limiting exposure to blue light and screens (including both time and frequency), and taking timely meals.
6. Avoiding Consumption of Drugs
As mentioned earlier, prescription and illegal drugs can affect your mental acuity. Thus, it is better to avoid them altogether, which can be done by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Why would you need drugs to stay healthy if you take nutrition from your diet?
Brain’s Fitness is Also Necessary: 5 Exercises to Improve Mental Acuity
Mental exercise boosts your brain’s performance, including factors of concentration, focus, and judgment power, by performing tasks that challenge the brain. This can include performing tasks or trying to focus the brain. It includes activities such as:
As pointed out by various medical practitioners, meditation is one of the healthiest actions for your mind. It promotes clarity and allows you to process information and thoughts calmly.
Process: Sit down in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and try to focus on your breathing. Remember to let the thoughts come into your mind. You might notice that your mind will be calm after a few minutes, allowing you to feel a new level of comfort.
Time and Frequency: At least 10 minutes a day.
Health Benefits: Mental health, focus, mental clarity, improving mental acuity, and increased cognitive performance.
If you’re experiencing a lack of focus and want to start working within a few minutes, you can try solving puzzles, as these are known to improve your focus quickly. As explained by a neurology expert, whether it is sudoku, crossword, or jigsaw, puzzles can help you activate various cognitive functions simultaneously.
Time and Frequency: At least 15 minutes a day.
Health Benefits include improved mental acuity, focus, and cognitive performance.
Music is known to affect your brain chemically, helping it produce required chemicals, such as dopamine (known for inducing feelings of pleasure and motivation). Music is also known to keep your brain more focused, distracting it from registering feelings of fatigue and tiredness. Thus, make sure to dance around to some music to feel motivated! ‘
Time and Frequency: 78 minutes a day, according to research by Deezer.
Benefits: Physical and mental well-being, increased dopamine levels, controlling anger, relaxation, and better concentration.
Another exercise you can do to increase your focus and general mental acuity is to put your brain on a memorization test. Memorization increases your brain’s plasticity. Brain Plasticity or neuroplasticity is the ability to change or rewire the brain based on the activity. It helps in recovering from brain injuries and promotes learning.
Process: Make a list of words or object you see around yourself and try to memorize them in the same order. After 5 minutes, try to make the same ordered list again based on your memory.
Benefits: Promotes Brain Plasticity, greater memory storage, better mental acuity, improved focus, and better learning.
5. Learn a New Skill or a Language
Learning a new skill or a language allows your mind to work in a new and more innovative way. It can result in better brain function and prevent cognitive decline.
Benefits: Prevents conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia, better visualization powers, increased socializing skills, better brain connectivity, improved focus, and better mental acuity.
Improve your Brain’s Abilities: 4 Alternative Techniques that Support Mental Acuity
Apart from exercises, alternative techniques can also be undertaken to boost your mental acuity. These are some of the methods:
Chromotherapy, also known as color therapy, is based upon the idea that exposure to various colored lights can affect an individual’s neurohormonal pathways, mainly serotonin and melatonin.
The blue color is mainly understood as a booster of productivity and intellectual capabilities.
Acupressure is a practice that is gaining popularity day by day. During acupressure, physical pressure is applied to various acupoints throughout the body; most acupoints are in the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet. Applying an external pressure to them promotes the flow of “life energy” in your body, leading to a better mental state and general health.
Ayurveda is a form of alternative medicine based upon the consumption of historical and medicinal roots to promote the well-being of an individual. It uses environmental means to prevent and treat illnesses and boost mental and physical fitness. It is mainly practiced in India and Nepal.
Ayurvedic herbs such as Ashwagandha, Turmeric, Brahmi, and Shankhpuspi improve mental acuity and general brain health.
Hence, Mental acuity, or the sharpness of the mind, is an essential factor that should not be ignored at any cost. It is affected by various factors but is dominated by environmental and lifestyle factors.
To boost your performance, various methods can be adopted. The most important factors are maintaining a healthy lifestyle and regular exercise. Apart from these, alternative techniques and mental exercises can also help to improve mental sharpness.
Signs of low mental acuity, such as low attention span, lack of focus, and slow information processing, are not to be ignored as they can lead to more problematic situations and diseases later in life. These factors, after all, are directly linked to your success and well-being.
We hope you pay attention to these factors and take immediate measures for your wellness. Remember, a healthy body and mind are the most important elements for happiness and well-being!
Do you have any experiences relating to mental acuity? Have you tried any methods mentioned above or techniques that have helped boost it? Let us know in the comment section and share to make everyone aware!