But good news: there are lots of things you can do to give your memory a boost. Along with these exercises, certain lifestyle factors have shown to have a significant impact on how well our brains function. I’d like to take some time today to focus on just three things you may not realize contribute to your overall cognitive function. Read on to learn more about these three things that affect brain health.
What You Eat
It’s true. What you put into your body makes a difference when it comes to brain health. Just as eating a balanced diet is recommended for a healthy body, you should also strive to meet healthy dietary intake if you wish to maintain efficient brain functioning. Along with following general guidelines for a well-balanced diet, there are some specific foods that have been shown to boost memory and improve focus. Blueberries are one such food. They reduce inflammation and slow down the aging effects on the brain. Fatty fish contain the omega-3 fatty acids necessary to build brain cells, leading to an improvement in learning and memory. Dark chocolate is one you may be pleased to know contains a number of good-for-your-brain compounds, including caffeine and special antioxidants known as flavonoids. Caffeine increases alertness, sharpens concentration, and improves mood. Flavonoids boost your memory and hold back cognitive decline. Some other foods to add to your list of brain boosters include broccoli, pumpkin seeds, turmeric, coffee, oranges, nuts, and eggs.
Listen, it’s not like going through narcissistic abuse doesn’t mess with your head all on its own, and one of the complications you deal with in recovery might be a sort of “numbing out” and a retraction from your regular life for a while – especially very early in the narcissistic abuse recovery process. Some of us need to spend a lot of time alone and at times, that will involve a certain amount of “not” using our brains – as in, we may just need to zone out and let ourselves have permission to slow way down at the beginning of our healing journey.
The only problem with that is that the amount of activity to which you subject your mind can heavily influence your brain’s function. The approach is that of the “use it or lose it” philosophy. The more you engage in an activity that engages a particular type of cognitive function, the stronger that function will become. For example, when you exercise your working memory by manipulating information in your mind for a particular time period, you will tend to be able to do these types of activities with increased ease over time. There are a number of benefits to maintaining an active mind. As you engage regularly in activities such as reading, working with brainteasers, engaging in hobbies, and learning new skills, the sharper and more alert you will become, with better recall.
Cognitive decline is to be expected to some extent in everyone. But the extent of the decline can certainly be affected by narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships, as it can with any trauma. This has been the topic of many scientific studies in an attempt to determine ways we can delay the onset of conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. Why is it that some people can remain sharp as a tack well into old age while others begin to suffer memory loss earlier? Researchers have shown that a person’s genes have a heavy influence on these outcomes. There are known genetic markers that are associated with cognitive functioning in aging. The existence and combination of these markers play a significant role in the manner in which an individual’s brain function is maintained with age.
The information I’ve just provided is a mere summary of all that’s known on these topics, but I wanted to share with you some of the key elements that contribute to your overall brain health. While some are out of your control, there are a number of preventative measures you can take to keep your mind sharp.
Here’s a little more insight on specifically how narcissistic abuse affects your brain directly.
Resources to Learn More About Brain Health
- Why You Should Be Concerned About Your Brain Health in Narcissistic Abuse Recovery
- How You Can Rewire Your Brain After Narcissistic Abuse
- Stimulate Your Brain with Sound! (And here’s a way you can save 20% & Experience Enhanced Well-Being with Brain Stimulating CDs – that’s an affiliate link, by the way).
- Take Dr. Daniel Amen’s free Brain Health Assessment to discover your Brain Type and your Brain Fit Score.
- This article from HealthyBrains.org features 6 brain health experts and their best tips for keeping your brain in shape.
Get Help With Narcissistic Abuse Recovery
These resources will help you with your narcissistic abuse recovery.
- Get more resources for survivors of narcissism in relationships right here.
- Join a free narcissistic abuse recovery support group.
- Get personal coaching or counseling for narcissistic abuse recovery.
- Sign up for our free email newsletter service that includes a free guided recovery experience via your inbox.
- Start your narcissistic abuse recovery here with our free narcissistic abuse recovery support system and program.
- Think you might have C-PTSD but you’re not sure? Take our free C-PTSD Self-Assessment.
- Get a therapist who will work with you online, and check out our guide to finding a therapist or psychologist who understands narcissism and narcissistic abuse.
These articles might also be of interest if you’re struggling with narcissistic abuse recovery.
- Secrets and Self-Loathing: Identifying a Covert Narcissist
- Toxic Love: 44 warning signs that you’re being emotionally abused
- Divorcing a narcissist? Drop the tears, think straight, expert says
- The Narcissist’s Soulmate Scam: Identifying a Love Bomber
- Narcissistic Rage and Narcissistic Injury: What You Need to Know
- New Online Support Group for Narcissism Survivors
- Narcissistic Altruism: The Gift That Keeps On Taking
- This is the Only Way to Communicate With a Narcissist Effectively
- Are you married to a narcissist? 12 easy ways to spot
- Get Unstuck After Narcissistic Abuse: Your Personal Passion Plan