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How To Keep Your Brain Young | CrunchyTales

6 Strategies to Maintain a Brilliant Mind as You Grow Older 

3 min read

Our brain is like a superhero, tirelessly working behind the scenes to power every aspect of our lives. One of the body’s most complex organs, it’s responsible for our ability to think, learn, remember, and make decisions. It shapes our mood, emotions, and how we interact with the world around us, influencing our overall well-being. 

As we age, however, the challenges to maintaining its well-being become more pronounced. The key to a healthy brain is keeping it stimulated and nurturing it to live longer and better, with clarity, vitality, and purpose at every stage of our journey. 

When menopause changes the brain

You might be familiar with hot flashes, insomnia and anxiety typical of menopause. But did you know that it can affect our brain, too?

Hormonal shifts can throw our cognitive equilibrium off balance, leaving us grappling with memory lapses and mental fog. Add to that the daily grind of stress—whether it’s juggling career demands, family responsibilities, or both—and it’s no wonder our brains sometimes feel like they’re running on empty.  

These lifestyle factors, coupled with the natural ageing process, can contribute to concerns about cognitive decline and mental fatigue, leaving midlife women feeling like they’re constantly playing catch-up with their own minds. 

We associate menopause with the ovaries, but when women say that they’re having hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, memory lapses, depression, anxiety, those symptoms don’t start in the ovaries,” explains Lisa Mosconi, Ph.D., director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Program and the Women’s Brain Initiative at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian. “They start in the brain. Those are neurological symptoms. We’re just not used to thinking about them as such.

It’s a delicate balancing act, but with awareness and proactive steps, we can navigate these challenges and emerge with our mental faculties intact, ready to embrace the wisdom and vitality that come with this stage of life. 

Boosting your brain health

Engaging in activities that challenge your brain can create new connections between nerve cells and potentially promote the growth of new brain cells, enhancing brain plasticity and establishing a reserve that may protect against future cell damage. That’s why is important to keep your mind active to support brain health.

The Global Council on Brain Health convened by The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) has identified six essential pillars for nurturing cognitive vitality, particularly for midlife women. 

Here’s your guide to unlocking your brain’s superhero potential.   

  1. Eat Right
    Delving into dietary choices unveils pathways to optimal brain health. The research underscores the merits of adopting a Mediterranean diet, emphasizing vibrant, plant-based foods while limiting processed and high-saturated fat options.
  2. Get Restorative Sleep
    Dispelling myths surrounding ageing and sleep, the research underscores the critical importance of quality slumber in preserving cognitive function. Studies spanning decades reveal a compelling link between poor sleep and increased dementia risk. Prioritizing restorative sleep isn’t just a luxury—it’s considered a cornerstone of brain health, facilitating the clearance of toxins, as well as bolstering cognitive resilience (7-8 hours minimum/night is recommended).
  3. Exercise Regularly
    Staying active is key to keeping your brain healthy. Whether it’s taking walks or dancing around your living room, exercise boosts not only those feel-good endorphins but also provides a big boost to our brain’s health. It helps you think better, feel happier, and reduce stress.
  4. Be Social
    Nurturing meaningful connections proves paramount for our cognitive well-being. Loneliness, akin to smoking 15 cigarettes daily, poses a significant risk factor for dementia. Strengthening social ties isn’t just enjoyable—it also enhances our cognitive performance and bolsters overall well-being.
  5. Manage Stress
    Cultivating effective stress management strategies becomes imperative in a world brimming with stressors. Chronic stress, a silent assailant, inflicts insidious damage on the brain, precipitating cognitive decline and exacerbating inflammation. Prioritizing stress relief, whether through exercise, socialization, or mindfulness practices, becomes as essential as brushing our teeth to preserve our cognitive vitality.
  6. Engage Your Brain
    Like a muscle, the brain thrives on stimulation and novelty. Engaging in activities that challenge the mind, from learning new skills to exploring creative pursuits, fosters cognitive resilience and fortifies against age-related decline. Downloading game apps to challenge your skills against a time clock might be a step to consider, too. For instance, The Food for the Brain Foundation has a free online “Cognitive Functioning Test” that allows you to take a 20-minute test and will measure your cognitive functioning. Additionally, if you register, you automatically will be sent a test annually to keep ongoing measures of your cognitive abilities.
SEE ALSO:  How To Prep Your Legs (and Feet) for Spring After 50

The Takeaway

Don’t let your mind get rusty. The thing about rust is that it’s insidious—it can very quickly take over if you let it. Keep levelling up. By embracing continuous learning and staying mentally active, midlife women can cultivate cognitive reserves, equipping themselves for the journey ahead.  

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About The Author

Brenda Ackerman | The Ageing Mentor

Brenda Ackerman | The Ageing Mentor

Brenda Ackerman is a passionate advocate for empowering women in their mid-life journeys. She believes that every woman has the potential to shape her financial destiny. As the author of “Aging Sucks… But You’re Gonna Love It!“ Brenda’s insights offer a blend of expertise and relatability, guiding women towards embracing their financial power and creating a secure and fulfilling future.

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