The brain and mind have long been taken as givens, aspects of ourselves that are so incredibly complex and baffling that to try and improve their health is a futile exercise. Instead, we focus on our diets and personal images in a manner that befits the physical to a far greater degree than the mental. Though such action is indeed important, the sheer lack of attention diverted to such exploits, compared to that given to the brain, is a cause for concern, one that is magnified when recent figures and home truths regarding mental illness are taken into account.
According to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in ten American adults are reporting some form of depression and eleven percent of all U.S citizens over the age of twelve is receiving antidepressant medication. Between 1987 and 2007, two and a half times more people qualified for the Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance, two welfare initiatives that aim to assist those who are stricken by mental disorders and suffer a reduction in income as a result. In 1987 1 in 184 claimed the allowance, in 2007, 1 in 76.
This mental health pandemic; and it should be labelled a pandemic, especially when there has been a thirty-five fold increase in that rate of mental illness in children between 1987 and 2007; is both a pressing current issue and a public health timebomb.
How can we improve our brains, hopefully warding off this tidal wave of depression and mental illness? First off, by training your brain; playing games such as puzzles, crosswords, sudokus, even poker games such as those that can find at Casinos ; and indulging in other activities that test and train your mental acuity, decision-making and abstract reasoning skills, your brain can be exercised much like a bicep is exercised on gym equipment.
Secondly, by doing something you love you can improve your entire brain's outlook. It may sound like an irritable clique, but at a time when Gallup polls indicate that seventy percent of Americans hate their jobs, a key reason for this incredible rise in mental illness is made clear. Depression is one of the key mental illnesses earmarked by medical professionals, and the one that will (and does) create the greatest strain on our health services, society and family.
Finally, be social. See your friends often. Make new friends. To escape age-related mental illnesses such as dementia, the mere act of being around people, talking and spending time together can avert mental degeneration.