7 Daily Habits That Are Actually Prematurely Aging Your Brain

Change your routine to keep your brain fit.

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It’s normal for our minds and bodies to change as we get older. Some of these changes are due to genetics, yet some are influenced by our environment and the ways we spend our time.

Good brain health is attributed to how well the brain functions in certain areas, including cognitive function, which relates to memory, and emotional function, defined by how we respond to both positive and negative emotions. 


No matter where you are in life, there are ways to tend to your mind, body, and soul that benefit your well-being and keep your brain young.

Here are 7 daily habits that prematurely age your brain:

1. You don’t get enough social interaction

A 2019 journal article published by Frontiers in Medicine established that our brain health depends on social interaction.

The less socially active a person is, the more gray matter they lose, which is the outer layer of the brain that processes information. 



RELATED: 6 Tiny Ways To Emotionally Regulate Yourself, According To Neuroscience


Loneliness can be detrimental to our mood and our brain function. There’s a proven link between experiencing depression and being at risk for dementia. 

People who maintain strong ties to their communities have better brain health. Feeling connected to friends and loved ones is crucial to keeping our brains in the best shape possible.

Being social literally changes our brains, creating new pathways between brain cells and helping our brains stay active. 

7 Daily Habits That Are Actually Prematurely Aging Your Brain Photo: Anna Shvets/ Pexels 


It might seem scary to reach out to someone, especially if you haven’t talked for a while. Stepping outside of your comfort zone and letting a friend know you’re thinking of them can spark conversation and reestablish your connection.

Being the one to text first might make you feel vulnerable, but it’s a brave and powerful way to boost your mood and keep your brain sharp.

2. You’re stuck in the same routine

Humans are creatures of habit. Most days, we stick to the same schedule: We wake up, do our work, then spend a few hours in the evening having dinner and decompressing. We spend hours scrolling through our phones, which can leave us low and uninspired. 

Learning new skills helps our brains stay young. Education inspires creativity, stretching our foundations of knowledge and enhancing our overall cognition. 


7 Daily Habits That Are Actually Prematurely Aging Your BrainPhoto: geralt / Canva Pro

When we learn something new, our brain cells form new connections. Brain plasticity remains present as we age, which means our brains stay open to learning, no matter how old we are. 

Engaging in mentally stimulating exercises is essential to keeping our brains sharp, clear, and youthful. 


These activities can be as simple as doing a crossword puzzle with your morning coffee, or you can get even more involved and intentional. Teach yourself a language you don’t already speak. Learn to play an instrument, paint with watercolors, or play a new game. 

3. You’re chronically stressed

We hold stress and anxiety deep in our bodies, from having tense shoulders to feeling knots in our stomachs. The mind-body connection inexorably links how we feel physically and mentally.

Feeling stressed directly influences brain health. Chronic stress can kill brain cells and shrink the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that’s responsible for memory and learning. 

Exposure to high levels of cortisone, a stress hormone, affects our mental well-being through each stage of our lives, from gestation, infancy, and childhood into adulthood. 


Being less stressed is much easier said than done, yet there are small ways you can manage stress and anxiety


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Practicing breathwork, journaling about your anxieties, and giving yourself permission to rest are all tactics to help ease whatever internal tension you’re carrying.


4. You don’t eat a balanced diet

The way we eat influences our brain health over the course of our lives.

Having a fully balanced diet isn’t always easy, yet integrating brain foods into your mealtime routine can keep you functioning at peak performance levels.

Limiting your intake of red meat, sugars, and refined grains is one pathway to better brain health.

Eating food that’s rich in Omega-3 fatty acids can increase memory, learning, and blood flow within the brain. Olive oil, nuts, leafy greens, and fish can give you a serious brain boost, as can soybeans, butternut squash, and flaxseed.

7 Daily Habits That Are Actually Prematurely Aging Your Brain Photo: fauxels / Pexels 


5. You’re not getting good sleep

The average adult needs between 7 and 8 hours of sleep a night to feel rested and ready to take on the day, yet few of us actually get the sleep we need. Not getting enough sleep can cause declines in memory, problem-solving ability, and reasoning skills.  

In addition to not sleeping long enough, the quality of the sleep we get can seriously impact our brain health. Fragmented sleep puts our brains at risk, making it hard to concentrate and remember important information. 

The more time we spend stuck in a disrupted sleep pattern, the more likely it is for our brains to age prematurely. In the long term, poor-quality sleep can increase our risk for dementia, as well. 

Sleeping clears out Beta-amyloid, a harmful protein that appears in the brains of people who have Alzheimer’s.  


While it might be unrealistic to expect a full 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night, there are certain sleep hygiene techniques you can implement to get higher-quality rest.



Rudolph Tanzi, the director of the Genetics and Aging Research Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, suggests giving yourself time to unwind before falling asleep.

He told Harvard Health, "Make yourself go to bed an hour earlier than usual. This will help cut down on late nights and give your brain and body extra time to get enough sleep." Tanzi also advises against screen time at night, as it can overstimulate your brain.  


6. You’re not moving your body

According to the CDC, the average adult sits for six and a half hours a day, which wreaks havoc on our bodies and brains. 

Sitting for long periods of time changes the part of the brain that’s responsible for memory.

Moving our bodies, even a little bit each day, increases blood flow and growth hormones in the brain while lowering our stress. Your workouts don’t have to be high-intensity to create positive changes in brain health.

7 Daily Habits That Are Prematurely Aging Your BrainPhoto: Synergicworks / Canva Pro


So, stand up and stretch it out. Your body and your brain will thank you.

7. You don’t make time for fun

Our brain health is tied to our happiness, our sense of well-being, and how much fun we’re having. Engaging in activities just for fun lowers our risk of developing dementia. 

Taking yourself too seriously makes your stress levels skyrocket, which we already know is bad for brain health. Having fun keeps your mind young and fit.

Carve out time in your schedule to do something that brings you pure, unbridled joy — Both you and your brain are worth it.

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers social issues, pop culture, and all things to do with the entertainment industry.