Exciting new research finds that a few fun tricks erase more than 30 years of aging in weeks. Not only that, but they can also foster a sense of happiness and well-being in minutes.
To feel calm, relax like Will and Kate.
The royal equivalent of a “coffee break” is more than just relaxing. One study found that drinking a single cup of tea each day prevented cognitive decline for 86 percent of participants over age 55. Credit goes to unique antioxidants in tea leaves, which scavenge compounds that damage our brain cells. Mood-boosting bonus: Tea contains the amino acid l-theanine, which increases levels of the calming brain chemical serotonin and triggers a unique state of “alert relaxation.”
To feel excited, double your dreams.
Been day dreaming about learning to bake bread or mapping your family tree? Take up both at the same time, and you’ll erase 30 years of brain aging in six weeks, say researchers at the University of California. “Starting two new hobbies at once helps activate more of your brain, leading to stronger neural connections,” says neurologist Jennie Valles, M.D. Tip: Search YouTube for free courses. Mood-boosting bonus: Within a second of trying something new, the brain releases a flood of dopamine, the brain chemical responsible for that “well done!” feeling.
To feel joyful, watch Gilligan’s Island.
A belly laugh gives your short-term memory a major boost! Researchers found that folks performed significantly better on a memory test when they watched funny videos for 20 minutes beforehand due to a 35 percent reduction in the creation of stress hormones. Mood-boosting bonus: Giggling triggers the release of endorphins, which tamp down emotional stress for hours.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.