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7 Ways to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Keep your mind sharp and your brain healthy
by taking risks and trying something new

Man prepares to dive

— Soren Hald /Cultura /Aurora Open

En español | If you're over 50, you probably know that exercising and eating right will keep your brain healthy and your mind sharp. But there's more you can do than just jump on the Sudoku or crossword puzzle bandwagon. One of the best ways to prevent cognitive decline is to free ourselves from mind-numbing ruts and routines and embark on pleasurable new adventures.

In his to-do list for maintaining a healthy brain, neuroscientist and best-selling author Dr. Daniel Amen emphasizes the importance of making time for wonderful experiences, with some excitement and stimulation along the way. Here are some strategies for getting started.

1. Set your intention and be prepared to take some risks. There's no way around it. Breaking habitual patterns involves risk-taking, which, though sometimes scary, is part of the fun. As Will Rogers put it, "You've got to go out on a limb sometimes, because that's where the fruit is." If you're risk-averse but yearn to add some zest to your life, start small. Invite a potential new friend to lunch. Surprise a loved one (this could be yourself) with a spontaneous weekend excursion to a place you've never been. Change doesn't need to be earthshaking to wake you up.

Next: Put the iPhone away. >>

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