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Voice of Experience

Voice of Experience: May 2023

Feeding the Brain

Christine Dauchez


  • Ten recommendations from ChatGPT on how to keep your brain sharp and improve your quality of life during retirement.
Feeding the Brain
Vanessa Nunes via Getty Images

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Who Wants to Live Forever?

With all the recent hype around the ChatGPT conversational bot, I was eager to test drive the new and improved GPT-4. I hesitantly typed in my first question, “How do I keep my brain sharp when I retire?” and held my breath for the big reveal. Scroll to the bottom to see GPT-4’s answer.

GPT-4 delivered its response within seconds, in less time than it took for me to open a new ChatGPT Plus account and submit my query. Computational speed, however, is no substitute for human experience.

Like other technology tools, GPT-4 can help us do more, better, and faster, but will living smarter make us happier? GPT-4 provides a checklist for staying sharp in retirement, but it can’t answer the fundamental question of what will give meaning to our lives. While we busy ourselves pursuing a multitude of activities to engage the mind, let’s also not forget to set an intention and to experience the world with wonder.

Instead of chasing chatbots, I’ll continue writing my own story and living forever today, beguiled by the charm of spring.

GPT-4’s Answer

Keeping your brain sharp during retirement is essential for maintaining cognitive health, overall well-being, and quality of life. Here are some suggestions for keeping your mind active and engaged during retirement:

  1. Stay physically active: Regular exercise is not only good for your body but also for your brain. It helps improve blood flow, releases endorphins, and reduces the risk of age-related cognitive decline.
  2. Mental stimulation: Keep your mind challenged with activities such as puzzles, crosswords, Sudoku, or learning a new skill, like playing a musical instrument or speaking a new language.
  3. Socialize: Maintain and create social connections through activities like joining clubs, volunteering, or participating in community events. Social interactions stimulate the brain and can help stave off feelings of isolation and depression.
  4. Healthy diet: Consume a well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Foods high in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and other essential nutrients help support brain health.
  5. Manage stress: Practice relaxation techniques like meditation, deep breathing, or yoga to reduce stress, which can negatively impact cognitive function.
  6. Get enough sleep: Ensure you are getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night, as sleep is essential for the brain to consolidate memories and repair itself.
  7. Stay curious: Cultivate a curiosity for learning and exploring new things. Read books, attend lectures or workshops, or take online courses on topics that interest you.
  8. Play games: Engage in strategic and challenging games like chess, bridge, or mahjong, which can help maintain cognitive skills and strategic thinking.
  9. Creative outlets: Pursue creative hobbies like painting, writing, or photography to keep the brain engaged and promote self-expression.
  10. Routine healthcare: Regular check-ups and following your healthcare provider's advice can help you maintain overall health and catch any potential issues early on.

By incorporating these practices into your daily life, you can keep your brain sharp and maintain cognitive health during retirement.