10 ways to “Train Your Brain”
Summer’s here and words like “keto” and “gluten-free” are trending in helping get that perfect beach body. However, little do people know that along with the body, the brain also needs to “get ripped”!
Let’s take a simple test: Have you ever entered a room and forgotten what you were looking for? Ever typed a text and forgotten to hit “send”? Do you find it hard to remember names, numbers and directions? Do you find yourself spending hours looking for your car keys before realizing that you don’t even own a car?
If the answer to any of these questions is “yes”, then keep reading!
Research shows that lack of brain activity may lead to decline in mental health and consequently, may increase chances of developing cognitive conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s the older you become.
The solution? Regular brain exercises!
These are just some ways they can benefit us:
- Help reduce stress levels
- Can boost confidence
- Have shown to improve one’s mood
- Help enhance memory
- Believe it or not, they also help sharpen hearing and vision!
Let’s go over some of these brain stimulating exercises:
- Unleash your brain’s inner smartphone:
The best brain exercise is realizing that it is the world’s most accessible smartphone, inbuilt in everyone! Ditch the comfort of your hand held device every once in a while. Use your brain as a convertor, calculator, phonebook and lots more! Surprise your friends by memorizing their phone numbers. These can really help enhance cognitive strengths.
- Learn something new:
Whether it’s a new musical instrument or a new language, science has shown that grasping and making use of newly learnt skills substantially adds to brain power.
- Challenge yourself:
The brain’s greatest strength, is also its greatest weakness – adaptation! Do the same thing a number of times, and you stop learning from it. Used to using a spoon? Try chopsticks instead. Used to listening to music on your way to work? Time to hit some Sudoku. Do something new every day, and ensure your brain never gets into a rut.
There’s only so much you can learn from your brain because it becomes a giant echo chamber. Get out there, share your experiences, learn from people and challenge your perspective.
- Meditate - Let the light of the heart engulf you!
Active rest is extremely important for the brain, as it manages symptoms of mental health and greatly improves clarity of thought. This works better when done at the crack of dawn!
- Feel with all of your senses!
In order to correctly memorize the details of an experience, it is important to truly “feel” the experience using all of your senses. For example: when you’re strolling around in a park, make sure you inhale the lovely aroma of the flowers and herbs, see and absorb the beautiful hues of the plants, insects and animals, touch the moist grass and hear the chirping of the birds while you taste the crispness of the oxygenated air on your tongue. Research has shown that feeling with all senses, greatly improves the chances of recollecting experiences. Thus remaining engrained in one’s memory for longer periods of time. .
- Press the “snooze” button!
Yes its true, a brain workout is the only one where sleep is an exercise. If that doesn’t convince you, nothing else will, so get started on it today! Sleeping often gives enough time for the body and mind to rest. Don’t we all need to rest after a long day at work? Well, so does the brain. Few hours of zero thoughts and worries, can really rejuvenate the brain and helping function more effectively the next day.
- Food for thought:
Like every other health area, brain health is also affected by what we eat. Some foods like broccoli, spinach, green tea, walnuts, coconut oil and turmeric motivate the brain cells to work better. On the other hand, there are foods like alcohol, ice cream, frozen pies and diet sodas that can negatively impact cognitive function. French fries have actually shown to eventually cause a decline in impactful thinking. How unfortunate!
- “To travel is to live”:
Unfamiliar sounds, sights and experiences, can surprise the brain and train it to adapt to changes in lifestyle. Take a chance and crawl out of that comfort zone, whether it’s quarterly or even annually. Trying different types of cuisines, meeting people from different cultures and allowing the mind to react to varied opinions, really charges up one’s thought process.
- The last piece of the puzzle:
No article on brain exercises can ever be complete without some “mind boggling” riddles, puzzles or games. Get together with your gang and open up one of those incredible board games like Battleship, Monopoly or Settlers of Catan. Puzzles can be challenging mathematically, logically and even literally. Some of our favorites include the daily newspaper crosswords, brain teasers and optical illusions.
Challenge yourself with some of these interesting Brain Teasers:
1) Jimmy’s mother had 4 children. She named the first born Monday, the second born Tuesday and the third one Wednesday. What is the name of the fourth child?
2) I left my campsite and hiked south for 3 miles. Then I turned east and hiked for 3 miles. Then turned north and hiked for 3 miles. At this time, I came across a bear inside my tent eating my food! What color was the bear?
3) What words are pronounced differently by merely capitalizing the first letter?
4) You are driving a bus. At the first stop, 2 women get on. The second stop, 3 men get on and 1 woman gets off. Third stop, 3 kids and their mom get on and a man gets off. The bus is grey and it’s raining outside. What color is the bus driver’s hair?
5) A man is looking at a photograph of someone. His friend asks who it is. The man replies: “Brothers and sisters. I have none but that man’s father is my father’s son.” Who was in the photograph?
Do you think you have what it takes to answer these teasers?Leave a comment for us below and we’ll give you the answer!