New challenges and activities can strengthen your brain. Here are some easy tips to help you get a little smarter every day. Brain training is all the rage these days, often touted as a way to sharpen your mind and even boost intelligence. While many cognitive scientists suggest that the claims surrounding brain training are both exaggerated and misleading, there is an abundance of research suggesting that certain types of activities can be beneficial for your brain’s health.
Way To Strengthen Your Brain
Draw a Map of Your Town From Memory
While you might feel like you can navigate the streets of your neighborhood with your eyes closed, try challenging your brain by actually drawing a map of your town or neighborhood from memory. No cheating! Try to include major streets, major side streets, and local landmarks.
Studies from 2007 suggest that mindfulness meditation can help engage new neural pathways, resulting in improved self-observational skills and increased mental flexibility. One brain exercise you might not have considered might actually be extremely effective – meditation. Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is all the rage at the moment, espoused by positive psychologists, business leaders, and alternative health practitioners.
Try New Hobbies
Experiment with new enterprises that direct your focus and attention in a way that’s new to you. Mastering a new mechanical task—anything from knitting to tennis—develops new territory in your brain. Any new challenge you undertake will create new associations and force your brain to accommodate new information and new routines.
Organs require nourishment—ideally you should strive for a balanced diet, because a brain that’s starving isn’t growing. Even healthy, well-nourished folks can benefit from additional help from time to time, and supplements like ginkgo biloba can help improve your concentration, improve your memory and increase your attention span.
Exercise improves absolutely everything. Not only will you feel better if you get regular exercise, but exercise improves circulation throughout your body, moving protein and nutrients to your brain. Strong body, strong mind!
Get enough sleep.
Like exercise, adequate sleep improves every facet of your life. Operating with a sleep deficit can actually be dangerous, and in fact, studies have demonstrated that sleep deprivation can result in symptoms that mimic intoxication. One technique that can specifically increase your brain activity while you sleep is to eat a small snack before going to sleep—something with a little natural sugar, like a piece of fruit. That snack will keep your brain more active while your body rests up, and that active brain will be growing stronger.
Thinking of your brain as a muscle is actually a great analogy, even if it’s not technically accurate. If you don’t exercise a muscle, it weakens. If you consistently use that muscle in new ways, though—if you stretch it, push it and challenge it, you’ll grow that muscle and make it stronger. That’s exactly the way the brain works.
Challenge your brain in new ways as often as possible, and you’ll be stronger and smarter than you were the day before.