Easy Brain Exercises That Help Keep Your Mind Sharp at Any Age
There is a huge focus on physical fitness and the need for us to exercise our bodies to keep us in good shape – too true. But similarly we have another “thing” that needs to be exercised to keep it in shape and that is the Brain – we tend to overlook this. The need for Brain Exercises is not necessarily age related either (-:
You may have read or heard it said that we don't use as much of the brains capacity as we should – and there are many examples out there of people who have focussed on improving the capability of their brains. One that is really impressive is the people who have trained their brains to increase its memory power. Like being introduced to 200 people in a lecture theater one by one and then being able to recite back the names row by row. This is not some natural talent, this is a learned ability.
So just like muscles or joints need to be exercised our brain needs to be exercised on a regular basis.
Some of you may think that this post is for old fogies, people with much larger numbers in their age than you have. This is not the case, however. We all get into routines whatever our age, and we need to stimulate our brain by getting outside our comfort zone – which could be called our routine zone.
As technology has developed the need to remember things has reduced. Mobile phones now have a heap of information that we used to have in our memory banks, and Google has vast amounts of information at our finger tips, so the part of our brain that remembered this information is not used as regularly now.
It is very common for all of us to be a little forgetful. We have a tendency to forget daily occurrences like grabbing the car keys, picking up a file, or remembering someone’s name. We can be a bit lazy sometimes when it comes to remembering things but often we are not forgetting things deliberately. No, as we get older, we tend to lose some of this gray matter that makes up the brain.
So do you want to keep your mind in shape for longer? This article has 10 tips that will help!
The Bright Side team who wrote this article have always loved bringing you tips and tricks for a happier and healthier you. The following compilation of tips is another page that deserves to be bookmarked.
Use Your Non-Dominant Hand.
If you are a right handed person try using your left hand for eating, writing, picking things up etc. It might sound difficult or awkward at first but with practice you can do a minimum of daily tasks this way
The idea is to use your non-active side of the brain. This will help in fastening the expansion of the parts of the cortex that are responsible for processing tactile information from the hand.
Do Some Of Your Daily Chores With Your Eyes Closed.
What types of things do you do everyday without even thinking about it? How many steps do you take to walk downstairs? Or how many plates are there in your kitchen cabinet? There is a reason why we don’t recall these answers right away. We often do our regular, daily tasks inattentively.
This is why it’s advised that we do some of our regular tasks with our eyes closed. This includes showering, going from one room to another, and more. You’ll touch an object and will then send signals to your brain about the object you’re feeling.
Changing About Your Morning Activities.
We all generally have a set routine starting right from the moment we wake up. However, change or originality is the key to a sharper brain. It is important that you give you brain the “newness” of a fresh routine to keep it active and alert.
It isn’t about doing complicated things, it's about simply changing your daily schedule. For instance, get dressed after having breakfast for a change, take a new jogging route, or even watch a different TV channel instead of the news channel.
Look At Daily Objects Upside Down Or Backward.
You’ve always looked at things in the manner of which they’re supposed to be seen. But have you ever wondered why a kid may hold a TV remote upside down or start pointing at various shapes and colors on it? What if we all did the same?
Not only can you do this with a TV remote, but try putting things like your family photo on your desk, the clock or a calendar on a different wall; or wear your watch upside down. These are brain exercise because, whenever you’ll look at these things, your brain will focus on them to interpret it, thus increasing its alertness.
Play With Spare Coins.
Have you ever seen braille? It’s a way for the blind to read and it’s hard to see by people who have good vision. By touching it however, you come to know how blind people can read from it. They touch and feel and can interpret the letters printed on it. Therefore, instead of using their sense of sight, they ask their brain to read those letters for them.
The idea is to follow the same method to activate our brain cells. Here's a brain exercise for you: Simply put some coins in a drinking glass in your car. Now, at every red light when you stop your car, put your hand in that glass, and every day, without looking at them, try recognizing the denomination of the coins.
Experiment With Different Foods.
If you are among those who always order the same cuisine or the same dish every time you go out to eat, it’s time for a change. There is a reason behind this. Trying a new dish will ask your brain to smell the new food and send signals to the nose to activate its receptors. This new odor will also give your brain new sensations and feelings. You might also associate some smells with certain things.
Not only should you try this at restaurants, but try experimenting with your daily dishes at home too. Use a different condiment or a new ingredient in one of your favorite meals.
Reading aloud is not always possible. But whenever it is, you must try it. It might take a few minutes longer than usual to finish that read, but it’s totally worth it. In one of the demonstrations brain imaging where area of brain activity can be identified, 3 areas of the brain lit up whenever words were spoken aloud from a book.
Listening to audio books has the equivalent effect on the brain. By reading aloud, we tend to use different circuits of our brain simultaneously.
Get Used To Mnemonic Devices.
What is a Mnemonic device? It’s a creative way to remember lists. Do you remember the phrase to learn planets of our solar system, “My Very Excellent Mother Just Served us Us Nacho's”? The first letter of each word is the first letter of the corresponding planet (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune).
You may also find mnemonic devices helpful today as an adult. This method sharpens your key brain areas and increases your memory too.
Feed Your Brain.
By saying, “feed your brain”, we mean eating foods that are known to increase brain functionality i.e.”Brain Food” . It is essential to include a decent amount of vitamins and “Good” fats to nourish your brain. The Keto diet is good for this.
Good fats are the ones called Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids or PUFA's for short and are found in fish oil as well as other foods that are known to increase brain power such as walnuts, coconut oil, turmeric, blueberries, eggs, broccoli, and avocado.
Go out, talk to people and help prevent your brain from getting dull. Whenever you get into conversations with people, your brain starts getting pumped up to send and receive information. Interacting with people who are not like you has an even greater benefit, as the brain gets ready to receive new ideas and thoughts through this.
If you are socially deprived, chances are it may be affecting your overall cognitive ability. Simply try to interact with human salespeople and avoid going to a vending machine. Don’t just swipe your credit card and leave. Instead, stay and pay the cashier at the front desk and chat with them. If ringing a business, always ask the person on the other end of the phone how their day is going – simple interaction.
It is said that because we all have routines for things that we undertake on a regular basis, we develop “tracks” in our brains. You will have heard the term “second nature” which refers to these tracks. I guess you could call this type of routine activity a habit.
They say that to break a habit you need to do something differently for 21 days. I don't know the significance of the 21 days but I do know personally that two out three of my friends were able to give up smoking using this method. For 21 days or so they didn't think about giving up smoking but just repeated that they weren't going to smoke for 21 days. It might not have been plain sailing but they broke the habit. They altered the “track”.
So it is a good practice to undertake some of the tips above to give your brain exercises or fresh challenges.
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