The brain is like any other muscle in the body. When you use it, it will make you feel good. Understanding is joyous.
The human brain is an incredible pattern-making machine. It is a complex organ that manages your thoughts, motor skills, memory, touch, emotion, breathing, body temperature, vision, hunger, and other functions needed to regulate the body. Your brain need exercises too to strengthen it, just as how you do for your body.
Brain health is a critical part of your overall health. It controls your problem-solving skills and your ability to communicate and make proper decisions, which are all essential in order to live a more productive and purposeful life.
As people age, the brain naturally changes, too. Thus, affecting focus, learning, memory, and cognitive function. Some old people still have sharper memory and focus, but others show signs of brain disorders at an earlier age.
The key to sharper and stronger brain is brain exercises. And here are 10 powerful ways to do it:
1. Solve in jigsaw and crossword puzzles
Jigsaw and crossword puzzles are brain games that help improve your mental speed and fortify the connection between your brain cells.
Playing these mind games can also be an effective way to enhance your short-term memory and to slow down brain aging effects.
Puzzles are also a great way to boost the dopamine production — a chemical that regulates memory, focus, concentration, and mood. They might bore you at first, but you’ll eventually love the challenge later on.
2. Build your vocabulary
Building your vocabulary is another effective way to improve your intelligence and make your brain sharper.
Make it a habit that if you encounter an unfamiliar word, research its meaning and try to use it in a sentence next time.
You can also learn a new language. Aside from the fact that speaking more than one language is impressive, it can help with your listening, multitasking, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.
3. Learn a new skill
Aside from learning a new language, try to learn new skills that will benefit your mind and body in the future. Every time you learn something new, your knowledge expands and your brain improves.
Learning a new skill positively changes the structure of your brain, which also helps improve cognitive function.
Aside from that, studying new skills will increase your speed-learning skills, will assist you to adapt to changes better, and will help stave off dementia.
4. Teach a new skill to someone
Learning is good, but teaching others to learn is even better.
Teaching others provides better social and communication skills, as well as improved leadership ability and increased confidence.
When you teach a new skill to someone, you’re helping them improved to be a better person, which can also bring beneficial effects to their brain health. And you’re not just helping them, because you’re also helping yourself, since you’re learning from others, too. You get to know their behaviors, attitude, and how they try to learn something new.
5. Try activities that involves all of your senses
Activating all your senses in one activity is a great brain workout, and food is the key!
Baking, cooking, or eating in a new restaurant activates your sense of sight, hearing, tasting, touching, and smelling all at the same time.
Hiking and scavenger hunt are good examples to try, too.
6. Make simple changes
Small and steady changes in your routine can have a big impact on your life and health. If the old routine seems too tiring for you, try creating a new routine even if you think you won’t like it.
Hate writing? Buy a good journal and pen and start writing.
Not a morning person? Commit to waking up early and have a prepared morning routine to start your day right.
You’ll never know what you really like unless you try it. Give chances to small changes and notice how your brain benefits from the new routine.
7. Listen to music
Music is the life of every party. It serves the same purpose to your brain, too.
Singing or dancing is a great total brain workout. It provides plenty of health benefits like improved mood, reduced anxiety, and mental alertness.
Music activates different regions of the brain, which boosts creativity, energy, memory, and cognitive function. So sing and dance your heart out!
Daily mindfulness exercises like meditation can help you find peace even in distress situations and help you make better decisions. This improves and sharpens the area of your brain where the decision-making region is connected.
Meditation also increases concentration and awareness, as well as boosts your memory and mental clarity.
9. Try using your non-dominant hand
This can be the most challenging part of all the previously mentioned tips here. But that serves a good purpose for your brain too, right?
Using your non-dominant hand helps strengthen your mind and concentration. Since it is challenging, it’s an excellent way to exercise and increase your brain activity.
10. Be physically and mentally active
Physical activity like regular exercise boosts brain health. Aside from making your body healthy, it can keep your brain healthy too, since it improves your cognitive function.
Each time you exercise, your brain release good chemicals that manage brain cells and neurotransmitters. It also encourages growth in the blood vessels of the brain, thus preventing cognitive impairment and other brain aging effects.
Socializing is also a wonderful way to stay mentally active. Actively building social networks and being around with people helps keep your mind agile and stronger. Socialization also lowers the risk of dementia and prevents mental decline.
A bonus brain challenge reminder for you:
If negative thoughts try to dominate your mind, think three positive ones and list three things that you feel grateful for in your life. Train your brain to flip the switch so you can live freely and healthily.