When the brain doesn’t get enough exercise, it suffers just as much as the body. A sharp mind will save you embarrassment, give you the ability to pick up new skills quickly and could help you prevent brain-function diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Author and positive-habit coach Maria Brilaki offers some great ways to train your brain and improve its performance today and in the future.
- Talk it up. Committing events and information to memory, then discussing them with others has been shown to improve brain fitness. This exercises all the brain’s memory functions—receiving, remembering and thinking—during your discussions.
- Repeat new actions. By repeating an action over and over, the brain helps you get better at it by wiring neural pathways so you’ll do it faster and more skillfully with each repetition. This is especially helpful for someone who struggles with procrastination. Decide where something goes. Write one email that needs to be sent. Throw an unneeded paper away. Your brain will begin to create new neural pathways.
- Hit the books. Pick up an instrument you would like to learn to play. Take a salsa class. Start learning a new language. Give your brain a chance to think differently and express itself in a totally new way.
- Enroll in boot camp. An Internet-based training program is convenient and can help improve memory and the ability to think faster. If you’re looking for a clinically proven program, try BrainHQ.
- Get moving. It shouldn’t be a total surprise that a healthy body leads to a healthy mind. Twenty minutes of exercise facilitates information-processing and memory functions and improves the speed at which the brain creates neural pathways.
- Surround yourself with love. Maintaining relationships takes work—coincidentally, the kind of work that’s sure to improve your cognitive abilities. For extroverts, this is especially important because extroverts are best able to work through problems and think critically when they’re talking to other people.
- Watch what you eat. Fish, fruits and veggies have proven useful in optimizing brain functions. And go ahead and eat dark chocolate, which causes the brain to produce dopamine, a chemical known to improve memory.
— Adapted from “8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More,” Maria Brilaki, Lifehack.