We’ve all heard it before: the brain is a muscle and it needs to be put to work in order to have it work well. Just like any muscle, we need to work it, otherwise it will shrivel up and die (no, we’re just kidding, it won’t die, but it won’t work too well either)! How do you exercise the muscle inside your head, your brain? By doing things with it, things that will force it to think, make connections, break patters. The key to having a good memory and a sane mind when you’re old is to challenge it every single day of your life. If you get lazy, your brain will also get lazy, it won’t learn new things and in time this will show. Let’s look at 10 great ways to keep your brain working nicely.
10. Cut Back on Alcohol
Alcohol slows our brain down. It makes our body lazy and our brain stuck in a loop. After every drink we have we must mourn the death of our neurons, because many of them die (well, they don’t actually lie down and die, but they do get damaged and don’t function properly). Do yourself and your brain a favor and cut back or quit completely!
9. Lay Off the Internet
In his book, The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, Nicholas Carr argues that the use of internet will actually reroute the neural pathways of our brain. For millions of years the human brain has gotten accustomed to receiving information in several ways, but then came the internet and it has completely changed the way we receive it. We are bombarded with so much new information that our brains have started to ignore it and be immune to it and that’s never a good thing. A fantastic read, strongly recommend it!
8. Stop Watching Television
Television is bad for you. Sure, it’s OK to indulge from time to time, with some ice cream and watching The X Factor, but don’t let it become a routine. It’s no easy way to say this, so here it is: television will make you dumb. Watch a few good shows, the news, but no more than an hour a day, it won’t help your brain at all.
7. Read Good Books
This is probably the best tip anyone could ever give in regard to keeping the brain young. You learn new things, new perspectives, how other think and especially how you think. You learn more about yourself from the books you read than from any other thing. You filter the information and what remains and your feedback about it says something about your character.
6. Play Brain Games
Another great way to work the brain is to play brain games. They’re also great fun and good for taking the brain out of a state of haze. You could try some online Sudoku or some memory games. There’s no end to the types of brain games you can find online, so go ahead and start your search.
5. Get Enough Sleep
Well, OK, sleeping is not really exercising your brain, although your brain is much more active while it is sleeping than when you’re watching TV, but sleeping is a vital process in internalizing the information the brain has been bombarded with during the day. It is during sleep that the brain will choose which information to keep and which to discard. So sleep and let your brain take decisions for you, it’s what it does.
4. Learn a New Language
Learning a new language will allow your brain to develop in areas that you didn’t think were possible to develop as an adult. Not to mention that it will physically make your brain larger. When areas of your brain become unused they will literally shrink in size, but learning a new language will actually exercise your brain and make it grow in size.
3. Memorize Things
These days memorizing things is thought to be completely pointless, but there were days when memorizing poems and books was a topic in schools. It does wonders for our brains! Learn about mnemonics, build yourself a small memory palace and see how much information you can put there. You have no idea what I’m talking about, do you?! Look into it, it’s fascinating business.
2. Change Your Routines
The brain has a love/hate relationship with routine. A type of rock and roll lead singer and their badass guitarist relationship. The brain loves routine because once that it settled in, it doesn’t have to give it much attention and is free to do other things. And it hates it, because if left too much doing a routine, it gets rusty and lazy. Let’s say you’ve taken the same road to work for the past 5 months, think of another route. See new faces, force your brain to take in new surroundings!
1. Engage in Challenging Conversations
Try to surround yourself with smart people who will challenge you and who will make you strive to be better. Have challenging conversations will open your mind to new ideas and will allow you to see things from different perspectives. And that is the key to keeping your brain young and your mind healthy.