Exercising Your Brain

Written by Do I Editorial

The human brain is an extraordinary organ – it has the capability to make you seem smart and dull at the same time.  Like the rest of the body, the brain needs to be kept ‘in shape’ for it to be used to its maximum capacity. The logic behind this is quite simple – the lesser we use our mind, the duller it becomes and vice versa. It is this realization that must prompt you to exercise your mind on a daily basis to stimulate it to think better.

It is said that we use only 10% of our total brain capacity. In order to be able to use the remaining 90% as well, here are 10 simple tips to keep your mind up and running.

1. Brain games
The best stimulator for the human mind is brain games. Sudoku, crossword puzzles, Scrabble, Rubik’s cube, memory games and other number crunching activities urge the brain to work. These puzzles are available in daily newspapers, on websites and even as mobile phone games. Cultivate a habit to play these on a daily basis and don’t forget to increase the difficulty levels as you go along. If you’re a lover of numbers, opt for mathematics problems too.

2. Read up
It has been scientifically proven that reading (even simple material) sharpens the brain tremendously. Keep your mind alert and update your trivia and vocabulary by reading newspapers, magazines, novels, comics or even the label on your shampoo bottle! Try and read hard copies as much as possible and look up words or issues you don’t understand in a dictionary or an encyclopedia. To prevent it from slipping out of your mind, use the new word in a sentence or discuss the news piece at a social gathering to get others to stimulate their minds too!

3. Switch hands
If you’re a left-handed person, use your right hand and vice versa for simple activities like writing, opening a jar or eating. Even simple activities like opening the door with your other hand will help you focus on the task at hand and spruce up mundane activities. When you reach a point where you’re comfortable using both hands, continue the habit since the human body has a tendency to be lazy and slip back to its comfort level. This reversal will keep both lobes of your brain active.

As an alternative, you can also try walking backwards or walking around the house with a blindfold on. If you follow an exercise routine, incorporate the switching technique in there too.

4. No TV
If you want your mind to work faster, ditch those hours wasted in front of the television. Read the news in the paper, listen to music using your headphones and watch movies in the theatre. If you must watch a daily show, put the television on when it starts and switch it on when it ends. Occupy yourself with errands or mind games during the commercials.

5. Meditate
Your entire body needs fresh oxygen to work to its optimum potential. Take a few minutes every morning to do some yoga and meditate, all the while breathing deeply and slowly. Ensure that there’s complete silence around you and focus on the soft sounds that fall on your ears. This will improve your concentration level as your brain will have to work to enable you to hear the sounds.

6. Stay traditional
Stay true to your traditional roots by reading and writing in hard copy form. Use a pen and paper to write, or follow the time-honoured method of using a paper, a pencil and an eraser. Avoid reading online material unless it’s strictly work related and stick to an old, yellowing, dog-eared book!

7. Be Social
A mind stimulator could come from anywhere, and the absolute best way to find one is to engage in a real-life conversation. Be an extrovert, go out with your friends and family and give yourself the opportunity to meet new people. This is one of the easiest ways to get your mind to start working. Engage in conversations about different topics and look for unique opinions and debatable discussions.

8. Learn a new hobby
Learn a new language, a musical instrument or an art form. These activities will allow you to step out of your comfort zone and do something you may not necessarily be good at. When you push your mind to do something it’s not used to, it’s bound to work harder. Join a hobby class alone if you want the chance to engage in conversations with like-minded people, or join with a friend if you want company.

9. Laugh
Engage in comedy on a daily basis, in the form of comic strips, silly articles, podcasts, live stand-up shows or web videos. Laughing whole-heartedly recharges your body tremendously by boosting your immune system and relaxing your muscles. Laughter is known to keep your mind alert, interested and excited and keeps you upbeat.

10. Don’t overdo it
Whether it’s learning a new hobby, engaging in a conversation with a stranger, playing brain games or reading, never ever overdo it. You’ll end up draining your mind instead of rejuvenating it. Only do activities that you enjoy and don’t feel burdened by the thought that you must do them to help stimulate your brain.

You can personalize activities to suit your own mood. For instance, if math problems are not your forte, mix up two kinds of pulses and separate them while you watch your favourite TV show. Read a children’s poem and try memorizing it within a few minutes. Say the entire alphabet backwards. It’s that simple!

Irrespective of what method you choose to exercise your mind, some things just can’t be foregone. Eat a good breakfast and follow it up with nutritious meals, exercise daily, sleep well and think positively. A healthy body is the basic foundation to start off with, so focus on your basic routine before you try and fit mind stimulators in there. Not only will this keep you peppy, but will encourage your mind to work faster too.

Visual Courtesy:http://www.flickr.com/photos/frankjuarez/