Brain 101 | 12 Techniques for a Healthier Brain

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Workout Your Brain

“The mind is like a parachute… it doesn’t work unless its open.” – Anonymous

Has your brain gone rogue?!

Do you find more and more often that your memory fails, your creativity dulls, or your productivity hits a wall? We all have these moments, but by taking the initiative we can minimize these occurrences. There are different techniques we can use to invigorate the mind, keep it healthy throughout our lives, and even prevent brain disease as we age.

Think of it this way: If we take a hiatus from exercising our bodies, we easily (and quickly) notice the effects. We slow down, we fatigue more easily, we get rounder, and our energy levels are not as high. When our muscles aren’t conditioned, we can’t utilize them to their full potential, right? So why not our brain? Our brain is a muscle, and just like our bodies, it needs a full regular workout.

When the brain gets bored it tends to go on vacation, and because the brain is smart, it usually doesn’t return from vacation until you give it good reason to do so. That being said, here are 12 great ways to encourage the brain to return home and stay there.

Healthy Techniques for your Brain – Use it or Lose it!

1. Acquire new knowledge – The brain loves to learn. When it learns, it’s happy. Learn to love learning and spend at least 15 minutes a day learning something new.

2. Take a class about something you know nothing about. Find a cheap course at a community college or learning center. Or perhaps your local library holds free courses! Or take a class doing something physical: dance, yoga, martial arts, ceramics, etc. This helps develop agility and hand-eye-brain coordination.

3. Improve a Skill – Have a skill? Become an expert. It’s true that mental repetition can bore your brain, so make sure you are expanding your skill and knowledge base. Learn a new technique for doing it, work alongside or against someone better than you, and challenge your brain to reach new levels to keep it strong and healthy.

4. Cross-train at work – Try out someone else’s job at work. Maybe even trade jobs for a period of time. This will develop new skills as well as improve your overall understanding of the company. With positive results like that, employers shouldn’t complain!

5. Limit Television – According to a study in the journal Pediatrics, every hour of television watched per day increases one’s chance of being diagnosed with ADD by 10%. TV is typically a “no-brain” activity and watching 3 hours a day would increase your chance of an ADD diagnosis by 30%! Of course, learning-based shows or documentaries are less likely to have this effect.

6. Join a Reading Group – Being part of a discussion group encourages you to not only read and comprehend, but also to recall the information at a later date. You can also debate, argue, or discuss the readings, which also uses different areas of the brain.

7. Visit new places – It’s so easy to sit back and relax on our days off, but every once in awhile we should take advantage of the time and go make new experiences. Take in more scents, sights, and tastes!  

8. Surround yourself with smart friends – We tend pick up the habits and traits of our friends. We also tend to challenge, be challenged by, or be competitive with our friends. Work on developing friendships with interesting people who take action in their lives. Share ideas, encourage each other, gain a new perspective, and be playfully competitive. Spend time with people who challenge you.

9. Use a different sense for a common task. For example:

  • Find out what’s for dinner using only your nose
  • Guess the ingredients of your meal without asking the chef
  • Take a shower with your eyes closed
  • Find the right key to your home only by feeling it
  • Try and guess what’s inside your sofa only using touch Winking smile

10. Break the routine – Routines feels comfortable. The brain enjoys them because it no longer has to work hard, and normally one side of the brain will take that vacation they were talking about while the other performs the routine. To start using the other side of the brain, start doing the opposite of what feels comfortable. Here are some examples:

  • Try a sport or activity you’ve never attempted
  • Shave with your opposite hand… okay, it may be better if you practice brushing your teeth with the opposite hand first!
  • Learn new recipes
  • Learn a new word everyday
  • Do something that scares you
  • Find new routes to familiar destinations (work, home, events)
  • When tying your shoes, switch the tasks of each hand
  • When crossing your arms, reverse which one goes over the other.
  • Aim with the other eye
  • Use your mouse with the opposite hand
  • Kick with the opposite foot
  • Etc!  Make your brain feel uncomfortable!

11. Physical exercise! Exercise protects and enhances the brain and is the most important thing we can do for our brain and body.  It keeps our neurons healthy as we age, protects brain cells from toxins, and maintains healthy blood flow which increases oxygen and glucose delivery to the brain.  Exercise also improves our memory and decrease stress (freeing up brain functions).  And hundreds of other additional benefits.

12. Read and learn more techniques!  When reading, we use many parts of our brain for comprehension, retention, and recall.  Reading is not a passive pleasure like watching TV and it requires effort.  To read more about keeping your brain healthy and learn more brain exercises, I recommend these three books to get you started:

Have any of these techniques worked for you?  Do you have any others you enjoy that stimulate the brain and sharpen our mind?  Let everyone know about them in the comment area below!

This post was written by

Greg has written 69 articles on Student of Me.

Greg is the creator and primary writer for Student of Me. He probably spends way too much time on the computer writing, researching, programming, and working on his photography. He loves escaping from screen-time to travel, ride his motorcycle, experience the outdoors and spend time with loved ones. You can contact him at greg (at) studentofme.com!

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