Brilliant Ways to Keep Your Mind Sharp
Here’s the thing – even though in most cases, the emphasis seems to be put on physical exercises, this doesn’t mean that you should overlook working on your mind as well! Sure, working on your body has an enormous amount of benefits, but keeping your mind sharp does as well, and yet, many people just don’t think about this all that much.
So, whether you have stumbled upon this article by an accident, or if you are looking for different ways that will help you keep your mind sharp and boost your memory and thinking skills – you are going to find out about them by reading this article.
Workouts are Great for Your Mind
Now, first things first – we have already mentioned how exercising is great for your body, obviously, but numerous studies have also shown how good of an impact it has on your mind as well.
Basically, exercising affects your brain in multiple different ways. One of the most prominent ones is due to increased heart rate, which ultimately leads to more oxygen being provided to the brain while you exercise. On the other hand, exercising also aids the bodily release of a plethora of hormones. All the hormones that are being released due to exercising participate in aiding and providing a nourishing environment for the growth of brain cells.
So What Exercise Should You Do?
Well, there is no singular exercise that is “the one” and in general, anything that is good for your heart is also going to be great for your brain. That being said, aerobic exercise is a great place to start since not only does it improve brain function, but it also helps a lot when it comes to the reparation of damaged brain cells.
When Should You Work Out?
Exercising in the morning is great since it is going to spike your brain activity and prepare you mentally for the rest of the day. And, yes, some days it will be hard to wake up earlier than you already have to, so, if you are a beginner, you can try doing it at least once a week!
Playing Different Games Helps
Games are an excellent and straightforward way for you to sharpen and stimulate your mind while having fun in the meantime.
Basically, any games are good for your brain as long as they require you to light up certain parts of your brain in order to solve different problems. So, whether you opt for fun trivia questions, Scrabble, a game of chess, or even video games that are problem-solving oriented – you are going to train your brain doing so! The way in which games help you train your brain is by sharpening certain thinking skills that just tend to wane with age. The most important skills that games affect are processing speed, planning skills, reaction time, decision making, and short-term memory as well.
Did you know that an average person makes around 30 000 decisions per day? To be fair – under half of those decisions are the ones that we make consciously, but that’s still a pretty big number, and it does affect your mental capacities. A great way to give your mind a break, allowing it to recharge while reflecting or just pouring your thoughts out is by doing different creative acts such as drawing for instance.
Drawing is something that can help focus the mind and has even been compared to meditation on multiple occasions due to its calming effects on both the brain and body. Even something pretty simple like gardening or sewing induces the release of dopamine, which is a natural antidepressant.
Learn a New Language
Learning a new language is one of the best exercises that you can do in order to keep your mind sharp. There are so many different studies that have shown how great learning a language is for your brain, as well as how differently the brains of people who are bilingual.
So, scientifically speaking, the first main advantage involves what’s referred to as executive function. Sounds complicated, but basically, it describes different skills that allow you to control, direct and manage your attention, as well as your ability to plan. Learning a new language also helps you when it comes to ignoring irrelevant information and focusing on what is important, due to the fact that this skill is highly exercised while getting to know and use a foreign language.
There is also one more extremely interesting thing to all of this, due to the fact that a bilingual person has the mastery of two languages, and the languages are basically activated automatically and subconsciously, the person that is bilingual has superior thought management processes due to the fact that they are constantly managing the interference of the languages.
Music is a Powerful Tool When it Comes to Brain Exercises
Here’s the thing – you don’t need to be a musical prodigy in order to benefit from how music affects your brain. Even just listening to music can be extremely helpful, not only for stabilizing and shifting your mood, helping you cope with anxiety and stress, but it can also be helpful long term – music is a great kickstarter for memory making.
Also, if you are in any way musically inclined, the benefits of learning how to play an instrument are going to be immense. Considering the fact that you can find tutorials on how to do pretty much anything these days – why wouldn’t you give it a go?
Getting a Good Night’s Sleep is Beneficial
Getting a good night’s sleep is important no matter what age you are. It truly is tempting to stay up late and get as much work done as possible, but doing this repetitively can not only mess up your concentration but also increase the possibility of many diseases. After a while, you will not be able to keep up with the tasks and the expectations that you put on yourself. A good sleeping routine will allow you to reset and have a fresh outlook on the problems you are solving. Apart from this, sleeping helps you store memories and learn better.
In the end, it all comes down to, firstly, taking care of yourself and secondly, being vigilant when it comes to taking different opportunities in order to keep learning. Learning new things is basically the key here, so, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone – whether we are talking about learning how to play a new instrument or learning a new language, go for it!
JR Dominguez is the technology, finance and music editor for MiLLENNiAL. When he's not writing, you can find him day-trading stocks, playing video games, or composing commercial scores.