When people think of exercising it often involves physical training to strengthen muscles. The human brain is also an important “muscle” in the body and with the right brain training and exercises you can help keep it fit, alert and ready to handle the rigors of a typical working day. Often brain exercises come in the form of games that help train the brain improve memory, strategize, and think in advance. Some common forms of brain exercise include chess, crossword puzzles, memory games and mathematical problem solving.
Use it, or Lose it
The man who graduates today and stops learning tomorrow is uneducated the day after. – Newton D. Baker
Unfortunately when most people stop formal schooling, either by completing a degree or choosing to drop out, the study habits and brain training that was part of their daily schedule also ends. The learning and critical thinking that helped get people through school shouldn’t have to stop just because a specific goal has been reached. In fact, if you don’t keep using the brain it keeps becoming lazy and won’t function as sharply as it used to. Experts say it aptly: use it or lose it.
Importance of Brain Plasticity
Plasticity is the tendency to shape itself according to experience – it is the most important quality of the human brain. Plasticity creates neural networks that give you adaptability and versatility. Without plasticity you won’t be able to survive in the fast changing world. Lack of plasticity means rigidity – rigidity of attitudes, likes and dislikes as well as of preferences and prejudices. A healthy human brain is highly flexible and most moldable.
Warning – Couch Potatoes!
All the labor-saving conveniences provided by technology is increasing the population of couch potatoes in the society. A sedentary lifestyle severely deteriorates vascular system, which ultimately affects physical and mental health. The increasing penetration of computers, Internet, TV, and video games is slowly pushing us towards a real health crisis. A recent survey concluded that nearly half of youngsters (12 – 21 years) do not participate in vigorous physical activity on a regular basis.
Here is a four-step prescription for boosting the health of your brain.
1. Break Your Routine
Falling in the rut (and living there!) is the best way to disrespect your brain. Doing things in non-routine ways challenges the existing neural network to perform and stimulates creation of new connections. So keep challenging your brain to learn new skills, particularly those you have never tried before. However, it does not mean that you stand on your head, begin walking on one leg or start breathing from the mouth!! There are sane ways to stimulate and challenge your brain. Here are some simple ideas:
- Brush your teeth using the other hand,
- Try controlling the mouse or TV remote from the other hand,
- Shop at a new grocery store,
- Switch hands to hold fork and knife and eat,
- Join a dance class if you can’t dance,
- Take a different route to your office,
- Solve puzzles, play chess and brain-games.
- Try writing or painting with the other hand,
If you felt uncomfortable or awkward don’t worry – that’s how you feel when the brain is learning. You can invent more such activities; the idea is to do things that force you to break from the routine and be attentive. When you are doing things habitually, brain goes into neutral.
When you do such non-routine activities, apart from feeling awkward you will discover another vital thing – you become consciously aware of what you are doing. You can’t afford not to pay attention if you are doing things unconventionally!
2. Be Witty!
Some people are afraid of heights. Not me, I’m afraid of widths. – Steven Wright
I believe in an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out. – Arthur Hays Sulzberger
I was thrown out of college for cheating on the metaphysics exam; I looked into the soul of the boy next to me. – Woody Allen
Why is it when we talk to God we’re praying, but when God talks to us, we’re schizophrenic? – Lily Tomlin
3. Use Brainwave Audios for Mental Development
“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus”. – Bruce Lee
This is a recent development that is fast picking up and gives all round benefits. Regular listening to low frequency entrainment audios leads to a mind with heightened awareness. With this awakened mind, you begin to perceive things from a different angle and with new wholesome meaning. This is significantly different from the previous “narrow mind” which could only do few things in limited ways. So, you have a new and more confident self now.
What causes the feeling of high and peak experiences? The neuroscientists say that the euphoria or ‘high’ you experience is caused by the release of endorphins in the brain, which is far more powerful than morphine. Many people, particularly students and professionals whose performance depends on their brain fitness, are taking help of brainwave audio tracks to improve their memory, intelligence, and other faculties of mind. They discover that they have not only become significantly more productive but also stay relaxed and enjoy life simultaneously.
My personal recommendation is the brainwave entrainment package of Genius Brain Power that can systematically walk you through the whole brainwave landscape right from mild relaxation to deeply touching meditative states.
4. Fill your Mind with Positivity
You need to learn the Art of Relaxed Productivity. For that you will have to move away from the clutter and over-complicated life and start living a simpler, more focused, and effective life filled with inner peace and joy. Specifically, you would like to achieve the following:
- Switched from a negative mindset to a much more positive one.
- Get rid of negative habits such as feeling inferior and un-worthy, victim thinking, over-thinking and fear.
- Become more present/mindful in daily life.
- Become a less shy and a more confident person.
- Become more socially attractive with highly developed social skills.
- Stay relaxed, patient, and positive even in most difficult situations
Rather than offering do’s and don’ts from my side, I recommend a life-transforming book, The Power of Positivity, by Henrik Edberg which is highly loaded with inspiration and motivation. It comes with a workbook and MP3 audios and is a constructive and practical guide to living a more positive, happy and successful life. This book can drastically change your life because it is a product of real-life personal transformation.