Your mind is certainly one of your most essential personal assets. Daily habits and the natural aging process can take a toll on mental abilities including focus, clarity, memory and cognition. The good news is you can get a brain boost by incorporating some fairly simple habits into your life. Bonus: Many of them have other benefits than solely a brain boost so you’re taking care of a lot of health concerns at once. Who doesn’t love that?!?!
Here are 7 easy ways to get a brain boost:
1 – Sleep More
Although your body is at rest, your brain is in repair and processing mode during slumber. When you don’t get enough sleep, you can actually lose some of the grey matter in the front of your brain that is responsible for memory and executive function. Your brain continues to make connections while you sleep, which is why sometimes you can see things more clearly and solve problems easier after a great night’s rest. Bonus: Take a power nap for 20 minutes during the day for rejuvenation and concentration.
2 – Exercise
It does a body good and it does your brain good as well. Movement is the key to so many health concerns and both cardio and strength-building exercise improve cognitive function. Some of this is due to the increased oxygenated blood flow that reaches your brain, giving you more energy, stamina and motivation. Exercise can also increase the growth of certain nerve cells required for good brain health. Bonus: Listen to music while you exercise for an even greater brain boost.
3 – Play an Instrument
You’re really never too old to learn to play an instrument. The coordination and multiple senses involved in playing an instrument challenge your brain in new and demanding ways. Bonus: You don’t have to be good at playing, just play!
4 – Eat Smart
You are what you eat and your brain is proof. All the usual suspects – lean meats, fish, green leafy vegetables, nuts, berries and complex carbohydrates – make up a fantastic brain-boosting diet. Be sure to get lots of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, plus stay hydrated. Bonus: Salmon, blueberries and nuts are among the best brain foods.
5 – Play Games
Challenge yourself to a brain game every day such as Sudoku, Scrabble, Tetris or a crossword puzzle. These keep your brain sharp and agile while you have fun. Bonus: Check out free online brain games that you can play with partners around the world.
6 – Meditate and Relax
It’s often when you let go of the worries and stress that you are able to find clarity. In fact, relaxing and meditating boosts your memory and increases concentration. That’s why taking small breaks throughout your workday can help increase productivity and focus. Bonus: Lounging, watching TV and playing video games counts as relaxation.
7 – Positive Relationships
Having positive influences in your life is a big win for your brain. First, studies show it improves memory. But companionship also means you’re engaging in conversation and probably laughing more, which are both great for increasing creativity and cognition. Bonus: Having a special friend that you love helps release serotonin and oxytocin that increase your decision-making and problem-solving abilities.
Sources: Greatist, Health and Entrepreneur