Brain Training: 8 ways to exercise your mind

I’m sure you understand how important exercise is for your body, but did you know that it’s also vital for your mind?

Our brains change based on our experiences and learnings. The more we learn, the stronger and more adaptable our brains become. Research shows that the combination of both physical and mental fitness—along with healthy habits—is the greatest formula for keeping the mind sharp.

Not sure how to mentally exercise? You’re in luck, my friend! Below are some tips on increasing your mental alertness, helping to train your brain and further utilize its powerful potential.

  1. Meditation. A few minutes for daily meditation can increase your focus, concentration, and creativity, allowing you to be fully present. Taking several deep breaths also helps to replenish your blood-oxygen levels
  2. Healthy eating. Following a well-balanced diet that’s low in fat, low in cholesterol, and high in antioxidants is highly recommended for optimal brain health. Vitamins such as B12 and folic acid will also help your brain function more efficiently and increase mental sharpness. Be sure to stock up on those leafy greens—chock full of nutrients.
  3. Let’s get cooking. Apron up, everyone! Take a fun cooking class, recreate a recipe you grew up with, or learn how to cook or bake a completely new cuisine you’ve always been curious to try. Cooking uses a number of senses—smell, touch, sight, and taste—all of which stimulate different parts of the brain.
  4. Memorize. Aside from it being a cool trick to recite your favorite poems or quotes at a moment’s notice, memorization is an excellent way to strengthen your mind muscle. Set a goal to memorize a poem or passage of writing each week.
  5. Drink water. We constantly hear that our bodies are mostly made up of water. Well, our brains alone are 73% water! Water helps optimize brain function along with maintaining proper hydration. Make sure you get your recommended daily intake. The value of following through on this is immense—trust me!
  6. Intentional reading. We must slow down while reading, taking the time to process and digest the written information in front of us. In our technology-driven world where attention spans are almost nonexistent and massive quantities of information are accessible through a single finger tap, it’s easy to miss details. Select an article or short story that interests you and take the time to read each sentence, thoroughly processing the information as you read along.
  7. Crosswords, puzzles, & brain teasers. Challenging games and puzzles like Sudoku are brain stimulants. Answer all of the questions you know and look up any answers that you don’t. Jigsaws are wonderful mind activators. As you study each unique puzzle piece and figure out where they fit within the larger picture, you’re putting that brain to work. 
  8. Dance! Get your body up from your seat and shake it out (don’t worry, this can easily be accomplished in the comfort of solitude). Put on a few of your favorite tunes and let yourself move around as freely as you like. Doesn’t have to be some masterfully choreographed dance routine—just let go and naturally loosen up your body. Your brain will loosen up with it.

Personal Brainstorm

Strengthening your mind goes a long way towards making your life goals even more achievable. What are some go-to methods that you use to exercise your mind? We’d love to hear what works best for you!

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