Healthy lifestyle is very important. Everybody knows that if you want to stay fit, you need to exercise. To increase flexibility, develop strength, and maintain balance, we need to challenge our bodies regularly. That makes sense, right? That said, not many of us apply the same knowledge when thinking about our brains. However, it works the same way! Mental qualities like problem-solving, memory, focus, and attention span change over time, for better or worse. The good news is that brain training exercises can help you increase performance and fend off mental decline as you age. If you want to boost your brainpower, here are some simple things you can work into your day-to-day life! In this post, we will tell you how to improve memory? So, let’s go and find out the best ways to improve memory and brainpower.
Well, these are the best ways to boost your brainpower.
1. Break A Strict Routine
A routine can help add structure to your life, but emerging brain imaging studies revealed that brain activity decreases for automatic tasks, such as those associated with a routine. Conversely, novel tasks show increased brain activity in several areas of the cortex. This means, that changing up your routine is an easy way to increase your brainpower! Consider waking up earlier and doing something different in that extra time in the morning – like physical exercise or meditation.
Another method to add change to your routine is to switch the time of tasks. For example, if you go for a run, study, read, watch TV, socialize, or run errands at a specific time, you could change the order of these tasks to give your brain a new pattern of thought.
2. Find A New Path
The routes you take to work, school, or home, are probably ingrained into your memory. After you’ve done it so many times, it becomes easy. Well, that ease isn’t firing up your neurons! Instead of driving the same roads, take an unexpected turn. You can use side streets instead of the highway and vice versa. Another method to change your route is to open your window – if the weather permits – and identify the sounds and smells you experience. Change comes in many forms, and these sensory changes can help you remember new roads. The hippocampus is deeply involved in processing memories and constructing mental maps and it utilizes associations between sensory information like sounds, smells, and visuals.
3. Stop Relying On Tech
Like lists, technology is another tool that makes our lives easier. But if you want to strengthen your brain, you’ll need to make it work harder. And an easy way to do that is to avoid technology. Instead of going right to the calculator or the spellchecker, try to solve simple problems on your own. Consider memorizing your friends’ phone numbers. It will improve your memory and it could help you in a sticky situation. You can also turn off your GPS and consider looking at a map to find your way. This will improve your innate sense of direction as well.
4. Practice Problem-Solving
This one is an exercise in problem-solving and creativity. Think up an imaginary problem. Let’s say you own a small business. You have a thriving restaurant that gets overwhelmed during lunch since so many people get takeout before heading back to work. BUT a fast food restaurant is opening up just across the street. What would you do to avoid losing business? Get creative by thinking up problems you’ve never experienced. What if you only had $20 a week to spend on groceries? What would you cook this week to stay on budget and give you enough nutrition? Or, what would you do if you were stranded on an island? Problem-solving in this fun and creative way will forge new connections in your brain and improve its function.
5. Read Aloud
Reading is an excellent practice for anyone who wants to stay sharp but did you know that listening to a story and reading a story engages different brain circuits? Brain imaging has shown that three distinct brain regions are engaged when a person reads silently, reads aloud, or listens to reading. Reading aloud to yourself, listening to an audiobook, or listening to a friend read to you can engage your imagination in a new way, giving your brain some much-needed stimulation. If you want to engage your brain and strengthen your relationships, you can ask a friend or significant other to take turns with you reading to one another. If you know any children, they’d probably love that! You can also listen to audiobooks or read to yourself for some brain engagement and alone time.
6. Write On Paper
In our modern world, we type more than we write. After all, it doesn’t make much sense to draft an email on paper. But writing on paper can help you ingrain information into your memory, better and faster than typing. And this can be especially helpful when you’re acquiring new knowledge. Your brain’s filtering system – the Reticular Activating System or RAS – notices relevant information and helps you actively focus. Writing with a pen or pencil triggers this filtering system and helps you pay more attention.
7. Use Your Non-dominant Hand
What hand do you favor when doing basic tasks – like holding your phone, eating with a spoon, turning your keys, or writing on paper? You probably do all these things with the same hand unless you’re ambidextrous. After repeating these standard tasks so many times, your brain goes into autopilot mode, and you don’t need to think much about it. And you guessed it, this lack of conscious thought doesn’t challenge your brain. So, switch things up by using your opposite hand! You might notice right away that simple tasks require much more thought. If you practice this exercise every day, not only will you gain coordination, you can increase your ability to learn, focus, and engage in conscious thought.
8. Play Observation Games
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to forget details? Our brains choose to ignore information it deems unnecessary. What color shirt was the cashier wearing at the store last time? What was on your co-worker’s mind last week? Or what was the name of that supporting character on the TV show your roommate was watching? Chances are, you don’t know. But you can if you choose to pay attention. You can play a daily observation game to improve your focus and memory. Choose one quality to observe and look for it everywhere. For example, you could focus on people’s fashion, their eye colors, or identifying their emotions. Whether you’re at home watching TV or out for a walk in the city, think about your observation game. By giving your brain a stimulus, you’re working it out and strengthening it.
9. Tell Stories
No, this one isn’t advice about lying. Your stories should be memories whether you’ve experienced the story or heard about it from someone else. Every morning, think about a story, and then prepare to tell others. You can even rehearse it if you want. The key is to make it engaging and if you can, make it more engaging every time you tell it. This will help you in your social life, and it’s a great way to exercise your memory.
10. Memorize Your Lists
Lists are handy, especially for those who have tendencies toward forgetfulness. They do the remembering for you. And that’s exactly why avoiding lists can actually improve your memory! Now, don’t just ditch lists altogether. Make your list but instead of relying on it when you need it, try to memorize it. Then, when the time comes, see if you can remember your list without looking. For example, if you have a grocery list, review it a few times before you leave. Take it with you, but don’t look at it until you’re done shopping. Do this a few times and watch your memory improve!
11. Look from A New Perspective
You might take the orientation of objects for granted. Our brains are hard-wired to separate right from wrong in terms of our environments. When you see something the right way, your brain’s left hemisphere labels the object and moves on. When it’s oriented the wrong way, the right hemisphere kicks in and works to process and interpret the visual information as if it were a puzzle. To activate your brain, turn familiar objects upside down and simply look at them. It can be anything, a picture, a clock, or a labeled bottle. It might seem weird, but it’s an easy way to engage your brain and hardly think about it!
There you go – 11 ways to stimulate your brain for mental growth! These are the best ways to improve memory. When you live your life with intention, you can introduce new experiences in every sense to your brain. These novel sensations will strengthen areas of your brain that control your memory, emotions, attention span, problem-solving abilities, learning, and processing. What do you think? Which one of these exercises for warding off the effects of aging and improving your memory will you try? Share in the comments below!