Let’s talk about boosting our brains. I was inspired to write today’s post because after making my move, I have so many new things to explore and learn during my (hopefully) permanent time in Denver. All of this new stimulation is A LOT for me, especially coming out of my last chapter of life.
It got me thinking how I got managed to get through without my brain turning into mush from being perpetually bored with everything around me. I just had to take matters into my own hands by stimulating my mind on a daily basis with things that I knew I could do.
Did you know that your memory starts falling off in our 20s? Feeling extra forgetful or not being able to focus is a symptom of getting older. Fortunately, we don’t need to succumb to that kind of degradation without a fight.
I’m sure you have experienced days where you feel like a completely non-functioning human, and days where you feel like you can do it all. I’m here to help you feel more of the latter with simple ways to keep your mind sharp that you can add to your daily routine.
So let’s get into this list.
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1. Break A Sweat
We all know that exercise makes us feel healthier and comes with a ton of physical benefits. But were you aware that exercise can provide a consistent boost in brain sharpness that lasts a lifetime?
There’s tons of research that suggests exercise benefits multiple aspects of our mental health, such as greater self-esteem, but there are direct cognitive benefits as well.
Of course, the best type of exercise is the one that you’ll actually do. Try to incorporate whatever exercise works best for you and develop a routine.
At Lazy Girl, I’m dedicated to help you get the “most bang for your buck,” so I’m going to let you in on a little secret: Lifting weights is the perfect Lazy Girl exercise routine. I plan to write more about exercise and how I get myself off of the couch and into the gym 4 days a week, every week, in the future, but for now, I’m just going to send you over to my favorite online trainer, Katy Hearn. No ad or sponsor. I just think she’s a kickass lady that helped me find a routine that I love and she’s seriously the best kept secret in Lazy Girl fitness.
Look good, feel good, and sharpen your mind at the same time by incorporating daily exercise into your life.
2. Play Some Games
You can probably imagine why playing games can keep your mind sharp, but you don’t need to be a hardcore gamer to reap the benefits.
Remember when #fidgetspinners were a thing? They were touted to help kids stay focused in school, but they naturally made their way into universities and workplaces everywhere. Fortunately, there’s a more sophisticated way to quickly get focused and keep your mind sharp.
Classic game apps, such as Minesweeper, Solitaire, and Words With Friends, offer quick games and plenty of opportunities to improve your skill day after day. I remember playing Solitaire and Mahjong on my Windows 95 computer like it was yesterday.
You can even try to teach an old dog new tricks and learn some games that you didn’t quite understand as a kid. I learned how to play Sudoku on my phone when I was 20. Minesweeper when I was 23.
Heck, even my grandma learned how to play Sudoku at 79 and now we both play plenty of games daily. It helps to open up completely new worlds of problem solving that can be accomplished in a fun way.
Though not completely sound, some research suggests quick games that challenge us with logic, problem solving, and spotting patterns helps to improve memory and essentially reduce the chances of developing Alzheimers.
On a more short term note, completing challenging games helps you learn how to do other things quick, increases your concentration power, and helps to knock out boredom.
If anything, it doesn’t hurt to try, and at least you’ll find some enjoyment in the process.
The next time you feel like you have the attention span of a gnat, give some of your favorite games a quick download or discover something new you’d like to try.
3. Practice Mindfulness
Practicing mindfulness always makes these lists, but it’s because it’s so important (and I am the first to admit that I need to do better at this). Having a better sense of who you are and where you are currently helps you with your goals and ambitions. In fact, after months of practicing introspection, I learned that I had lost my way and discovered my true passions in life.
Related Post: Get To Know Me + Responding To Blogging Awards
So how does practicing mindfulness help besides introducing a #quarterlifecrisis? Mindfulness is all about focusing on the present moment and studies suggest that using this technique over time can improve your ability to pay attention, improve visuospatial processing (recognizing how things are shaped and arranged), working memory, and executive functioning.
You can meditate to help pinpoint exact moments in your life where you can practice mindfulness. I’ll even help you start right now (so you really don’t have an excuse).
- Find a comfy and relaxing position.
- Download a mindfulness app like Headspace.
- Kick back and meditate for a few minutes.
- Make it a habit.
- Use breathing to help you focus.
Really boost your mindfulness journey by participating in my completely free 30 Day Mental Health Cleanse!
4. Read News Roundups
I’ve always appreciated reading the news, just to get a general sense of what is going on in the world, but your only news sources don’t need to be about the political climate or major events happening in the world.
Today, there are news roundups for almost everything. I used to sleep on Twitter Moments (and I’m sure you do too), but it’s a great way to learn about what’s happening all across the Twittersphere.
Plus, over time, it learns what you like to read and Tweet and begins to cater to your interests. I can learn about the newest meme that cropped up, discover new bloggers, get updated on pop culture, and read about the funny and quirky things people are talking about on a daily basis. I don’t know how I’d keep up with the #youths as well as I do otherwise.
It’s good to stay informed about your interests and hobbies. The best part is that you no longer need to just read the news to understand what’s going on. Reading not really your thing? There are hundreds podcasts and YouTube channels that do the same thing.
🚨 Please just ensure that your news sources are accurate and you’re actually learning fact instead of fiction! 🚨
Thanks to keeping up with the news, I can stay up to date and engage in conversations with others without feeling out of the loop and it makes me feel smarter because of it.
5. Get Enough Sleep
Finally, we all knew that this would be here. If you’re an adult, you’ve likely heard time and time again that we generally do not get enough sleep. Getting enough sleep and feeling well rested play a direct key role in our cognitive ability.
Research has suggested that the real reason that we sleep is so that our brains can recharge and store away all of the information that we learned that day. Our bodies run on a 24-hour clock known as our Circadian Rhythm. It’s what helps us wake up in the morning when we see light and sends hormones to make us feel tired at night.
The other night after getting back from traveling I wasn’t feeling very tired at all as time was nearing the later hours of the morning. I figured that I could just pull an all-nighter, but quickly changed my mind when I read how important it was to try to get some sleep every 24 hours.
Ideally, you should be shooting for 7 or 8, but some research suggests that few people can get away with 5 or 6. It’s best to just listen to your body and do what you can to ensure a good night’s sleep.
For those of us who are nocturnal or work late, getting enough sleep may seem a little harder, but practicing good sleep habits applies to us as well.
The evidence of the effects of sleep deprivation and our brain power is staggering. So, if you have a big test or big presentation coming up, you’re better off just getting some sleep and trying again in the morning. Your brain (and performance) will thank you.
There you have it! These are some of my favorite activities to help keep me focused on a daily basis. I never even realized that my favorite things to do could potentially benefit my brain.
Anything that you want to start doing to boost your brain power? Let me know in the comments!