Best Tips for Brain-Building Activities
Give your brain a workout to improve its functioning
Your brain matter matters!
I am out of the office this week, ‘on holiday’ as they say in certain parts of the world, and I wanted to give you a light-hearted list of tips to strengthen your brain and improve how it works for you. A lot of these things you may already be doing, and may not have realized how important they are to developing the different areas of your brain.
If you’re feeling a bit foggy or having difficulty concentrating, or feeling like your internal executive CEO isn’t at the top of her game, it may be your brain’s way of asking for more attention and healthy care. Maybe you’re not including enough of these things in your daily life.
I am having the lovely opportunity to travel, which is a really great way to shake up and wake up my brain a bit. Hearing new language, learning a different history, experiencing different ways of life and worldviews, appreciating differences and universalities of new cultures, and even driving on the opposite side of the road than what I am used to! When I am confused or in the throes of acclimating, I keep reminding myself that change and novelty are good for my brain. This is definitely a good brain workout!
If you can travel, do so. But if you can’t get away right at the moment, you can try some of these things at home, and know you’ve given your brain a revitalizing journey.
Tips for A Good Brain Workout:
- Dance (Publicly, privately, joyously..)
- Play board games, word games and memory games (This is especially good to do with your kids, good for them and you)
- Meditation (Yes, the practice of quieting your brain actually helps to grow it)
- Learning a new language
- Morning exercises (breathing, walk, yoga)
- Remembering a list of items, each one associated with body parts or sites in your home, or with pneumonic techniques or pictures
- Keeping a Gratitude list, especially of things you haven’t noticed before
- Listening with curiosity to someone, especially someone you know well. Pay special attention to their body language, tone. Try to be a journalist and listen to the story behind the story.
- Trying a new way to go home, get out of the routine. Try a new recipe, a new sport, use your non-dominant hand to do routine tasks.
- Get enough rest. (Seriously, major brain cleanup and development & integration go on when you sleep well. If you shortchange your sleep, you are wearing away the foundation of your brain)
- Learn something new. Try something new. Take risks to move out of your comfort zone.
- An excellent podcast for learning practical tools to boost your memory, read faster, enhance your thinking can be found at KWIK.com.
- Incorporate top brain foods (blueberries, chocolate, coconut oil, broccoli, kale…)
- Use hand warming techniques to send a signal to your body to relax. Your brain functions better when it’s in a state of calm.
- Get rid of automatic negative thoughts.
- Name your feelings. Learn to differentiate the subtleties of emotions (ie: the difference between anger and frustration).
- Create a vision board and then move things onto a gratitude board, once accomplished
- Do Journaling or create a collage to capture positive moments and experiences in your life. Create a library of your own.
- Try Juggling – jugglers tend to have a bigger brain.
- Change your environment. Move your furniture around. Practice Interior design – this improves spatial awareness.
- Do old-fashioned handwriting (yes, take an actual pen in hand as you write on paper). For bonus brain boosting, write with your non-dominant hand.
- Play Table tennis
- Do Martial arts (these last three activities sharpen coordination)
- You are never too old to learn something new. Engage in Lifelong learning – contributes to longevity, and a brain that keeps working well as long as you are alive.
- Create a Bucket list – the brain loves activity that involves promise and excitement. You don’t have to travel the world; even a daily simple bucket list improves brain functioning.
- Reading books or listening to them allows you to consolidate decades of information or experiences of others in just a few hours.
- Teach something you’ve learned.
- Look at everyday activities at home and work for new perspectives and new ways of doing them.
- Effective notetaking – is not every word or no note at all, but something that incorporates images or mapping or salient themes.
- Goal setting. Intention Creating.
- Remembering your dreams. Journal them first thing when you wake up.
- Get outside in nature. Have some experiences of awe.
Hopefully, this list gives you something new to think about and boost your brain’s functioning with, and that you find enjoyable. It’s much easier to engage in some new activity when it feels like it will be fun and not just a should-do chore.
Go work your brain out!
If you or someone you care about needs help to deal better with your thoughts and feelings so you can enhance your overall brain functioning, please contact me for a therapy appointment.
For more ideas on how to bring more calm and less worry into your life, click here for a free email course on Mindfulness.
Listening with Heart
Cindi Rivera, MFT
Marriage, Family Therapist
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