When I was younger, people called me a blockhead of idiocy sitting on top of an athlete’s body. To be fair, it was kinda true. I wasn’t really an academic boy. I didn’t ace my exams as the smarter kids did. I only enjoyed physical sports and excelled in them.
I took pride in how athletic I was back then. I was young, fit, had a good enough looking body and thought to myself that as long as I keep active, I’ll keep my healthy body for a long long time. I didn’t care so much that I wasn’t that smart and didn’t bother to think of ways to stimulate my brain.
I wish I could have told myself back then that although it is possible, it wasn’t going to be easy.
True enough, once I started working full time in a 9–5 job, held more responsibilities, it wasn’t as easy to keep in shape. Combine that with the crazy appetite I built up over the years, I piled on the weight as easy as it was eating a cheeseburger.
Back then, fitness only meant one thing to me — fitness of the body.
I failed to recognize that fitness was more than just having a fit and healthy body. It wasn’t just about not being overweight, having abs, or being able to run 10km without feeling like dying.
Fitness is about having a healthy body, coupled with a healthy mind and a healthy soul.
It’s an entire package.
You want to be fit and healthy in every department of your entire being, not just one particular area.
And believe it or not, your mind is a much more important component to your overall health compared to your body.
That being said, exercising the mind is equally, if not more important, than exercising the body. But we don’t do it as often as we work the body muscles. The mind’s muscles need to be flexed and stretched as well.
And you can do so with these 5 exercises for the mind.
I was never an avid reader according to society because I never read novels, thrillers, etc. What I did however read — and I read in abundance — were comic books. I read so much of it that my mom had to hide them away from me because I was reading my comic books more than I was doing my homework.
And to be honest, I wasn’t half as stupid as I probably would have been if it wasn’t for my comic books.
Given that the information that I was getting from my comic books were probably not as great as for example reading an Enid Blyton book, I was still reading. My mind was still being stimulated with info from the words and pictures from my comic books.
I was still using my mind to process everything that I was reading.
As an adult, I started reading more ‘real’ books. And to my surprise, I’m enjoying them a lot more now compared to when I was younger. Maybe because I’ve always been a visual kind of guy, I liked having pictures in my books. Most books are mainly just words.
But I enjoy reading a lot more now, even if it’s just words without any pictures. I find that it has helped to keep my mind active and sharp.
I would definitely recommend picking up reading as a form of hobby, or better yet, making it a habit.
I touched on this in a previous article that I wrote which was about exercises you can do for a calmer soul — meditating was one of it.
And although it very much is for the calming of the soul, it can be a wondrous thing for your mind as well.
When I meditate, I’m using a lot of my mind’s power to focus on things. Be it focusing on my breathing, my surroundings, my feelings, my thoughts, I’m focusing and that requires a lot of mental strength.
That’s a good exercise for the mind.
3. Learning something new
They say that you can’t teach old dogs new tricks. That’s a lie. Old dogs can learn new tricks. And we’re not dogs, we’re humans. As long as we’re still alive, we can keep learning new things. We should keep learning new things.
My dad was an educator. His used to keep reminding me that life is essentially a life-long journey of learning. You only ever stop learning when you die OR if you refuse to learn.
Learning new things or trying something that we’ve never done before stimulates our mind. Because we’ve not done something before, we are forced to figure it out.
That sort of stimulation keeps the mind working, keeping it sharp.
Pick up a new hobby, one that you’ve always wanted to try but never had the courage to do so. Learn a new language maybe? Learning a new language is not only challenging but also rewarding.
Whatever it is, try learning something new that will benefit you and your mind.
4. Solving puzzles/playing mystery games
What better way to use our mind than to its fullest potential? Did you know that the human mind is only ever utilized at around 10% of its full capacity? Well, that’s a legend — a myth — if you like that we can apparently unlock a whole lot more of the brain’s potential.
Either way, whether we really have only been using 10% or 100%, it is still a muscle worth exercising and training at all times.
Another good way to do that is by playing games that challenge you to really think. It could be puzzles like the Rubiks cube, or games like Cluedo. Even computer games that have puzzles and mazes that you will need to solve to progress further in the game are pretty good exercises for your mind.
The more you challenge your mind, the stronger it will become.
What you want to be careful about though, is to not stress it out too much. You want to strengthen it, not give yourself a nervous breakdown.
Doing other things like Sudoku is also good for the mind.
As long as it stimulates and challenges the mind in a good way, it’s good exercise for it.
You may not be able to see the results physically like how you would your body muscles, but that doesn’t mean that isn’t any progress happening. You will feel it and you will see it in other things.
You may see an increase in productivity at work or on projects that you’re working on.
You may see changes in the way you behave, think and react to things.
Whatever it is, exercising your mind can only bring about positive changes and that’s why it’s important to keep your mind stimulated so that it stays sharp and healthy.
Have you given your mind a good work out today? You should.