10 Ways To Maximize Your Brainpower
By TRISOFT team
They say exercise is the best way for us to stay in shape. But guess what?! It doesn’t only apply to our body, but to our brain as well. The brain is a muscle and the more we work it, the better results we can have.
Astoundingly, we only use about 10% of our brain. No wonder so many movies go around the idea of superhuman, a species that can use up to 100% the power of their brains. The good news for us, mere humans, is that we can always improve our brains and it doesn’t take millions of dollars or pills that medicine did not yet invent.
All you need to do actually is invest some regular time into training your brain muscles in order to boost your brainpower.
Here are a few ways you can jumpstart your cognitive and intellectual functions:
We know it might sound redundant, but physical exercise is one of the main engines putting our brain to work. What it actually does is enhance the oxygen flow to your brain, release chemicals that enhance your overall mood, as well as protect your brain cells. Scientists have found that exercising actually helps spark the production of more neurons in the brain.
You can do any sport you find interesting or entertaining. Or anything you are good at. Martial arts, jogging, swimming or tennis are great sports that will work your body through and through. And let’s not forget dancing — moving your body to the rhythm of music is just what the brain likes :)
2. Do brain aerobics.
As with physical exercise, mind exercise can keep your brain fit despite the passing of the years. Board Games, playing chess, doing crossword puzzles, playing little mental games such as thinking of famous people whose names begin with the letter E :)
Also, scientists have discovered that surfing the Web (unlike passively watching TV) may also improve your brain capacities, as it activates regions in your brain related to decision-making and complex reasoning.
3. Train your memory.
Often do we hear people complain they don’t have the memory they used to have when they were younger. But what do we ever do anymore in order to improve or even maintain our memory young? We have everything noted down in calendars or virtual planners, we don’t go anywhere without our GPS application and smartphone. If we started memorizing phone numbers, addresses, ID numbers, if we ditched the GPS and started using a map once in awhile, we will definitely see a marked improvement in our memory.
Reading has always been underestimated. Not to mention in our era, where books are rare and reading is considered hipster activity :)
In fact, reading is an amazing way to boost your brainpower. Scientists say that people who read a lot rarely get Alzheimer’s disease. Reading is a great way to trigger your imagination, which is a tool to train your mind, it relieves tension and stress.
5. Eat well.
Nutrition plays a significant role in our brain health — that is no surprise. Getting the right kind of nutrition is proving more and more difficult nowadays — we have to read labels in order to avoid toxic substances and we have to make efforts in order to purchase food that comes from natural sources.
Antioxidants and amino acids are particularly important, and vitamin E can also be beneficial. Drinking wine is known to improve your cognitive function — assuming you consume it in moderation — and nuts, blueberries, whole grains, and avocados are also beneficial. What’s good for your body also tends to be good for your brain.
Another tip we can give you is not to skip breakfast and include as much vitamin B, omega-3 fatty acids, fresh fruit and vegetables daily.
Since we brought up food, we couldn’t possibly leave sleep out. Sleep removes the blinders and helps “reset” your brain to look at problems from a different perspective. As research shows it, after sleeping you perform better, you feel recharged, your memory and learning capabilities are boosted, you are more calm and more focused. Just by adding 20 more minutes to your sleep every day, you already boost your chances of performing 2–3 times better at work or school.
Sleep deprivation, on turn, can be catastrophic. Creativity, thinking, cognitive functioning, problem solving, memory, all these are tied to getting enough sleep and when you don’t, all these are affected.
We know it’s hard to find time to sleep when there’s so much to do, but it could help if you made a habit out of turning off all electronic devices at least 30 minutes before going to sleep and getting at least 7 hours of sleep every night.
This is another topic worth exploring, because so little is yet known in our modern world about the benefits of meditation for the brain. The simple habit of relaxing your body and mind 10–15 minutes a day will reduce your stress levels and focus span.
There are plenty of studies on Magnetic Reasoning Imaging that show how meditation thickens the areas related to cognitive processing, emotional well being, awareness and retention, how it helps organize thought, making mental associations a lot easier and it can also prevent age-related disorders such as Alzheimer’s or dementia.
8. Get some sun.
Vitamin D is essential to the performance of our brain and can even slow down its aging. There are many studies that show we are a generation who lacks vitamin D and part of the problem is the fact that we spend too much time indoors and too little time outdoors.
Find the time of the day that suits most your need to be out in the daylight and have your coffee on the terrace or just enjoy for 10 minutes the way the sun feels on your face.
9. Don’t Smoke.
Don’t throw eggs, but research shows that smoking can cause your hippocampus to shrink and reduce cognitive function. According to Charles DeCarli, MD, with the University of California at Davis in Sacramento, “People with diabetes in middle age lost brain volume in the hippocampus (measured indirectly using a surrogate marker) at a faster rate than those without diabetes. Smokers lost brain volume overall and in the hippocampus at a faster rate than non-smokers.
So if you are a smoker here’s another reason to quit. If you aren’t, here’s another reason to never start. Non-Smokers are nearly twice as likely to stay sharp in old age as those who smoke.
10. Learn something new. Always.
But the best workout you can give to your brain is to always learn new things. As much as possible, of course. The best way to keep your brain accustomed to doing its job is run it through the process of learning something new regularly.If you stick to the well-worn paths of the stuff you already know your brain isn’t going to keep developing and growing.
From time to time forget the patterns you are used to and try something new — a new route to work, a new recipe for dinner, knitting, learning an instrument or a foreign language. There is however a rule to this — you won’t do things just because it’s good to do them, but because you enjoy doing them. Otherwise the benefits are little for an unhappy brain :) Enjoyment is an important part of learning and maintaining your brain’s health and boosting its power. If you like what you’re doing there is more likelihood that you’ll continue to be engaged and to learn.
Habits and Perseverance
We will give you that — it’s easy to see what should be done, but it’s not easy to do it and keep the habit for more than a few days :)
Improving our brain is however a thing of habit and habits take time to build. Don’t expect a sudden, complete makeover of your life, but rather aspire to a baby-steps approach — one or two things are a time.
If you are perseverent, making the correct lifestyle choices will help you maintain a sound mind in a sound body for years to come.
At TRISOFT, we believe that simply by doing a little more exercise, some cognitive training, and socializing you can improve your brain power — which will improve your ability to optimize your life’s potential, have fun, and feel good about yourself.