Brain Cross-Training by John Pierre

Brain Cross-Training

by John Pierre

 

Our brain, similar to our muscles, requires oxygen, nutrients, and stimulation for optimal functioning. Just as our physical performance increases with different and challenging fitness routines, the brain also benefits from mental “cross training” to expand its problem-solving skills, memory, and creativity. The mind can become complacent after a while, doing the same activities day in and day out. Not presenting unique stimuli can cause it to wither, much like a flower going without water for long durations. The more we exercise the brain in unique and unusual ways, the more we flourish by enjoying its increased capabilities. Try the following suggestions to improve mental abilities and challenge the brain:

 

• Use your non-dominant hand, leg, or appendage every day in a safe way. Write your name, push a button, and eat with the opposite hand (but don’t try to drive a car or pick up hot liquids with the non-dominant hand).

• Look for a new route to get to work or home.

• Read materials that may be more difficult and mentally demanding than your usual selections. If you read the sports section frequently, change it up and try the cooking feature first. If business news gets ignored, stimulate your brain by reading it anyway.

• Expanding your vocabulary is one of the best ways to challenge the brain. Try to learn a few new words every day, as well as their meanings, and use them daily in conversations.

• Challenge the brain with puzzles and games. Invest time in board games, online or printed puzzles, or television trivia shows. When watching a trivia show, try to figure out the answers before the contestants.

• Attempt to learn a foreign language. Even looking up a few new words and using them throughout the day is beneficial.

• Make up fun exercises such as reciting the months of the year in alphabetical order; counting by twos (2, 4, 6, 8) and then counting backward (8, 6, 4, 2) later changing the factor number to five (5, 10, 15), and then counting down backwards with the same factor number (15, 10, 5).

• An hour before going to bed, write down a list of all the significant happenings of the day: 9 A.M.: read a great article on brain health, 10 A.M.: worked on project, 11 A.M.: conference call, 12 P.M.: ate a nutritious vegetable salad, and so on.

• Embrace daydreaming, which is a right-brain, mind-expanding, creativity-liberating activity.

 

By exploring these mind-expanding ideas, your creativity will flourish and you’ll begin to enjoy greater cognitive function. Remember to flex your mental muscles often. Challenge your brain daily and appreciate its increased capabilities.

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