Learning is an everyday process we come face to face with and a vital part of our life. It shows new knowledge so we can basically survive, and much more, enjoy what could actually be achieved.
The value of making up your mind to learn another new lesson is priceless. But you have to make sure you’re indeed able to embrace it and it’s going to stick. In such a case, a conditioned mind may be all you need.
Here are tips on how to sharpen your mind.
1. Stay active. (Take note, there’s a minimum!)
Exercise makes you feel better, perhaps entirely due to the fact that it makes you healthier. You know it already, but sometimes thinking about it just makes you rather lie on your back and be lazy in general. Don’t give in to the temptation. Get up and move!
Scientifically speaking, aerobic activity raises the levels of brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF), a protein good for long-term memory. Also, the hippocampus, the most important part of the brain for memory, enlarges due to increased blood flow to the brain. In other words, physical activity is good for your brain.
You’ll find countless reasons exercise is great (unless when not done properly). But you’ll also find a million excuses not to do it. Like the adage says, when you want something, you’ll find a way.
Think about how little time you can actually allot for “adequate” exercise—150 minutes a week for moderate activities like brisk walking, or 75 minutes for the more energetic like jogging. Note that these figures can be tucked in your schedule for the week, not for the day. You can even break these numbers into low 10-minute intervals as long as you meet the “required” duration for the week. Now, ain’t that convenient?
2. What do you eat? How do you drink?
Most of the time, what’s good for your heart is also good for your brain.
Fruits, leafy green vegetables and whole grains are great foods to start with. Then test your meticulousness by searching for grubs with healthy fats, lean protein, antioxidants and omega-3.
Are you a drinker? Did you know that having literally just one drink does you alright? Research shows that moderate alcohol consumption increases levels of HDL, the good cholesterol that improves the condition of blood, which reaches the brain. Red wine, experts believe, is the best drink at one glass a day for women and two glasses for men.
Avoiding such foods and drinks may lead to faster memory loss. Keep these in mind whenever you prepare the table (or are on a night out!) This is a great tip on how to sharpen your mind, but remember, anything in excess will most probably be bad.
3. Or chew gum in the meantime.
Believe it or not, moving your jaw rhythmically heightens blood flow in regions close to your brain, like your jaw is close to it! Thus, you can enhance your concentration and focus on whatever you’re on, no matter how difficult it is.
Go on, pop a bubble!
4. Sleep, nap, nap, sleep.
Experts believe that if they’d pick only one pointer to sharpen the mind, sleep would be it. Take 7 to 9 hours of nighttime sleep, and two nap breaks during the day (okay, one is enough). If you haven’t experienced the power of a mighty nap already, try 15 or 30 minutes of it and feel how your mind (and heart) refreshes. Did you know that naps as short as 6 minutes can boost your brainpower?
Avoid replacing sleep by drinking coffee if you can. Drinking coffee instead of just sleeping away may impair your memory in exchange of the usually temporary boost in alertness and concentration.
Sleep is beneficial across many aspects of life that setting time for it is simply indispensable.
5. Love people and laugh.
Love people, inside and out of your home.
Interacting with people with a light heart wards off stress, which stands in the way of healthy mental exercise. Be social, as human beings are social.
Aside from signs that laughter activates areas in the brain that are vital for learning and creativity, laughter seems to always be the best dress you could wear to make connecting with other people deeper, more meaningful and simply happier! When you laugh, you remind yourself that you can shoo off any negativities that tease your mind. Guard your mind from discouraging thoughts and fill it with wisdom. Studies show that maintaining relationships can also lengthen your life.
You’ve got to love to learn. You’ve got to love to live!
6. Brain games are not limited to games.
Now, there are two important points here: you look to do an activity that will make your brain work; and you make sure you have fun doing it.
Sudoku, crossword puzzles, Chinese checkers, even jigsaw puzzles are examples of brain games. These games need problem-solving and analytical skills, good memory, and creativity, sometimes combined with a sense of urgency. It has been found that the skills perfected in such games can be used in other activities of totally different nature.
Tasks or activities new to us are very similar to brain games such that our senses are basically heightened due to unfamiliarity and for us to solve a particular problem, sometimes simply to get by.
You most probably have an interest you haven’t tried before—playing the guitar, knitting, juggling, taking a dance lesson, or the quest to mastering your left hand (if you’re right-handed). Activities like these will hone your eye-hand coordination and spatial-temporal reasoning.
You can even create your own game, think “memory game.” Match two features of people you just met, like their name and the state they’re from.
Knowing how to sharpen your mind could actually be fun!
7. Distance from quick references once in a while.
Taking down notes has always been one of the greatest practical ideas. And in this age, finding valuable information can be done so swiftly.
But sometimes, fully relying on your brain can do wonders.
Memorize phone numbers and email addresses of your family and close friends. If you’ve listed five items to buy at the grocery, try forming an acronym. If you think you forgot something you already know, spend a little time recalling it before rushing to the internet.
8. Consider reading.
Rene Descartes once said, “The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries.” This, along with recent findings that reading pushes the growth of new neurons and synapses in the brain, should be a perfect motivation for you to broaden and sharpen your mind by reading.
9. When you’re not paying attention, you’re multitasking.
You should be in the now in all that you do, from undertaking a big project to putting your smartphone in the third drawer of your desk. Learning and remembering come together. Even the smallest of details can be retrieved. Treat different information as equally as possible. Take the time to “pay attention” to one specific subject matter, or any thought on your mind, but don’t let another issue from an entirely different story interfere with your thought process.
10. Believe in yourself.
One of the most important ways to sharpen your mind is standing up for your decision to do so, like anything else. When you believe you have poor brain function and merely accept it as it is, you essentially give up the courage to actually try working on improving it, thus you allow cognitive decline.
When you believe in something, you will find ways to make it happen—always remember that. Even bad vibes brought by hardships can be managed if you simply set your mind toward your goals.
Think About It
Taking care of your mind isn’t necessarily about knowing everything. In fact, knowing everything may not be that beneficial; a lot of information isn’t needed. Recognizing only what you need and making a point that they become instilled in you to help you reach your goals faster while efficiently are what truly matter. Follow these tips on how to sharpen your mind. Like a tiny seedling, let the bits of information grow into big and flourishing ideas that would help you build a system to sustain you until you achieve any success you want—success that simply started from the mind.
Speak Your Mind (No Pun Intended, Of Course)
How do you sharpen your mind? What common obstacles do you find that keep you from doing so? Tell us what you think by writing away your comments below!