It’s not the amount of time you spend doing something, but the quality of it that determines its acceptance. In the fiercely competitive world, you cannot afford to slow down. Infact, you need to raise your game consistently to meet the growing demands. The best athletes, sportspersons, businessmen, professionals are all mindful of this fact. They put deliberate efforts to improve themselves; they take care of their brain & mental conditioning too.
In many ways, the mental sharpness and agility become the sole differentiators of the top achievers from others. The human brain is one of the most mysterious and fascinating things in the world. The increasing research into the human brain unravels interesting things on how to improve it.
While some people’s cognitive abilities decline, others seem to maintain and even improve their cognitive abilities as they age. It’s quite astonishing. Here we look at how to keep your brain young, sharp and creative:
Exercise is as important for the body as it is for the brain. Exercise helps memory, thinking and brain functions through direct and indirect means. Several studies have shown that the part of the brain that controls thinking and memory (hippocampus) have larger volume in persons who exercise than others who do not.
Daily exercise such as running, biking, swimming, aerobics, strength training, yoga etc. for 20-45 minutes can have immense benefits including brain functioning. Exercise helps brain to retain its capacity and reduce its aging process. It also helps to build new cells to keep a person’s brain young and sharp.
2. Mental stimulation
Doing things that stimulate your brain is helping in keeping your brain young. It could be solving brain teasers, puzzles, painting, drawing and craft etc. When the brain is challenged with new information and stimulation, it activates synapses in the brain. The ability to recall things and focus also improves when brain is actively involved and stimulated.
There are thousands of published researches and studies highlighting the benefits of meditation for human brain and mind. Our brains are constantly churning thoughts and wandering. But meditation helps one attain a state of thoughtlessness for relaxation. It not only improves the cognitive abilities, focus and memory but also makes one stress free.
As per a study conducted on the US military, it helps their troops deal with stress, improves their cognitive resilience and increases their ability to focus. Meditation helps one to reduce their thoughts and have a balanced state of mind.
Writing is a process of expressing oneself. It helps a person articulate their subconscious beliefs, thoughts and how they view things. The best professionals in any field are methodical. They create a systematic and organised list of their activities and then complete the tasks.
The writing process organises your thoughts and helps your brain stay focused. “Writing by hand helps keep the mind dexterous and assists in solidifying memories,” says Kelsey Poe, Director of Marketing & Sales at CMP.
5.Don’t shy away from Challenges:
Our brains and mental capacity is fluid, we build ourselves according to the challenges we handle in our life. When presented with something difficult or challenging, don’t run away from it. The more you expose yourself to difficult situations and tough assignments, the more you will grow from them.
Our brain capacities can be stretched in tough situations. It can be rewired to develop new capabilities and push your limits.
6.Be open to New Things, Learning and Experiences
The most successful people like to spend their spare time in learning. They are always trying to absorb knowledge, learn things and are open to new experiences. When the brain learns new activities, different parts of the brain get activated.
The new knowledge prevents brain from stagnation. The top professionals in any field keep themselves abreast of all the latest happenings and developments. They learn continually and it helps them see things in the right perspective.
7. Socialising and Bonding
Human beings are wired to stay connected with each other. The social interactions and relationships play a vital role in keeping a person happy. The interactions and conversations with friends and family are good for your brain.
As per Harvard health research, Strong social ties have been associated with a lower risk of dementia, as well as lower blood pressure and longer life expectancy.
Sleep deprivation can be harmful for your mental health. It can cause stress, decline in cognition and cause stress. Regular sleep is apparently required for memory, learning and cognitive abilities of a human being. A sleep deprived person can become stressed and anxious. It’s not necessarily good in the long run.
Sleep helps body and the brain to recuperate after a day work. It reenergises the body and the brain to perform to its best capabilities.
9.Being Mindful & Focused:
It’s easy to be busy without being productive. When you work with complete focus and attention, results are achieved with ease. The most successful persons are mindful, conscious and absorbed with the things they are pursuing. Practicing mindfulness even in simplest activities like brushing your teeth, bathing, driving to work, chores, etc is helpful for improving focus.
Bill Gates used to drive a different route on the way home from work every day to stimulate his brain. It also helped him stay mindful, conscious and focused. Talk about mundane tasks.
10.Practice Mastery & Flow:
Master your craft by deliberate practices. When you achieve depth and mastery in any field, it creates lighting sensation in your brain. Great scientists, sports persons, musicians, programmers and top executives etc often experience this highly focused mental state. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, an author and psychologist, described it as flow.
He said, people are happiest when they are in a state of flow—a state of concentration or complete absorption with the activity at hand and the situation. The flow is an optimal state of intrinsic motivation, where the person is fully absorbed in what he is doing.
Your brain is one of the greatest assets of nature. You can preserve it, nourish it and make it work to its full capacity by choosing consciously. The power of a human brain is unlimited and can be tapped by stimulating it the right way.