Sharpen your mind


Five Simple Brain Exercises
from Dr. Marie Savard

The premise of these brain aerobics or neurobics is to do familiar things, but do them slightly differently.

Switch Hands
So, a really easy thing to do is to try one of your daily activities -- brushing your teeth or dialing a phone number -- with your non-dominant hand.

I used my left hand to brush my teeth this morning and it's a lot harder than you realize. I really had to concentrate. And basically, what that does, apparently, is strengthen those pathways and connections in the opposite side of your brain.

Close Your Eyes
Try a safe activity, like eating or showering, with your eyes closed. That forces you to use and strengthen your other senses. Most of what your brain does is process what your senses are bringing in. So, closing your eyes forces the brain to process that information in new ways. But one thing you obviously shouldn't do with your eyes closed is drive.

Play Games
Games help you strategize, but the brain is particularly stimulated by multi-tasking. So, play games with other people that require you to strategize and interact socially at the same time. Examples include board, word and card games.

Don't Get Repetitive, Do Something Different
Introducing novelty is crucial. Your brain doesn't need anything complicated; it just needs something new. So, take a new way to work, or sit in a different seat. It forces you to look at the world from a new perspective. Read book or magazine upside down...

Watch What You Consume
You want to make sure to consume brain-boosting foods or supplements. Try antioxidants in food, such as berries, tea, and leafy greens. And you also want to consume fish oils, which also come in supplements.

We used to say it takes 21 tries to learn a new habit. But brain exercise is something you should be doing constantly throughout the day. Try to integrate it into all of your daily activities. We have to constantly reroute activities throughout the day. But a lifelong habit of challenging the brain gives you a greater reserve of mind muscle to use. Think of it as your retirement account. Add to your 401k of the brain so you have more to draw from when you need it.
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