Your brain is a supercomputer that is capable of processing and storing massive amounts of data. Just like a computer, our cognitive functions all depend on how we take care of our “computer”(brain). If we don’t give our brain the chance to charge or reorganize, we may find ourselves with reduced cognitive function such as memory loss, incoherency, or attention deficits.
Here are 20 ways to boost brain power, a few of these may surprise you…
1. Play Puzzles
A health study from Harvard University revealed that puzzles such as crosswords, word finders, and sudoku, “may help sharpen certain thinking skills that tend to wane with age, such as processing speed, planning skills, reaction time, decision making and short-term memory.”
Studies show that dancing can improve memory, as well as several other brain functions.
At the Albert Einstein College Of Medicine, it was found in a study that dancing reduced risks of dementia among 76% of participants.
3. Learn A New Skill
One of the best ways to boost brain power is to learn a new skill.
Creating new neural pathways in the brain is quite literally a mental exercise, and just like our muscles, exercising makes them stronger.
4. Listen To Music
According to John Hopkins Medicine, listening to music can reduce blood pressure, and anxiety, which both serve as distractions from concentration.
Listening to music can also improve mental alertness, memory, mood, and sleep quality, all of which increase cognitive function.
Meditation offers many different benefits for the mind and body.
Primarily, practicing meditation is an excellent way to reduce stress, high blood pressure, and distracting thoughts.
In a study done at the University of Waterloo, it was discovered that practicing yoga for just 25 minutes improved energy levels, emotional awareness, and critical thinking among participants.
6. Practice Tai Chi
Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art that is practiced for self defense training, health benefits, and for meditation.
Scientists from the University of South Florida found in a study that Tai Chi increases brain volume, and improves memory if practiced three times per week.
7. Play Chess
Chess is one of the most popular board games in the world for a reason, as there are so many benefits this game has on the brain.
- Improves memory.
- Increases processing speed.
- Elevates creative thinking abilities.
- Enhances planning skills.
- Reduces symptoms of ADHD.
- Enables the players to recognize multiple perspectives.
If you don’t have a chess board in your home by now, its highly recommended that you pick one up as soon as you can.
8. Physical Exercise
Daily physical activity is essential if you want your brain to operate at its peak performance.
Physical exercise stimulates brain plasticity by creating new cellular connections across important cortical areas of the brain. This makes it easier for the brain to create new neural connections, which is another way of saying “learning and remembering”.
Exercising is not as big of a commitment as you might think, some light yoga before bed or a walk around the neighborhood is always better than nothing.
Your brain needs sleep like a car needs gasoline; Without it, your brain would breakdown and would not function.
When you sleep, your brain removes toxins that build up throughout the day, nerve cells communicate and reorganize, and the brain stores new information into the “long term memory compartment” of the brain(hippocampus).
If you’ve ever heard someone say “maybe you just need to sleep on it”, that might be exactly what you need to improve performance.
Your brain operates more effectively without the presence of stress.
Laughter releases serotonin, making your brains emotional response to stress less intense.
11. Get More Sunlight
Sunlight has the same effect on the brain as laughter, it releases serotonin making the brain less emotionally responsive to stress.
12. Play Video Games
In a study done by the University College London, it was found that certain video games improved multitasking skills, decision making, and cognitive flexibility, among its 72 participants.
Playing video games may not be this “waste of time”, that our parents always said they were.
13. Eat Well
Eating a healthy diet benefits your mind, body, and especially your energy levels.
Take a look at our article 10 Superfoods That Will Boost Your Energy To Full Power for a full list of foods that boost energy levels and brain power.
14. Practice Yoga
Yoga is an incredible practice for the mind and body.
Practicing yoga has been linked to enhanced reaction time, memory, coordination, among many other heightened brain functions.
If you’re interested in adding yoga to your daily routine, read Why All Men Need To Practice Yoga.
15. Organize Your Space
An organized space is an organized mind.
The mind becomes distracted by physical clutter just as much as mental clutter. One of the best things you can do before starting a project, is to organize your space before-hand.
16. Have Sex
Surprisingly, having sex promotes cellular growth in the hippocampus. This increases brain functions such as memory, verbal fluency, and visual perception.
Just in case you needed an excuse …
17. Stay Hydrated
Drinking water improves brain health by increasing blood flow and oxygen to the brain. This helps improve mood, concentration, and reduces stress.
According to Mayo Clinic, men should consume 15.5 cups(3.7 liters) of water per day on average. This is of course a variable, since you have to take into consideration factors such as environmental humidity, your level of physical activity, or consumption of things like caffeine and alcohol.
Talk to your doctor about how much water you should consume on a daily basis.
18. Take Vitamins
Research shows that vitamins such as B12, B6, B9, and E improve memory, reduce blood pressure, and provide the brain the energy it needs to produce new neural pathways, making it easier to learn new things.
19. Drink Coffee
Coffee is a great resource if you need a temporary boost to your brain power.
The caffeine in coffee provides a temporary boost your central nervous system. Which in turn, enhances alertness, response time, and concentration.
It is important to note that coffee is not for everyone as it can produce side effects such as paranoia, sleeplessness, and high blood pressure.
Journaling is an excellent way to improve memory, cognitive processing, and reading comprehension.
Aside from the cognitive benefits, journaling also increases emotional awareness, lifestyle organization, and can release serotonin in the brain, resulting in better moods.