Whether you are a student looking for more efficient ways to digest what your teachers say, an adult trying to become more efficient at work or a senior citizen striving to maintain an active lifestyle, keeping your brain in shape is an important part of any self-improvement project.
Good news is that there are ways to make yourself smarter, improve your memory and physically develop your brain – and here are some of them.
No, we don’t mean any kind of cognitive exercise, although these certainly won’t hurt. What we mean is just plain old physical jerks, preferably done regularly.
Performing physical activities increases blood flow to the brain, encourages the production of nerve-protecting compounds, lessens the risks of cardiovascular diseases that hamper brain function and can lead to stroke – in other words, you simply can’t go wrong by moving about, the more the better.
Consume Omega-3 Fats
Low Omega-3 intake can even lead to an early onset of Alzheimer’s disease
Omega-3 fats such as Docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, are extremely important for the proper functioning of your entire organism and brain in particular – and, at the same time, they cannot be synthesized by your body.
The only way to get them is to consume them with food – but, unfortunately, products that contain high amounts of Omega-3 fats (e.g., fish, liver, brain) don’t play an important role in an average person’s diet. Low Omega-3 intake can even lead to an early onset of Alzheimer’s disease, and vice versa – people consuming high amounts of DHA are significantly less susceptible to it.
For a long time, people have been looking for a wonder drug that would heighten their brain capacity, make them cleverer and improve their efficiency in other ways. Perhaps nootropics cannot quite be called wonder brain drugs, but they are certainly the closest thing we have to this idea.
Different nootropics have different sets of effects, but in general, they are known to improve memory, both long-term and short-term, spatial awareness, learning capacity, logical thinking, coordination, reflexes and much more.
Write by Hands
You are likely to better remember the things you’ve written down
In our hectic age of texting and printing, advising somebody to write by hand may sound ridiculous, but facts cannot be changed by our attitude. And the facts suggest that writing by hand and reading handwritten notes develop brain areas that remain dormant when we type and read printed text.
In short term, you are likely to better remember the things you’ve written down. In the longer term, you will get generally better memory retention, analytical skills, and pattern recognition.
Eat More Products with Vitamin D
Vitamin D is crucial for developing and maintaining areas of the brain responsible for planning, memory formation, and information processing. You can boost your vitamin D simply by being in the sun more – proper sun exposure increases the rates at which your body produces this vitamin.
If it is impossible in your circumstances (for example, if you live in a location where sunny days are few and far between), you should consider taking a vitamin D supplement.
Try out a New Experience
Mastering a new skill creates new neuron routes in your brain
For example, master a completely new skill, take part in an activity you’ve never tried before, start learning a foreign language – whatever takes your fancy. Perhaps there is something you keep putting off until you have more time – why not do it right now, and benefit from it as well?
Mastering a new skill creates new neuron routes in your brain – in addition to the new skill per se, you will get an improved ability to learn in general.
Exercise Your Brain
If you want to use any opportunity to improve your brain, stop using your smartphone for all these trivial operations
Finally, about some brain exercises. If you don’t use something often, you forget how to do it – which is just as true for using your brain. It is amazing how dependent on various devices we became in a fairly short period of time.
So, if you want to use any opportunity to improve your brain, stop using your smartphone for all these trivial operations: doing sums and finding your way around using GPS immediately come to mind.
There are many ways to improve the work of your brain, ranging from simple exercises to dramatic changes in lifestyle – but if you really care about your health and efficiency, no price or effort is too big to pay.
This piece was first published in Life Hacks.