Have you ever walked into a room and stopped in your tracks, wondering what brought you there? Or, perhaps at work you’ve opened a search engine only to blank out on what term you needed to find. Memory lapses like these are common, and they grow more and more frequent as we age. They can slow us down, whether at home or on the job.
But believe it or not, there are many ways you can build your brain function. Check out these five ideas to strengthen your brain.
1. Try Normal a New Way. A concept called neurobics, developed by Lawrence C. Ktaz, Ph.D. and Manning Rubin, advocates using your brain’s power to form new associations to strengthen brain functions. Their book, Keep Your Brain Alive, offers 83 ways you can integrate neurobics into your existing schedule – while you drive to work, on the job, and at home. Some of their ideas include
- Drive to work a different route.
- Brush your teeth with the other hand.
- Unlock the door with your eyes closed.
2. Exercise Your Brain. Prominent Japanese neuroscientist Ryuta Kawashima, M.D., advocates daily, short training of the brain to keep it in tip-top shape. Your brain, just like your body, works better when it’s exercised regularly. His book Train Your Brain: 60 Days to a Better Brain offers a daily program of simple math equations to strengthen brain functioning. For those who prefer a more active program, Kawashima is also the mind behind the popular Nintendo DS game Brain Age, which uses a variety of short games and tests to help you keep your brain up to speed.
3. Learn Something New. For most of us, after we graduate from high school or college, our pursuit of new knowledge bottoms out over time. This can slow down brain functions, because the process of learning actually helps create new pathways in your brain, keeping it spry. Simply learning basic vocabulary in a new language, taking up ballroom dancing, or learning to cook new things can keep your mind sharp.
4. Stay Active. That’s right, heading to the gym or walking with a buddy on a regular basis isn’t simply a good way to stay in your current jean size. A new study from Columbia University shows it’s a great way to fight memory loss related to aging as well.
5. Learn to Breathe. Most people practice this in the form of meditation. Taking a few minutes each day to find a quiet spot to breathe and reflect can help reduce stress, but it can also increase attention span and focus, both of which are critical to a good memory. In fact, researchers believe that focusing on a single image, sound or idea actually exercises the area of your brain that helps you pay attention.
Using these ideas can help you strengthen your brain and expand your memory capacity. How do you keep your brain sharp?