25- Tips to improve your brain power

“A person’s mind is so powerful. We can invent, create, experience and destroy things with thoughts alone.”

Every action we take has its roots in the brain. We first think of ideas then implement them physically. Our experiences of emotions, pain etc. are first triggered in the brain and then it sends in signals to the body, hence we “feel” them.

A body without brain is not really functional. The whole system is dependent on the brain itself.

Why is it important to improve your brain power?

We often come across facts that tell us to exercise the body, to keep it young, strong and intact. It is true in terms of the brain as well. Since it has immense potential to develop, we need to make the brain workout in order to improve upon its power. 

Here are some tips with which we can develop our brain power:

1. Yoga:

benefits of yoga

Time and now, there have been proven facts of the benefits of yoga on the body as well as mind. Not only do the yoga poses help us relax and de-stress, but they may actually increase our brain function. A short, 20-minute session of Hatha yoga might improve focus and information retention, according to the University of Illinois.

A supported head-stand can also help supply ample of blood towards the brain.

For an even functioning of the brain, a regular 10-minute practice of Prayanama can also be very helpful. The approximate requirement of a fully developed brain is about 20 percent of the body’s oxygen. A continuous flow of blood is necessary for the brain to meet the intense demand of the neurons and a uniform breathing practice like Prayanama can be extremely beneficial.

A supported head-stand, also known as Sirsasana, can also help supply ample of blood towards the brain.

2. Exercise:

Exercise

Not necessarily a complete workout but even swimming, a small run, dance or bicycling can benefit the functioning of the brain, cognition and even help enlarge the hippocampus, i.e. the catalyst for long term memory in the brain. The heart rate helps blood flow in the brain, thus helping in keeping the memory sharp.

3. Eat Right- Be Bright:

Eat Right- Be Bright

What we eat has a vast effect on the functions of the brain. Fresh fruits and vegetables and plenty of OMEGA 3 oils found in oily fish are rich sources of nutrients that the brain requires.Soseeds and nuts like flaxseeds, walnuts and almonds are also rich sources that can help improve the functionality of the brain.

4. Sleep:

Sleep

Memory and concentration are crucial in day to day living. If we fail to remember even a tiny bit of information, we might end up having big losses.

Lack of sleep or sleep deprivation can be a major cause of a diminished memory. It is scientifically proven than even when a person sleeps, the brain does not stop working and it works with the same intensity as it does when the person is awake. When we are deeply asleep, the nerve cells in the brain charge many little electrical circuits that handle the memory and concentration of the brain.

Thus, a sufficient amount of sleep also proves to be an important aspect in smoother functioning of the brain.

5. Meditate:

meditation has been an integral part of Indian history

For years, meditation has been an integral part of Indian history. Even the western people have started adapting to various techniques of meditation as well after understanding how it can help the mind stay young and healthy. Meditation increases the concentration power as we become more focused on the present.

Early mornings are the best time to meditate. Simply sitting cross-legged, focusing between your eyebrows and paying attention on your breathing; doing this just for 5 minutes and eventually increasing it to 15 minutes daily can make notable changes in a person. The mind becomes calm and a calm mind always works better.

6. Train the Brain:

Train the Brain

In the present day, we are so used to storing things rather than memorizing them. We tend to forget names and numbers of people whom we meet briefly, unlike the old times when people would use their brains rather than gadgets to store and recall things like these.

The brain needs a constant run. Remember, in childhood, while learning for examinations, we would repeat something in order to memorize it? Similarly, we need to develop a habit to push in data into our brains to remember it; To start with, phone numbers, your debit/credit card number, driving license etc. Solving mathematical problems without using a calculator can also prove to be a great exercise for memory retention. This habit will not only be beneficial for recalling stuff but it will also train the brain remember better.

7. Positive thinking:

Positive thinking

Stress, anxiety, depression are some of the outcomes of negative thoughts. These can be responsible for killing existing brain neurons and also stop new neurons from being formed. Neurons are crucial for transmitting nerve signals throughout the body which help humans react to the environment.

For example, if we accidentally dip our finger in hot boiling water, this sensation is carried by the ascending neurons to the Central Nervous System and the reaction of immediately retrieving the finger is carried by the descending neurons. If the finger is not retrieved, it will burn.

Positive thoughts help maintain these neurons. Being hopeful, optimistic, cheerful decrease cortisol and produces serotonin that helps in creating a sense of comfort. This helps the brain to function at its peak capacity.

8. Try something new:

Try something new

Going about in usual ways will surely make your brain memorize the function but trying some new ways to do the same thing will help the brain form new ideas which will create new neural pathways; this in turn can help increase intelligence.

You can learn a new language, an instrument, an art form or anything that doesn’t come under your regular routine.

9. Read different things:

Read different things

Think of your brain as an immense storage system, waiting to be filled with a large amount of knowledge. Reading will not only store new stuff but will also help in developing your creativity.

Say for example, you read the biography of a famous person; you will understand the way how he/she had thought. This will help you view things from a different perspective than your own.

10. Explore your creative side:

sand therapy

Psychologists use various therapies like sand therapy, music therapy, color therapy, etc, which come under the category of expressive therapies. These do not have any specific pattern to follow; rather it is their abstract nature that brings out the best results. How can this improve upon the brain power is it can help express the creative side or may be the side that one is inexpressive about overtly.

All the above discussion proves that the brain requires positivity to function effectively, functions that boost its creativity and wellbeing, discipline so that external or negative factors do not disrupt its harmony. Accordingly, by utilizing some of the tips mentioned in this article, readers can actually bring about a perceptible change or improvement in their brain power.

11. Write:

Write

The brain is a large storage system that accumulates all the memories. Recollecting good old past memories and writing them down like trying to describe the events as they occurred, the emotion that you felt during that time, the atmosphere around you, will help boost your recollection power. This way you will encourage your mind to put your thoughts into words, which is a good exercise.

12. Listen to music:

Listen-to-music

There have been researches about how listening to music can help in concentrating while studying. The research conducted by the Stanford University School of Medicines showed how old musical techniques, which were used over 200 years ago, helped sort out the information being received by the brain.

Try studying in a room, with music audible enough for your own listening. Practicing this on a regular basis might help you focus better. Soft music has a calming effect on the brain that helps improve concentration on the material you are trying to study.

13. Try cooking:

Try cooking

Think of a cup hot coffee kept in front of you that you just ordered. You first get the aroma of it, you look at how perfectly it is made as per your requirement, then as you sip, you taste it; the coffee by itself could awaken 3 of your senses together.

Similarly, cooking can help you learn new dishes, at the same time awaken your senses while you cook, which can be a great activity for your brain. So, not only eating the right food but also cooking can help activate various parts of the brain.

14. Avoid certain foods and drinks like the following:

Avoid certain foods

While eating right can help boost the brain power, it is also important to avoid certain foods to keep the functioning of the brain right. Deakin University and the Australian National University have researched on the effect of unhealthy and junk food on the brain and have shown that it leads to poor mental health. It has a major effect on the size of the hippocampus.

15. Map new locations:

Map-new-locations

UK-based researcher Prof John O’Keefe as well as May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser, won a Nobel Prize for discovering the “brain GPS” which is based on the idea that the brain knows how to find the way from one place to another.

A good form of exercise, in this matter for the brain, would be roughly mapping out the places where you have already been. This will help the brain to clearly remember the locations and ways and you might as well not need the GPS system to navigate you to the places you’ve already been before.

16. Challenge your brain:

how chess improves upon various brain skills

There have been several researches conducted on how chess improves upon various brain skills. In his research summary, Dr. Robert Ferguson (a cardiologist in NorthEast Georgia Diagnostic Clinic) mentioned the improvement of his subjects on critical thinking and good judgment.

Likewise, other games requiring critical thinking and logical reasoning like Sudoku, puzzles, riddles, etc. can prove to be of major impact on enhancing the brain power.

17. A long term goal:

A long term goal

Viktor Frankl, a psychiatrist, who is well known for his Existential analysis discovered the importance of finding the importance, a meaning in all forms of existence, even the most brutal ones; he was a survivor of the Nazi concentration camp (Death camp). Even in the worst situations, when we have purpose to look up to, we can survive.

If survival can be a product of finding importance to meaning to life, think how much a goal can change the quality of our living. When we have a goal, we keep working; we have something or the other to reflect upon. It’s not very essential that each and everything will go as per our plans but what is important is our mind remains occupied and active which in turn makes us happy, live longer and have an improver mental health.

 18. Take a break from daily routine:

Take a break from daily routine

It is always essential to balance things. While keeping yourself occupied is significantly important, taking a break from the usual routine is as important.

“When you are constantly draining your resources, you are not being as productive as you can be. If you get depleted, we see performance decline. You’re able to persist less and have trouble solving tasks.”says Allison Gabriel, an assistant professor of management at Virginia Commonwealth University who studies job demands and employee motivation.

 19. Use the non-dominant hand:

Use the non-dominant hand

We are aware that the right hemisphere controls the left side of the body and the left hemisphere controls the right side of the body. When we constantly use our dominant hand, the opposite side of the brain is in action; so when we try using our non-dominant hand for various tasks, we are bringing the other hemisphere in action.

Some other similar practices were stated by Dr. Lawrence Katz who also established the term Neurobics. Apart from using the non-dominant hand, it includes daily activities with a twist, like shopping at a different place than usual, taking up a completely new activity, folding clothes with your eyes closed, etc.

 20. Spend time with friends:

Spend time with friends

We feel relaxed and be ourselves with a bunch of people who we call friends. Friends can help us relax our mind from stressful schedules. Notice how good you feel just by taking to a friend about any problem. When we are dealing with challenges, our mind feels heavy. Even though they don’t provide you with a solution to your problems, they are the ones who understand and listen to you. This by itself makes you feel at ease. Hugging a friend has proven to release hormones that reduce stress, which is again good for the health of your brain.

21. Aromatherapy:

Aromatherapy

It is a proven fact that the brain needs a lot of oxygen to function properly.The result of lack of oxygen can be lack of concentration and difficulty in focusing.Essential oils have been a part of healing procedures since historical times. The various essential oils used in aromatherapy promote deeper breathing that helps in supplying more oxygen to the brain.

 22. Martial Arts:

Martial Arts

Some of the recognized art forms like karate and kickboxing can help to improve focus. The practice of such art forms develops reflexes. The spontaneous response required while practicing this art form makes the brain alert to any kind of external attack.

 23. Silence your phone:

Silence your phone

Now-a-days, all conversations are via phone. Sometimes even when two people are sitting in the same room, conversations are via the various chatting applications. Again, with these chats, there are also other needless notifications constantly demanding our attention. No matter what you are doing, the alert tone that we set for our phones grab our attention and our mind sticks to the phone till the time we open and view it.  It very similar to the theory of Classical Conditioning put forth by Pavlov of stimulus and response.

Silencing the phone once in a while can help redirect our attention on the real happening in the surrounding; it is a kind of reconditioning for the mind to avoid unnecessary usage of attention.

24. Look at pictures of nature:

Getting in tune with nature

Writer David Gessner, who is a nature writer says, “Science is proving what we’ve always known instinctively; nature makes us healthier, happier, and smarter.”

The very core of human being is nature. Getting in tune with nature not only will make one feel revitalized but also will help getting back in touch with your foundation.

Some Australian researchers state that merely by observing nature or even fixing our eyes and observing pictures of nature, for a few seconds can boost brain power.

25. Be organized:

Be organized

Keeping your work-station clean is another way to maintain the clarity in your head. What you constantly observe outside is how you feel inside the brain. If the outside is messy, your thoughts are more likely to be in a mess too.

Imagine your things kept in proper places and you have them handy when you look for them, in a similar manner, looking for a solution in a clear head is always easier.

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