9 Fun Ways To Boost your Brain Magic Today
There’s nothing worse than days where you can’t shake that fuzzy-headed feeling, no matter how many vanilla lattes you guzzle down. And when we live our lives at breakneck speed, working constantly and rarely getting enough sleep, those brain fogs can happen way more than we’d like. Thankfully, there are tons of fun activities to supercharge your brainpower and help get your mind palace back up and running! So put down that fifth cappuccino, because here are nine ways to boost your Brain Magic today!
1. Get that body moving
We all know exercise is good for the body, but did you know it’s also excellent for the mind? According to Scientific American:
“Research shows that when we exercise, blood pressure and blood flow increase everywhere in the body, including the brain. More blood means more energy and oxygen, which makes our brain perform better.”
Exercise also stimulates the hippocampus, the part of our brain that controls memory. That means when we get busy working our glutes, our cognitive functions are getting their own one on one session with a personal trainer. Studies have even found that regular exercise can actually reverse the typical wearing down of the hippocampus that occurs with age. So go for a jog and help your brain feel young again in no time!
2. Feed your brain with music
Learning to play an instrument is basically a magic elixir when it comes to strengthening the brain. The benefits of making music include boosting your memory as well as your reading skills, and teaching you to multitask. How does playing music accomplish all this?
“Because music requires the ability to process sound, sight, and touch at the same time, it leads to superior multi-sensory skills.”
What’s most amazing is that even if you only played an instrument as a child, the benefits continue long into adulthood. Music permanently improves the way your brain works. It also enhances executive function, which basically means music helps you to live more productively. If this hasn’t convinced you to immediately sign up for piano lessons, I don’t know what will.
3. Doodle away
If someone caught you doodling during a lecture, you might feel the need to apologize for focusing on your notebook decoration instead of paying attention. Doodlers, take comfort, because science has proven there’s actually a benefit to the act of doodling. For starters, doodling actually helps with memory. According to a study, by doodling while taking notes or listening to a presentation, your brain becomes just occupied enough that it doesn’t tune out completely. That way, it actually helps you better retain the information instead of zoning out. It’s also a chance to express your feelings in an artistic capacity. What may seem like a meaningless doodle is actually an outlet to de-stress and keep your energy focused on the task at hand.
4. Learn to say hello to the world
The greatest benefit of learning a new language, besides being able to ask where the bathroom is wherever you go, is that it helps you concentrate. Specifically, studies have shown becoming bi- or multilingual gives your brain a workout by having to constantly switch back and forth between multiple languages. In simple terms, at any given moment, a bilingual brain is working twice as hard as a monolingual one. Speaking a second language also teaches your brain to listen more carefully and focus better. And on top of all that, there’s the added benefit that speaking multiple languages opens doors to a wider world experience. The more languages you speak, the more people you can talk to and build relationships with!
5. Puzzle it out
Jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles, word searches, and Sudoku all help juice up your Brain Magic by activating both the logical and the creative sides of the brain simultaneously. According to the MacArthur Study,
“Jigsaw puzzles and other mind-flexing activities can actually lead to a longer life expectancy, a better quality of life, and reduce our chances of developing certain types of mental illness, including memory loss, dementia, and even Alzheimer’s Disease (by an amazing third).”
Meanwhile, crossword puzzles improve your vocabulary, teach you to focus, and help with general problem solving skills. The only problem you’ll still have to solve is how to not be smug when you finish that crossword puzzle before everyone else.
6. Get lost in a good book
Aside from being super entertaining and an excellent way to pass the time, reading gives your brain a heaping dose of the smarts. Not only does it expand your vocabulary, knowledge of language, and communication skills, it also boosts your emotional intelligence by exposing you to new ideas and worlds. And it doesn’t matter what genre you choose. Reading any type of fiction increases brain activity. But you don’t have to take our word for it. In studies done by the Journal of American Academy of Neurology, the brains of readers go through a slower memory decline than people who don’t read on a regular basis. So crack open a good book! We’d be happy to make some recommendations of amazing female authors to check out…
7. Clear your mind with meditation
Meditation and science, two things that don’t seem to go together but in fact are totally connected. When practiced regularly, meditation can literally change the way your brain processes things and thereby boost both productivity and overall quality of life. Basically, learning to focus and control your thoughts erodes the negative associations we build up in our brains, leaving them open to make new, positive connections. In Psychology Today, Dr. Rebecca Gladding explains through daily meditation:
“You are able to see yourself and everyone around you from a clearer perspective, while simultaneously being more present, compassionate and empathetic with people no matter the situation.”
And when you’re thinking clearly, nothing can stand in the way of your Brain Magic.
8. Push your brain out of its comfort zone
New experiences can be both exciting and scary, and that’s why they’re so good for your brain! Imagine you went to the gym every day and only worked out your arm muscles. After awhile, those muscles would be huge and beefy, but the rest of you’d still be a scrawny beanpole. The same idea works for your brain. By serving it a diet of varied activities, you can make sure to exercise every part of your mind. For example, if you love to cook, try making dinner with ingredients you’ve never used before. Attempt a sport you’ve never tried. Instead of returning to your favorite vacation spot, pick someplace new and exotic where you’ll have to work harder to find your way around. New experiences mean a fresh new brain!
9. Get in touch with all five senses
Keeping one’s senses in good working condition definitely helps invigorate the brain, but unfortunately, our sight, hearing, smell, and taste grow duller with every passing year. Instead of cursing the sands of time, there’s plenty you can do to keep both your senses, and in turn your brain, healthy and vibrant. To improve your sense of smell, inhale strong scents like freshly ground coffee or an especially fragrant bouquet. For hearing, listen to jazz music, which encompasses a variety of different instruments that are constantly in flux. By hearing and picking out these varying musical components, you’ll strengthen your hearing and focus. While eating, close your eyes as you chew and swallow to focus on the taste and texture of the food in your mouth. Sounds a little strange, but the experience will help hone your ability to recognize sensory patterns and better senses mean a stronger brain!