Feeling a little tired and jaded even though the year is yet
a pup? Boost your brain with these fun and easy exercises – they should keep your
grey matter well-oiled and performing at its peak even as you slide towards
Do things with your
Mixing things up has many benefits and because your brain
and hands are connected you can stimulate our mind by using your hands.
Giving your brain new experiences stimulates more
connections between different brain areas, improves memory and makes surrounding
cells more resistant to the effects of ageing, US-based neurobiologist Lawrence
C Katz explains.
So next time you brush your teeth, switch and brush with
your “wrong” hand. You can apply this principle in all sorts of ways –
buttoning your shirt, buttering bread, arranging flowers, you name it.
Turn things around
Another way to practise what the experts call “neurobics” is
to flip ordinary objects upside down.
When looking at something such as a picture on your wall or
an ornament on the mantelpiece, the left “verbal” brain is used to recognising
it, assessing it then taking your attention away.
But when something is upside down, the right side of your
brain is triggered as it recognises something is out of place and tries to
identify the object by shape, size and colour.
Another trick is to switch things around in your kitchen
cupboards. Your brain gets so used to where everything is it goes into
automatic mode – by rearranging things you’ll have to think next time you want
to make coffee.
Shower with eyes
Use your tactile sense by turning on the taps and washing
your hair and body with your peepers shut.
Trying to figure out which bottle is the shampoo and which
is the conditioner will train your brain to cope in situations when your sight
Switch it up
According to studies, simple everyday tasks stimulate the
cortex – the outer layer of the cerebrum – and increase brain activity levels.
But once a task becomes routine, brain activity declines and stagnates.
Change things to keep up the smarts: start each day with a
meditation session, walk the dog first thing, read while making a cup of coffee
– any little change will make a big difference.
Scan at the
Most of us switch to autopilot when we’re shopping for
groceries. Next time you reach for the tuna, scan the shelf from top to bottom
and find a brand you don’t recognise.
Pick it up and read the label. You don’t have to buy it to
get the benefit as you’ve already broken your routine, experienced something
new and exercised your brain.
Roll down the windows
The hippocampus, the area of your brain that processes
memories, is responsible for associating odours, sounds and sights to construct
Help it along by identifying new smells and sounds the next
time you leave the house. Opening the windows when you’re in the car is an easy
way to provide this important brain function with raw material.
Think in pictures
Imagery is an effective way to improve your memory, says Ian
Robinson, a Dublin-based psychology professor.
Research shows pictures activate more areas of our brain
than words, proving to be a powerful tool for recalling faces, names, events
“We’re brought up to think in pictures as children but as we
grow up we lose that ability,” he says.
Train your brain to do this by visualising each landmark the
next time you plan a route to somewhere or by picturing each item you write
down on your grocery list.
SOURCES: DAILYMAIL.CO.UK, RD.COM, FASTCOMPANY.COM