Don’t you just hate those days when you brain is as slow as a three-legged turtle? Chin up. You can boost your brainpower with ways you’ve probably never thought of before. What’s more – they’re scientifically proven. So strap on your thinking cap and flex your muscle memory by following these tips.
1. Increase Your Brain Power through Meditation
Studies show that meditating increases your cognitive ability, and just makes you feel good. This is because successful meditating forces you to calm down, and your brain to stop processing so much information.
We say “successful meditating” because if you’re not used to it, your first few forays into mindfulness can make your thoughts run on and on, and leave you even more anxious than when you started. When you’re busy multitasking, your brain cells are firing all at once at different frequencies (which some say makes you less productive).
But during meditation, and while beta wave activity is down, your brain cells are firing in sync. If you develop a habit of mindfulness, you’ll be able to concentrate better, focus more, and process information faster. (iO9)
2. Give Your Brain a Workout with Logic Puzzles and Video Games
You’ve no doubt heard that video games are good for boosting brain power, but did you know video games can help dyslexic children read better? Or that stroke victims can use it to recover faster?
“When individuals plan their movements and move deliberately in order to accomplish a specific goal, it is likely to have a positive impact on brain plasticity.” – HuffPost
Play a few rounds of Call of Duty and notice how, no matter your skill level, you somehow get better at it. You get better at using the controller, tapping out combinations for defensive and offensive moves, and can switch between weapons and shoot faster. Keep playing, and your reflexes will improve.
For stroke victims, these improvements are extremely important in rehabilitation. In the Tel Aviv study above, “only the video game group continued to show improvement in hand strength after the treatment. The video gamers not only performed double the number of arm movements during each session, their movements were ‘goal-directed’ and not merely repetitive exercises.”
3. Put Your Body to Work for More BDNFs
No, that’s not a clever new acronym for besties. BDNF stands for brain-derived neurotrophic factor, and is a protein secreted during exercise . But what does it do?
BDNF acts on certain neurons of the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system, helping to support the survival of existing neurons, and encourage the growth and differentiation of new neurons and synapses. In the brain, it is active in the hippocampus, cerebral cortex, and basal forebrain—areas vital to learning, memory, and higher thinking. BDNF itself is important for long-term memory. – Wikipedia
The best way to increase those BDNFs is through regular exercise. Keep your body in locomotion and boost your brain function at the same time. Even just walking for 20 minutes per day will do the deed.
4. Increase Your Brain Power Through Music
It’s a proven fact that musicians have bigger, more well-tuned brains. Scientists have discovered that learning to play an instrument can increase the size of brain parts like the cerebellum and motor cortices.
“The parts of the brain that control hearing, memory, and the part that controls the hands among others, all become more active. Essentially the architecture of the brain changes.” – The Telegraph
These parts of the brain literally become larger as you learn to play an instrument, no matter your age. This is because you’re constantly storing auditory information, which makes your verbal memory grow. And being able to sense the nuances in sound also help in social interactions, like when determining emotions like disappointment, excitement, and so on.
5. Eat More Omega Rich Foods
It isn’t rocket science; people who ingest foods such as fish, spinach, and seeds are at a lower risk for Alzheimer’s and other brain-related diseases. It’s those omega fatty acids that do the trick, which are vital to brain health. You probably didn’t know that 8% of the brain’s weight is comprised of omega-3 fatty acids, or that they’re the “building block” for around 100 billion neurons. (LifeExtension)
Something else, a deficiency in omega-3s is associated with many brain-related conditions, including anxiety, depression, and memory loss. So put down the sugary snacks, and get chomping on some of the omega rich foods on Nutrition Data.
6. Drink a cup of coffee–It’s brain fuel
If you’re already a coffee drinker, you’re ahead of the game. Researchers believe that stimulants like coffee activate neurotransmitters in the brain. And according to (link) drinking two cups a day can help you retain memories and ward off Alzheimer’s disease.
Studies have shown that coffee may have health benefits, including protecting against Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes and liver disease, including liver cancer. It also appears to improve cognitive function and decrease the risk of depression. – Mayo Clinic
So next time you find yourself with some free time, drink a cup of coffee, dance around the house while playing your violin and then sit down and play COD while eating sunflower seeds. That ought to boost your IQ at least 15 points!
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Pamela is the author of thirty-eight romance novels with more coming out every year. She’s best known for her NASCAR romance novels, but writes non-fiction, too. Pamela’s a regular columnist for the American Quarter Horse “Journal” and writes for SuperMoney.com where she shares her personal finance tips on how to thrive in this economy.