Cognitive Ideas For Mental Exercise
How to Enhance Your Brainpower!
We talk a lot about health and fitness here at Farm Brand. But a lot of our focus tends to be on physical exercise that targets the body.
And although physical exercise in itself is great for your brain, providing mental clarity and reducing things like stress levels, anxiety, and depression, we haven't hit on too many other ways in which you can practice mental exercise to further enhance your brainpower.
So today, we are going to do exactly that. Stick around for this guide on cognitive ideas for mental exercise to keep your mind fresh and strong, as it is equally as important to work out your brain as it is your biceps!
Puzzles are seriously underrated. What we used to enjoy so very much as a kid nowadays can be so easily overlooked!
Not only is watching a puzzle come together from start to finish simply appealing and fulfilling but more importantly, puzzles provoke your brain!
You can try and tackle a puzzle in one sitting, such as using it as a date night idea with a glass of wine, or you can leave a puzzle out and try and throw a few pieces on each day.
Regardless of your consistency, puzzles require serious brain power to complete, and they are an excellent way to promote your mental health.
Finding a beautiful puzzle that seconds as artwork is half the fun. Take a look at this woman owned creative company that sells some of the nicest looking puzzles you can buy!
It was a random morning when I found myself actually picking up a pen to try my hand at the local newspaper's weekly crossword puzzle. And in just a few moments, I quickly realized just how terrible I was at crosswords.
I never assumed them to be too difficult, but I never ever practiced them, so I was quite surprised when I realized that my mind was truly lacking the cognitive abilities to fully complete these things. And the reason being is practice makes perfect!
You have to force your mind into doing cognitive activities that you usually overlook in life, such as a crossword puzzle, and by doing so you will train it. Soon enough you will realize the benefits that come from practicing with your brain, and crosswords are one of the best places to start.
Brain Game Apps
Your phone tells you your screen time. Take a moment to see how much time of your life is allocated to scrolling through social media or news outlets.
Not that this is a bad thing, but then think of the possible brain benefits if you chose instead to spend that time on a brain game app.
Brain game apps are created with cognitive science as the driving force, so there's not a better way to target your brain for mental exercise. These apps feature exercises that target different areas of your brain, so they are like the equivalent to a full-body workout for your noggin’.
If you need some brain game inspo, I like this blog post that includes some of the best available brain game apps!
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Writing in itself is like a superfood to the brain. But even more so when you are writing about things you actually enjoy, not just that numbers report for work.
If you want a daily brain-boosting activity, then think to start journaling!
Not only will journaling provide you a safe place for your emotions, which in and of itself is beneficial to your mind, it will also provide you with a safe place for your memories! A way to open up a book and read of the first-hand encounters of your everyday life. Because guess what, those warm thoughts of reflection are so good for your mind!
Sometimes it's easy to forget that random person you met on a Tuesday in May(among endless other random memories), and journaling is a way to set that memory in stone.
When it comes to brain power, journaling requires reflection. It requires you to look back on your day, think of what you have done, and translate that into the spoken word. This will inevitably enhance your mind's overall memory abilities, and the writing itself acts as an exercise.
Like leg day for the brain, don't skip out on it!
Read and Write Questions
Reading is good for your brain, and so is writing. So why not combine both?
The next time you pick up a book, think to take things just a step further and also snag a pen and a notebook. As you are reading, write down absolutely any questions that might pop up. Write down special excerpts that resonate with you, lessons that you learn from the book. Write down every word that you don't know, really anything you can think of!
When you are done reading, then take the time to reflect in your notebook. Answer all of those questions, learn the definitions of unknown words and write them down to become well versed in your vocabulary.
Think of this as your final burnout set in a standard body workout. That last-ditch effort to give it all you got.
Sure, your mind is probably plenty tired enough just from reading. But by forcing it into the transition into writing, and reflecting back both on what you have just read and by taking the time to answer the questions you have raised, your mind will quite literally become stronger than it has ever been should you do this consistently.
A Daily Riddle
I really enjoy this easy to implement method of brain training.
For this, all you have to do is begin each of your days with a unique riddle. Start the morning by finding one, such as on this site which provides new daily riddles, and think about your answer throughout the day.
This forces your mind into a particular style of thought pattern that only arises when trying to answer a difficult question, and overall riddles act as learning experiences to solve any other question that life might throw your way.
Once your day is up and you head home, then find out what the answer was and if any of your own answers align. And don't cheat! That doesn't do your mind any good.
If you live with another person, then I love this strategy of cognitive mental exercise.
We all take part in conversation, and conversation is a keystone element to getting those brain waves flowing, but the truth of the matter is that sometimes the conversation can be repetitive and slightly boring, which in turn has an adverse effect on your mind.
To spice up the conversation in the first place, and to also work out your brain, try out this fun little idea instead!
Write down some incredibly random topics on pieces of paper or a name generator online. Every day, pick a random topic, and you have to have a conversation regarding whatever it is you choose!
Not only is this going to force your mind to think outside the box, you never know the depth of what you will learn about yourself or another through these unique conversations!
Plus, being fluent in conversation is one of the best traits you can learn in life, from relationships to landing that dream job and using this technique will do nothing but improve your ability to effortlessly converse around any given topic.
Learn a New Language
Similar to brain games, learning a new language is a cognitive mental exercise that only takes but a small commitment of time each day. That, and you will teach yourself a skill that will do nothing but benefit you in life at the same time.
Language takes up a vast majority of our brain, but some of these parts of our brain are not used until we force them to ‘open up’. And one way to do this is with a new language!
Learning a new language immediately opens up parts of your mind that otherwise go unused, and by doing so you are also enhancing your mind's ability to memorize things.
Learning a new language can increase your mental clarity and focus as well, as just like with any exercise, it feels really good when you are done, so after taking an hour or so of language learning your mind will actually feel refreshed.
Both the process of learning how to play different card games and actually playing the games themselves have been proven to enhance your cognitive abilities by promoting the volume of certain brain regions. So much so, in fact, that playing card games is shown to even reduce the chance of Alzheimer's!
Most card games require the main forms of brain skills: Memory and thinking. So by forcing you to use these parts of your brain, you are in turn growing them and making them stronger. Card games are an excellent way to improve your memory and also improve your overall thinking still.
So the next time you are with your favorite grandparent, go ahead and play some cards with them, as this timeless classic will not only resonate in their nostalgia, but it will also promote both of your brain's cognitive abilities!
Learn to Play an Instrument
Music is literally the best. Our brains light up when we hear music, and they light up even more when we play music. Whether you are extremely terrible or one of the most talented musicians alive, playing an instrument is one of the best things you can do as a form of cognitive mental exercises.
Learning to play an instrument improves your memory, increases your time management skills, it teaches you dedication and consistency. Learning to play music is a de-stressor, it allows you to meet new people that impact your life (and your brain!) in positive ways.
I could keep going, but the important thing to note here is that if you want to learn how to play an instrument, then you absolutely should. And even if you don't want to play, even throwing in the headphones and listening to music will act as a brain exercise, so at least there is always that!
And don't worry, we have made it super easy for you to learn this artistic hobby with our article “Learn How to Play an Instrument”, so go ahead and give it a quick read and get to jamming!
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