Take up a hobby or interest you've never tried before.
Latin dancing, Chinese cooking, Pottery.
Anything. It doesn't matter as long as it's new to you.
Learning a new skill drags you out of a mental rut. You're forced to use your brain to meet new challenges, awakening your innate problem-solving ability in the process.
Word games, crosswords and Sudoku all make great mental workouts.
Many newspapers feature a daily chess position or logic puzzle.
Don't read the newspapers? Then make up your own daily quiz:
Take a word and see how many other words you can make from it. Start with a smallish word, say 5 letters long, and progress to longer words as your skill increases.
Whatever your puzzle of choice, try fitting one a day into your busy life. Like any muscle, your brain benefits from a regular workout
3. Memorize something daily.
3. Memorize something daily.
Take one item you usually need to look up. It could be a friend's telephone number, a reference code at work, or the date of a special anniversary.
Memorize it by repeating it to yourself 7 times. Then recall it several times throughout day and the next day too. Periodic recall fixes the item in your longer-term memory.
Make sure you drink the recommended 8 glasses of water per day.
It helps the flow of nutrients and oxygen travel throughout your body including, of course, to the brain.
(Did you know your brain is actually 85% water? It's true.)
You'd be surprised how often you take exactly the same route. (And I do mean ‘exactly'.) This can lead to living your life on autopilot and seriously limiting your mental potential.
You need to break out of the rut!
Even a slight change to your normal route can help your brain make new mental connections. This is turn will do wonders for your creativity.
Your brain needs oxygen. Make sure you get some by allocating time every day for some healthy walking in the clean fresh air.
Stop along the way and try some gentle deep breathing, driving more oxygen into your lungs and onwards to your brain.
Read (or at least scan through) one book a month on a topic that has never interested you. You'll be amazed what you can learn when you step outside your familiarity zone.
Foreign languages offer excellent practice to both sides of the brain. You get to exercise your memory, your imagination and improve your language skills too.
Emphasize with other people. When you're listening to somebody, try to mentally step outside of yourself and truly see the topic from that person's perspective.
Don't think you can visualize? Then try a little experiment by answering the following questions:
(a) What color is the front door of your home?
(b) Is the handle on the left or right-hand side of the door?
(c) When you open the door, what do you see inside your home?
You can visualize. To answer the above questions, you had to.
So practice a little visualization every day, using a different object each time.
Think of something familiar like your home, car, office building, gym or whatever.
Use your imagination to picture it from all angles, inside and outside. Imagine yourself walking around it, moving through it. Really notice all the details. Try to ‘feel' the surfaces as you move around, and hear any sounds in the place too.
You know what they say: "All great things begin in the mind." Improve your mind and who knows what you'll achieve.
Kenneth Williams is author of 'Fun With Figures' at Fun With Figures
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