The brain is the human supercomputer with infinite possibilities. It’s the brain that differentiates humans from all other animals. Despite the common belief that intelligence is a genetic phenomenon, studies have shown that this isn’t true. The brain is a continuously evolving organ, and it is always a work in progress – it keeps revising or remodeling, improving or declining, depending on how we use it. Just like with a muscle, if the brain is properly exercised, anyone can boost their intelligence level significantly, at any age. But if you let your brain remain idle, it is bound to lose its sharpness. Here are a few ways to make your brain work better:
As we age, the birth of new brain cells becomes slower, and our brain tissue shrinks in size. However, regular exercises can reverse this age-related decline. Studies show that regular exercise – especially cardiovascular exercise – boosts the blood flow to your brain, which helps deliver much-needed oxygen to brain cells (the brain consumes nearly 20% of the oxygen in our body). Studies have shown that people see a significant increase in brain volume if they exercise regularly.
With today’s hectic lifestyle – which often involves juggling time between office, work, home and kids – there is very little time left for mind relaxation. Your mind is always crowded with various thoughts and worries, which definitely affects your thinking ability and other brain functions. Meditation is one of the oldest ways to rejuvenate your mind and enhance your cognitive functions. The practice of meditation involves quiet, focused breathing exercises where your mind is free from other activities and thoughts. With regular practice, meditation allows your mind to reach a deeply calm state, which in turn improves other brain functions, such as attention span, memory and focus. Not surprisingly, some of the leading corporate organizations now offer meditation classes for their employees.
If you don’t eat fish regularly, it may be a good idea to include some in your regular diet – at least twice a week. If you do not like eating fish, or if you are a vegan, then you can opt for a fish oil supplement instead. A study on teenagers in Sweden indicated that eating fish increased the verbal and visuospatial intelligence of the subjects by more than 10%. While the exact mechanism of how eating fish improves brain health is unknown, some believe that, like exercise, it helps increase blood flow to the brain.
Inflammation could be the result of your body fighting toxins, infections, chemicals or free radicals. Studies have shown that inflammation of any kind tends to have a negative impact on mental performance. Researchers have found that inflammation is consistently linked to lower standard intelligence levels. Thus, for keeping your brain sharp, it is important to fight inflammation. Foods such as omega 3 and various antioxidants help in fighting inflammation.
Exercise Your Brain
Like the rest of your body, your brain needs regular exercise to stay healthy and fit. Brain-strengthening or mind-improvement exercises can invigorate your brain and enhance its functions. Crossword puzzles and other word-based games, Sudoku, math word problems and number-based ‘brain teasers’ are some of the ways to improve your brain efficiency. Such mind-building games help in developing problem-solving abilities and mental determination. They are a fun way to enhance brain power.
Experiment With a New Hobby or Skill
A good way to energize the brain is to take it out of its ‘comfort zone,’ by trying out new skills or hobbies. It does not matter what new skill you decide to take up – for example, learning a new language, playing a musical instrument, carpentry projects, etc. When your brain is trying new things, it creates new neurons. Moreover, studies have shown that mastering new skills also helps in improving memory and cognitive functions.