10 Mental Exercises That Make You Smarter
November 11th, 2016 by Lauren Tharp
We talk about fitness a lot here at Fab Fit Travel. But it’s just as important to exercise your brain as it is to exercise your body. Today we’re going to tackle some easy ways to boost your mental fitness!
1. Daily Meditation
In a recent UCLA study, researchers used high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI’s) to scan the brains of a group of subjects who were long-time meditators. They found that these individuals’ brains were larger than their non-meditating counterparts.
So not only will meditation make you happier, less stressed, and increase your memory – it literally increases the size of your brain and improves its functions!
2. Make Use of Scent
Try keeping something that contains your favorite scent (we like aromatherapy necklaces!) next to your bed. Sniff it as soon as you wake up and then sniff it again when you feel yourself at your peak energy levels.
Eventually, your brain will connect the scent with being energized – and when you sniff it when you wake up, you’ll automatically feel more energized! It’s a neat way of training your brain to work at maximum capacity from the moment you wake up.
3. Look Up When You Shop
Supermarkets keep their most profitable items at eye-level, and those are usually the ones we grab. Instead, try looking up. If you notice something you’ve never seen before, or something that looks like what you want at a better price, pick it up. Check the ingredients, of course (we don’t want anyone getting an allergen attack on our watch!); however, you might just find a great deal on something you’ll end up loving.
This exercise not only trains your brain to look for great deals, it makes you more aware of the world around you in general.
4. Interact More with Others
Socializing makes you smarter.
Try buying your gas from a clerk rather than swiping your card at the gas station. Or buy a drink at a shop rather than a vending machine. Or simply make some small talk with the cashier at the grocery store while you’re being checked out.
Make small efforts to socialize daily to boost your cognitive prowess.
5. Read Aloud
You can do this one by yourself or with a friend. By reading aloud, you use different parts of your brain than when you read silently to yourself.
By reading aloud, you end up remembering what you read slightly better, because you make a deeper connection to what you’ve just said. This ends up helping you boost your memory faculties overall!
6. Switch Seats
Most of us have our “own” seats at the dinner table – and sometimes even in restaurants! Try switching your seat for one evening out of the week, every week.
This exercise helps you become more aware of your surroundings and how you interact with the world. Now that you’re on the other side, how are you going to reach for the salt…? Your brain’s going to have to work a little harder to figure that one out.
7. Turn Things Upside Down
Turn the photos on your office desk upside-down. Or try reading upside-down. Or turn the clock on your nightstand upside-down.
By doing this, everyday items become a puzzle that your brain has to work harder to figure out, strengthening it in one of the simplest ways possible.
8. Use Your Non-Dominant Hand
By using your opposite hand, you send tactile responses to the opposite part of your brain – which strengthens a part of your brain that’s normally not used very often.
Try eating your lunch with your fork in the opposite hand. And then try brushing your teeth afterward with your non-dominant hand as well (for bonus points, uncap the toothpaste with that hand too!).
9. Shower with Your Eyes Closed
Use common sense of course (we don’t want you getting burned or slipping!); however, if you shower with your eyes closed, you end up using nothing but the tactile part of your body to send messages to your brain, which gives it a well-needed boost when tackling routine activities.
Try getting in the shower, and then closing your eyes. Turn the knobs with your hands (check the heat of the water, of course) and then turning on the shower and going through your usual routine without your sight.
10. Mix Up Your Routine
When activities become routine, your brain stops working as hard. It goes into “auto pilot.”
Try mixing up your routine for a quick brain boost! If you normally walk your dog in the morning, try walking him in the evening. Or if you usually shower in the evening, try showering in the morning (bonus points to your cortex if you use tip #9!).
Are you ready? We dare you to try at least ONE of these mental exercises TODAY!