by Bill Gough, Insurance Hall of Fame Agent
Just like your body, you need to keep your mental fitness sharp. You’ve probably heard the saying “use it or lose it.”
The brain’s plasticity allows it to adapt and change, even as you grow older. As you learn new things, you can create and strengthen neural pathways and networks. This helps makes your brain stronger, but it can also help make it more flexible and adaptable to change.
What can you do to strengthen your mind?
Here are six simple exercises to Strengthen Your Brain Muscles:
- Take a deep breath. Breathing is the only bodily function that we do both voluntarily and involuntarily. Learn to Inhale and exhale deeply when you’re stressed, to help improve your mood and to help deal with stress.
- Tell a good story. Sharing experiences in compelling and fun ways helps sharpen your ability to recall information.
- Mix up your routine. Take a different route to work or sit with your legs crossed opposite the way you normally would. Changing your typical way of doing things tells your brain to wake up and pay attention.
- Write. Writing notes, stories, or action plans helps improve your memory, clarifies your thinking, and engages your creativity.
- Laugh. Endorphins released when you laugh lower your stress and can help you improve your overall health.
- Perfect your posture. Try solving a problem while slouching down at your desk versus sitting upright and see how it impacts your outcome. Proper posture improves blood flow to your brain bringing mental clarity and improved memory.
Thinking of your brain as a muscle is a great analogy, even if it’s not technically accurate. Thinking about it, if you don’t exercise a muscle, it weakens; it atrophies. If you exercise that muscle in the same way over and over, day in and day out, the muscle won’t atrophy but it won’t grow or develop.
When you consistently use that muscle in new ways though—if you stretch it, push it, challenge it, you’ll grow that muscle and make it stronger. That’s exactly the way the brain works.
Challenge your brain in new ways as often as possible, and you’ll be stronger and smarter than you were the day before.