5 ways to improve your brain

You know the saying, if you don’t use it, you will lose it. This is so true for the functioning of our brain. The brain is like a muscle. If you don’t give it regular exercise, it will eventually atrophy. Below are 6 ways you can keep your brain in top shape.

1. Minimize television watching.
Watching TV is a passive activity for most people. The average adult watches way too much TV. Since the health of your brain is largely determined by how much you actively use it, watching too much television can therefore have a detrimental effect on the health of the brain.

2. Exercise. Exercise is great for relieving stress and making us feel better. Exercise also increases the level of brain chemicals called growth factors that help make new brain cells and establish new connections between brain cells to help us learn. Interestingly, complicated activities, like playing tennis or taking a dance class, provide the biggest brain boost.

3. Google often. When you search the Internet, you engage key centers in your brain that control decision-making and complex reasoning. And these few clicks may be more mentally stimulating than reading, say UCLA scientists. Their studies found that Internet searching uses neural circuitry that’s not activated during reading–but only in people with prior Internet experience. MRI results showed almost 3 times more brain activity in regular Internet searchers than in first-timers, suggesting that repeated Googling can be a great way to build cognitive strength over time.

4. Writing. Writing is good for your mind in a number of ways. It is a way to tell your memory what is important, so you’ll recall things more easily in the future. It is a way to clarify your thinking. It is a way to exercise your creativity and analytical ability. Diaries, idea-journals, poetry, note-taking and story-writing are all ways to use writing to boost your brain power.

5. Meditation. Since this is a meditation blog, I need to mention the positive effects meditation has on the brain. Emerging research suggests participation in a mindfulness meditation program appears to make measurable changes in brain regions associated with memory, sense of self, empathy and stress. Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day.