The brain is the most majestic organ, regulating every single bodily function with a complex set of neuron networks. From controlling heart rate and temperature to muscle movement, the power of the brain is immeasurable. Keeping our brain regularly challenged and actively engaged helps the mind to function at its best. Have you heard about the term neuroplasticity? Our brains are extremely flexible, they can form new pathways and connections between the brain cells.It rewires itself to adapt to new circumstances, like the wires in a circuit panel.
How well your brain cells are connected determines the level of sharpness. Research has shown that exercising the brain helps to build new neuron connections and expand the brain. It’s possible to stimulate the brain to make new connections through brain exercises.
Benefits of Neuroplasticity
- Protects the brain from the risk of diseases like dementia, Alzheimer’s, etc...
- Enhanced memory and cognitive skills
- Fast recovery from traumatic brain injuries
- More effective learning capabilities
- Ability to rewire functions in the brain
Exercises to Rewire The Brain
1. Jigsaw Puzzle
The joy of picking out the corner pieces, analysing each piece to see where it fits can be a great way to challenge your brain. Jigsaw puzzles are an entertaining way to amp up those brain cells. You can also solve a puzzle with your family and friends. Socializing too is an intellectually engaging leisure activity that helps to maintain cognitive function. Research suggests that solving a jigsaw puzzle enables the use of multiple cognitive abilities and also protects visuospatial cognitive ageing.
2. Card games
Time to dust out that favourite card game and gather up your friends. It is mentally stimulating not only for you but for your loved ones, too. Especially memory card games that test a person’s ability to remember patterns. One study found a link between card games and a lower rate of memory decline in older adults.
3. Non-dominant hand exercises
A quirky way to activate your brain cells is by switching hands to do simple tasks. Use your non-dominant hand to perform tasks like brushing your teeth, eating, picking up the tea glass or drinking water. This stimulates the inactive side of the brain and gives your mind some excellent exercise. As your brain gets used to doing things a certain way, jolting it awake now and then helps to stay active and sharp. Performing tasks like showering, doing laundry with eyes closed also introduces a challenge to your brain.
4. Learning a New Language or Skill
Maybe you heard a new language in a song or Don’t know how to ride a bike or change tires? Try to learn things you are curious about. Learning a new language strengthens connectivity between two different areas of your brain. Learning new skills like photography, stitching and even learning how to use a chopstick is cognitively demanding and enhances brain function.
5. Discovering an alternative route
The willingness to try new things is immensely useful for your brain. We often get stuck to a routine we follow every day. Our brain falls into a rut if we keep performing the same tasks in the same order. Try mixing things up, instead of walking to the coffee shop hop on a bicycle. Try taking different routes to work every single week.
6. Using all your senses
The smell of morning coffee, the sight of lush green trees, the noise of your neighbours, the taste of your toothpaste, a touch of the newspaper. How often do we notice and enjoy these senses? Engaging in activities where you use your senses like baking, trying out new foods or gardening. It helps to activate the brain cells and keep your mind sharp.
7. Increasing your Vocabulary
Getting to know unfamiliar words and adding more words to your dictionary not only helps you to sound smart but is also a good workout for your brain. One way to build your vocabulary is to use the newly learned words at least 5 times a day. You can even prepare flashcards or write them out on post-it notes to boost your cognitive function.
Meditation is a form of sustained attention and awareness. It is reconnecting with your body and learning to live in the present moment. Meditation has many benefits. From calming your mind, relieving stress and anxiety, it can also help to increase how your brain processes information. Meditating in the morning helps to gain control of your entire day. Find a time that works for you and spend time with yourself.
9. Learning a Musical Instrument
Have the courage to be bad at something before you are good at it. The harmony of cheerful tunes helps to build auditory, visual and motor cortex in the brain. Nothing beats music lessons to boost creative thinking and brainpower. While playing a musical instrument, the front, left and right side of the brains are active. Research shows it helps to build cognitive function and overall wellbeing in maintaining mental health.
10. Focus on someone else
Read a story out loud to a friend or family member, teach a new skill to someone else, telling stories helps to solidify your memory power and information retention capabilities. Teaching a new skill is the best way to enhance your learning power, as it requires practice and a deeper understanding of the concept. While interacting with someone else, try to be fully present by noticing the accent, attire, and facial expressions. These techniques also help you expand your attention and concentration span.
11. Looking at Objects From A Different Perspective
Your brain is accustomed to seeing the clock always hung on the wall, the pens always inside the stand, the kitchen utensils are always placed in the order. Try fun experiments like looking at the clock upside and try to read the time, turn the remote towards you and switch channels, try cooking in a different utensil or view a photo frame upside down. These activities help to strengthen your interpretative skills. Your brain will become more alert while interpreting new situations and get customary to new circumstances.
It is recommended for all age groups. Flex your brain muscle and have fun while exercising. These activities not only help to improve memory, cognitive skills, retention and analytical skills but also build your personality.