While we use to think intelligence and ability were fixed traits that you inherited, we now understand the true elasticity and malleability of the mind. If you are interested in developing your mind to increase its capacity, abilities, and focus, many brain-training techniques can help. Here are just a few of the many strategies you can practice that help to develop your mind over time.
Learning to meditate influences your brain in many ways. Meditation calms your mind, trains you to focus on one thing at a time and releases you from the distractions that are controlling your brain’s ability to focus and perform. Learning to meditate can take a few months, but it is worth the effort and time, and it pays off in other aspects of your life.
Remove Unnecessary Obstructions
Things that interfere with your brain’s ability to function well should be eliminated from your life. This includes poor sleep habits, multi-tasking, interruptions to your work or personal time, and poor lifestyle choices, like smoking. Even avoiding too much digital stimulus has as large impact on your brain. Get rid of these to help your brain work at its best.
Get Your Blood Flowing
Exercise has been proven to benefit memory, cognition, and overall brain health. Your brain needs a healthy blood supply, which means your heart must be healthy to provide that. Getting enough exercise is not only good for your body, but it’s also necessary for your mind, as well.
Sunlight and the Vitamin D that your body makes when exposed to the sun are essential for proper brain function. Getting outside and in the sun slows the brain’s aging process and improves cognition. Vitamin D is also critical in regulating your sleep-wake cycle, which has a significant impact on your cognition, as well.
Stay Connected to Others
Having a healthy social support system keeps your learning from others and slows cognitive decline as we age. Feeling lonely can be an impediment to your maximum brain potential, so maintaining strong, healthy relationships with others is vital to developing your mind’s true potential.
Your brain requires a great deal of energy for proper functioning. Without omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and other essential nutrients, your brains’ functioning declines rapidly. Give your brain the fuel it needs with a healthy, whole-food diet that is rich in vitamins, minerals, and the necessary energy to supply your mind.
Playing games, particularly those that require you to solve puzzles and learn new strategies, develops new neural pathways in your brain. Games are essential for slowing age-related cognitive decline, and they can teach you and valuable skills you can apply to other areas of your life.
Learn a New Skill
Continuing to learn all throughout your life will keep your brain growing and developing as you age. Learning a new language, activity, hobby, or game will challenge your mind in new ways, create new neural networks, and enhance your cognitive abilities.
Focus on All Your Senses
We often rely on one or two of our senses to help us understand the world, but when you engage all your senses, you activate more parts of your brain and improve learning. Instead of just focusing on what you see or hear, adding in taste, touch, and smell will help you remember better and for longer.
Being curious about the world is an excellent habit of mind to develop your brain. When you are always asking questions and deliberately seeking out different and new experiences, you are keeping your brain elastic while making many diverse neural connections. Embracing curiosity and challenges will help keep your brain developing throughout your life.
Improving your brain power is ultimately about habits of mind that take time to build. Focus on just one or two of these strategies at a time, and practice it until you feel you’ve mastered it, then add another.
Habits take a long time to become permanent, so don’t stop just because you think you’ve got it. Stick with your efforts and, over time, you will be making new pathways in your brain and developing the power of your mind.