In today’s fast-paced world of cut-throat competition, people are continuously looking for new ways to enhance their performance, increase their productivity, and push their cognitive limits to the max in hopes of enabling them to achieve greater success. The constant demand to raise the bar higher can be downright exhausting, with the effects not only taking a toll on the body, but the mind, as well.
To keep up, some people have even resorted to taking smart drugs to increase their brain’s performance and give them a slight mental edge. However, you don’t have to turn to such extremes. There are many ways to get an added mental boost and have fun while you’re doing it. Below are the top 5:
- Sudoku anyone? – Studies show that playing mind-training games such as puzzles, word games, card games and even video games have been shown to improve such cognitive skills as memory, attention, processing speed, mental flexibility, hand-eye coordination, decision-making and problem-solving. Some studies have even suggested that gaming increases brain size and connectivity. Of course, promoting social interaction is an added plus.
- Play that funky music! – They say a key to a woman’s heart is hidden in her playlist. For me personally, this couldn’t be truer. Like many, thanks to my mother’s constant nagging to learn an instrument or three, I not only developed an extreme appreciation for music, but also improved my long-term memory (Thanks Mom!). In fact, studies show that musical training can alter the structure and function of the brain for the better, strengthening verbal memory and reading skills while enhancing IQ. And since dancing is music made visible, it wouldn’t be right to overlook its cognitive benefits such as stimulating the mind, improving social skills, and even reducing depression.
- Once upon a time… – Reading has long been considered a great hobby. Recent studies suggest that reading, especially fiction, has great brain benefits which include enhancing your brain function and connectivity. This can lead to better focus and concentration, writing skills and creativity. Further research has suggested that people who engage their minds in reading and other mentally stimulating activities retain their memory capabilities as they age. Reading also enhances verbal and reasoning skills while reducing stress and empathy. Fanfiction here I come!
- With great power comes great need to take a nap! – There’s a reason why Google encourages their employees to take a nap in their soundproof pods. Sleep promotes intellectual performance and improves performance in the workplace. Many studies have stated that daytime napping is beneficial for people of all ages, while other research suggests that napping for even ten minutes has brain benefits, like improving memory.
- A chocolate a day keeps the doctor away. – Dark chocolate has been proven to have amazing health benefits. It improves your cardiovascular health, helps with cholesterol, diminishes the negative effects of stress and is rich in antioxidants. One study suggested that dark chocolate can improve cognitive functioning. Intake of cocoa is also beneficial for increased blood circulation to the gray matter in the brain, boosting your intellectual capabilities such as memory, focus and problem-solving skills.
In conclusion, there are many methods you can implement on a regular basis to boost your brain power. The more methods you apply, the greater (and faster) your result will be. If time isn’t your friend, don’t fret. Building up slowly is better than doing nothing. Good luck!