Thursday, April 16, 2015

Use It Or Lose It – Increasing Your “Brainspan” Starts Now


We don’t need research to tell us that our brain isn’t, well… it’s not as sharp as it used to be. It might be forgetting names, or where we put our keys, or our phone. It might take us a little longer to learn our way around the latest piece of tech. But what if we could do exercises that increase our “brainspan” just like exercising and eating right aids our lifespan?

Research shows that you can train your brain, which helps maintain - even improve - its functioning over time. Regular brain workouts help keep your memory sharp and able to adapt to new events and situations in life. This is exciting news for us! At Positive Changes, we have always advocated for holistic wellness – the health and vibrancy of one’s entire being. And this certainly includes helping your brain be the best it can be.

If you’re the type who likes to know the science behind the story, it’s all about your brain’s natural neuroplasticity. This is its natural ability to reorganize itself and create new brain cell connections. This “rearranging” allows you to compensate for injury or disease, and respond to new situations or changes in the environment, even ward off diseases like Alzheimers’.

Thankfully, we don’t need to be brain surgeons to put this into action. Here are some of our favorite brain exercises to keep our neuro-whatever working in tip-top form.

Focus on Memory:
  • Choose a new song that you like and memorize the lyrics.
  • Learn an activity with your non-dominant hand.

Focus on Attention:
  • Switch up your normal route to work.
  • Practice multi-tasking (just not while you’re driving!)

Focus on Language
While crossword puzzles definitely fits in this category, here are a few other ideas to add to your arsenal:
  • Find a new interest, and learn their lingo. Each hobby usually comes along with its own insider language.
  • Make friends with someone who can speak a different language, and pick up a few pointers.
  • Travel, and immerse yourself in a new language and culture.

Focus on Visual/Spatial
Activities like photography or drawing increase your awareness to spatial relationships. You can revisit the child-hood game, “Spot the differences between these two pictures.”

Focus on Logic and Reasoning
Anything in which you need to create a plan and execute it to create a desired outcome actually fits into this category. Playing video games, or various hand crafts requires you to strategize and problem solve.

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