Brainpower Tips You Can Start Using Today
What can you do today to start improving the functioning of
your brain? You'll find some suggestions for that below. Included
in these brainpower tips are a couple things you can do that
will give you immediate results.
Take Advantage of Your Smart Times
This may seem like an obvious tip, but we rarely stop to recognize
when our brains are working particularly well so we can take
advantage of that. Most of us are more mentally "awake"
at certain times of the day, for example, and so it makes sense
to schedule mentally challenging tasks for those times. But sometimes
we just randomly have periods of clearer thinking. Such a state
might be due to a combination of factors like a good night's
sleep, a light protein-rich meal and some happy news that energizes
you. A period of better mental function might also be completely
Whatever the reasons, at a time like this try to drop any
routine activities and work on tasks requiring more brainpower.
You should also do your deliberations and make important decisions
when you are at your mental best. This is obvious, perhaps, but
how often do you consciously apply this strategy?
There are long-term benefits to eating fish, but the immediate
effects shown by the research are faster brain waves and improved
concentration. There is more about brain foods below, including
some vegetarian options.
Physical exercise is known to be good for brain health, and
on Wikipedia you can find a good summary of the research on the
effects of exercise on memory specifically.
But in addition to the long-term benefits, other studies have
shown that as little as ten minutes of exercise can speed up
brain activity and cause a temporary improvement in brain function.
In other words, you can walk for ten minutes right now and get
an immediate mental benefit. I find that walking with a voice
recorder in hand can be a great way to solve problems or generate
new ideas (the recorder keeps you from forgetting them).
Activities involving timing and coordination cause dendrite
growth in the brain. More dendrites mean more possible connections
in the brain, allowing your thinking and learning to be more
flexible and efficient. The following are some examples of activities
that can cause dendrite growth and improve your learning skills:
1. Any athletic activities requiring coordination and timing,
such as basketball, soccer, or just tossing around a Frisbee.
2. Playing musical instruments. This is especially helpful
if it requires precise timing. It is worth noting that many piano
players are also good chess players -- this may be due to the
exercising of the necessary pattern-recognition areas of the
brain that happens with music training.
3. Painting and drawing, which involve hand-eye coordination.
4. Travel. If you don't think travel involves timing and coordination,
you haven't used the city busses in South America, which sometimes
don't even come to a complete stop. In any case, there's also
some evidence that experiencing other cultures is good for the
According to Arthur Winter, M.D., director of the New Jersey
Neurological Institute, the following are some of the best food
for your brain.
Low fat milk or yogurt
Other dark leafy greens
Whole wheat bread
Most other beans
Fortunately for the vegetarians among you there are some decent
choices on the list. In fact combining either brown rice or whole
wheat bread with beans provides high-quality protein as well
as being specifically good for the brain.
Avoid the Second Cup
Caffeine, if you do not have sensitivity problems, does help
your brain quickly, if temporarily. Test scores of students have
been found to increase with coffee, for example. But don't overdo
it. Your heart rate goes up by as much as 15-20 beats per minute
with two or more cups of coffee. That amount of caffeine also
makes most people irritable and anxious. That isn't the best
state for clear thinking. The beneficial effects demonstrated
on test scores of students are generally found after one cup
(or even a bit less depending on the strength of the drink).
In other words, stop after one cup.