It’s what we call our mental moment, and it’s happening more and more these days. You’re mid-sentence when your train of thought just goes POOF. We’re losing our minds in other ways, too. Like when we can’t find our shades because they’re on our head. Or we’re rummaging through the purse for our phone while we’re talking on it. Or we climb the stairs only to forget why.
Yes, we know we’re humans and humans are forgetful. And that the more we multitask, the less we focus. But what we want to know now is: How do we strengthen our brains so we can master our memory?
How Mental Workouts Can Strengthen Your Brain
How do brain activities play a role in strengthening the brain?
Just like physical exercise, brain exercises strengthen and keep the mind agile and active. You have a cognitive reserve, a finite amount of memory, problem solving and visual motor even verbal reasoning skills that declines over time. The more you engage your brain, the longer you can hold on to your cognitive reserve.
What are some brain-boosting activities we can do before work?
There are a lot of activities you can do to boost your brain. Research shows that any stimulating activity will “boost” circulation and activate areas of the brain.
Things like writing with your left hand, trying to remember phone numbers, doing mental math calculations, the daily crossword, or looking up a new word in the dictionary on a daily basis, helps your mind stretch in ways you can’t see but certainly feel. The frustration that you feel when doing something that’s mentally taxing is when you know your brain is getting a workout. It’s good for you.
How do brain-boosting exercises help when it comes to work life?
There are a lot of websites and computer generated programs that offer memory training and visual spatial exercises. Look for puzzles, numerical sequences, and recall activities that can help boost processing speed, attention and memory. Just like your body, the more you do, the more your brain can stretch and accommodate.
How does doing these exercises before work enhance performance?
Doing something stimulating and challenging, before work, gets your brain geared up for the day. If you run two miles in the morning, walking seems like a stroll. Similarly, if you perform math calculations as you’re driving or insist on spelling words backwards for the fun of it will make the stuff you do at work every day seem like a breeze. It’ll make you more aware and vigilant not to mention focused and almost raring to keep moving from one task to the next.
Can it enhance our performance in other areas of our lives?
Mental health practitioners agree that over time, brain boosters such as learning a new language, a sport, a musical instrument, or painting, sewing, arts and crafts, boost the brain in bigger, more long-term ways. It may even reduce or delay the onset on Alzheimer’s and other mental decline, again by strengthening the cognitive reserve.
Brain exercises are good for one’s overall daily health and may actually protect one from more serious ailments. Daily smaller brain boosters can help with mental agility, daily memory, an active work and even social life, by helping increase attention, focus and creative, problem solving skills.
Dr. Sanam Hafeez is an NYC-based licensed neuropsychologist, a teaching faculty member at the prestigious Columbia University Teacher’s College and the founder and clinical director of the Comprehend the Mind Institutes in Manhattan and Queens.