Would you believe me if I stated that there are methods to improve brain power, that may seem rather odd and are unlikely to be true?
Well, in this post, I’ve decided to discuss some of these ‘odd ways’ – all of which I’ve personally tried – and can confirm that they improve brain power.
They may not be particularly common, and they might be a bit funny or tricky to wrap your head around, but that’s the whole point they’re named ‘odd ways’ after all!
1. Use Your Least Dominant Hand More Often
Research has shown that the hand you predominantly use is connected to asymmetries in brain performance.
This implies that the right hemisphere of the brain will coordinate with the left side of the body and the left hemisphere will do the same for the right side of the body.
Due to this connection, it has been confirmed that using your opposite and least dominant hand will enhance neural networks in the brain, as well as create a new one. (1)
Even through the attempt to become ambidextrous can have a great (positive) impact on the brain. By switching your dominant hand for the less dominant one, you will force your brain to adapt, thereby empowering your brain.
2. Start Taking New Routes
The brain has been discovered to be an autopilot, with limited stimulation during your routine commute. By taking that same route from work, school, and other locations you regularly visit, your brain has in fact adapted to them, resulting in your brain becoming stagnant.
You can counteract this by taking unfamiliar routes and thus will activate the hippocampus and cortex within your brain. (2)
Bill Gates once stated that he used to drive an alternate route on his way home each day from work, all to simulate his brain.
As of right now, Bill Gates is an incredibly successful person that co-founded the world’s largest computer company, Microsoft.
That doesn’t mean this only takes affect when driving; you can also walk, cycle, and use public transport to receive the same desired effects to improve your brain functionality.
3. Learn One New Thing (And Become Good at It)
Learning something new has been researched to help improve your brain power. (3)
When you confront your medulla oblongata with something new, it will stimulate and charge your brain. To achieve this, however, you must make sure to only learn one new thing at a time.
Multiple things/activities that you try and pick up won’t allow the brain the opportunity to adapt to the situation, resulting in next to no progress.
An example to help you along the way; you could try taking up a new language, cooking a meal with some variations to the recipe you usually follow, play musical instruments, or learn a new hobby, such as electronics or coding.
Just be sure to focus on ONLY one thing at a time, as that will result in you being more focused.
Briefly, let’s look at learning a new language:
Taking up a class in a second language stimulates your frontal lobe; a section of the brain that is likely to diminish with time and age; however, learning a new language is an excellent brain trainer.
The reason for this is it requires 100% of your concentration, as stated by Tony Buzan. Just by learning a new language, you gain more structure to the brain and enhance the brain’s overall speech centers.
4. Quit Multitasking
According to research, multitasking isn’t good for the brain. In fact, it can cause more damage to the brain. (4)
If you want to improve brain power, you’ll need to quit multitasking. Instead, concentrate and focus on one task at a time, as this is the best way to improve both speed and accuracy.
Now, consider this: you’ve just received a phone call, while you’re trying to do the dishes and stay on top of your cooking all at the same time.
By having to switch from one task to another one, the brain doesn’t get the chance to focus properly and will result in subpar results for all the tasks that are taking place.
When doing the dishes and cooking dinner for your family it’s fine, but if you’re at work and have deadlines to meet, this can end up in a loss of focus, resulting in errors in your work that could get you in trouble one day if you’re not careful.
By any chance you would like all of your tasks to be accomplished efficiently and optimally, do your best to focus on just the one until it is complete.
As a result, all your tasks will receive the efficient amount of attention and will all be achieved at an effective rate.
5. Ask Questions
Asking questions is an extraordinary way to maintain your brain, all the while keeping it in good health and shape as well. (5)
Some of the smartest people in the world are people who simply ask questions for any given subject they encroach upon.
Questions are designed to aggravate new ideas and thoughts and the only way to improve your brain power is to ask those questions.
No matter how trivial a question may seem, knowing the answer will improve your knowledge on the subject regardless of whatever it may be.
That new perspective you receive because of the answer may even result in answering questions you didn’t even know you had to begin with; deepening your knowledge even more.
These questions you can ask your professor, teacher, friends, parents, and even yourself. Everywhere you go you can ask questions and each one that you ask will deepen your understanding of the subject and improve brain power.
6. Stop Watching TV (If Possible)
Watching television is a vast disadvantage when it comes to improving brain power. TV has been said to make the brain passive and dormant, something that stunts improvement.
Many people cannot do without watching some TV before going to bed, but that’s quite harmful to the brain.
The blue lights transmitted to your eyes that are emitted from the TV, smartphones, computers, and tablets all stimulate wakefulness, which suppresses melatonin, the hormone that makes a person sleepy.
Testing has confirmed that verbal IQ scores, which measure vocabulary and language skills, would fall in proportion the number of hours of TV watched. (6)
While it may not be an easy task to pull yourself away from TV permanently, even reducing the rate at which you actively watch TV can improve your brain power – it just won’t be as beneficial as doing away with it completely.
7. Play N-Back/Dual N-Back
This game is considered to be one of the most effective brain training methods that put the brain into a test situation.
Both of these games have been proven to be an effective tool for enhancing a person’s short-term memory. (7)
This is achieved by increasing the number of items that can be retained in the working memory, which is the bottleneck of knowledge.
A study conducted by Jaeggi et al, fluid intelligence and intelligence quotient was raised daily by the participants that completed twenty minutes of dual n-back each day.
A great impact has been shown in this game on improving overall brain power if you keep at it at least once a day, 5 days a week.
The truth of the matter is that your brain will quickly adjust to a situation that it is forced to. Meaning that your brain is shaped by everyday challenges that people regularly face; with n-back and dual n-back being one of them, increasing your brain power more and more over time.
8. Lift Weights At least Once a Week
Physical exercise is good for your overall body health; however, it also assists your brain to be sharper and remain healthier.
Physical activities, such as weight lifting, yoga, jogging, and much more help to improve brain power by increasing the oxygen supply to your brain.
Because of this, it also minimized the risk of debilitating afflictions, such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and even diabetes.
By simply weight lifting, you create new brain cells for optimal mental health, thus improving brain power.
It can either boost your heart rate, enhancing blood flow to the brain and forces your memory to be alert to perform its functions optimally and more effectively.
Lifting weights can also have a positive effect on your stress levels. Even just once a week, it can control the chemicals in your brain and reduce stress hormones, such as Cortisol, Norepinephrine, and adrenaline from making things worse.
9. Sleep Well or Take a Short Nap
Research has shown that the body can stay without food or water for a fair amount of time, but without proper sleep for over 48 hours can bring a risk of collapse.
Getting those regular 7-8 hours of rest each night will boost your memory; whereas a poor night’s sleep affects many different aspects of the body, especially the memory.
The more sleep the brain manages to get, the better it is for the brain.
Even by taking a nap during the day – especially after acquiring new knowledge – allows you to retain that knowledge much easier, all the while keeping your brain sharp.
By failing to give your brain the necessary sleep it deserves, all that information you’ve spent hours researching and studying for that next test might be going to waste, as your brain does not retain information nearly as well when you are tired and aren’t getting the ample amount of sleep at night. (8)
10. Eat Wild Salmon At Least Once a Week
There’s even more to offer from wild salmon. By consuming wild salmon, you consume omega-3 acids that your body can’t make on its own and isn’t regularly acquired by eating most foods.
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), linolenic acid (ALA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are the omega-3 acids that the body requires; with the brain requiring them more than any other system in the body.
An adequate amount of DHA and EPA in your diet will allow for the brain membranes to optimally perform and can even control and regulate emotions, moods, and stave-off depression.
Just by eating some wild salmon once a week is an odd way of improving brain power, but is an incredibly efficient one in the long run for both the body and the brain.
Our brains control all the activities that are performed by the body. By not keeping the brain in a healthy state, it will affect many factors of the body.
Except for learning, many activities such as walking, talking, hearing, smelling, seeing, and much more are all coordinated by the brain.
Hence, there is an obvious need for the brain to be energized for your mental fitness.
Strive to improve your overall brain power on a daily basis; that is the key to your overall body coordination after all!