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As with all muscles in our body, we need to work them so we can continue to be strong. So we lift weights and keep active. The more we lift and move, the stronger our muscles remain and the longer and healthier we will be. But often overlooked is our mind and it too needs to be worked to stay sharp. After all, it is a muscle too. So what are some ways for keeping your brain sharp and working at optimal performance? Below are 4 tips to help you succeed in this quest.
If you can master these, then you will have no issues when it comes to keeping your brain sharp and performing at optimal levels.
4 Tips For Keeping Your Brain Sharp
I know, I just talked about working out and the first piece of advice is to rest. But it’s true. We need to rest so that our mind can recover. This is why we don’t lift weights every day and why we sleep. When we sleep, our body goes to work, healing and repairing our muscles. This helps to keep them strong and prepare them for the next day.
The same idea applies to the mind. We need to take some time to allow it to rest. So how do we do this? First, you need to get a good night’s sleep. When you get the right amount of sleep, you wake up energized and ready for the day.
Second, we need to give our minds a recharge during the day. This can be in the form of a nap or even performing meditation or yoga. In fact, all you really have to do is take 5-10 minutes, step away from your desk and find a quiet place to simply relax and take your mind off of things.
#2. Focus On One Thing At A Time
How often do you multi-task? If you are like most, the answer is probably a lot. But it’s a myth that multi-tasking is good. It’s actually bad for us. We never give a project 100% of our attention and are scatterbrained as a result.
Think about it this way, when you lift a 1 pound weight, are you really working out or challenging your muscles? Not even close. So if you never challenge your mind by intensely focusing on an issue or project, you never really work your mind to its full potential. This can lead to bad things down the road.
Learn to stop multi-tasking and instead focus on one thing at a time to strengthen and keep your brain sharp.
#3: Learn To Prioritize
Learning to prioritize will help your mind and will also help you to stop multi-tasking. To prioritize, start your day off with a to-do list of items. Once you have your list, re-order things so that the most important things are listed first. As time goes by, you will get better and better at figuring out the most important things you need to get done. Here is a hint: the most important things are the ones that will get you ahead in life.
Once you have your list prioritized, now you can focus on the most important things. Doing the most important things first will help you in various ways:
- You do the important things when your mind is sharpest
- You are less likely to make mistakes
- You learn to focus intently on one thing at a time
As you master this skill, you can begin to apply to other areas of life as well and keep progressing towards no longer multi-tasking.
#4. Change Your Routine
Do you drive to work the same way every day? Maybe go through the grocery store the same way? If so, you need to change things up and routine is bad for keeping your brain sharp.
When you lift weights, you need to change the weights, sets, reps and even the exercises you do every few months. This is because the human body adapts to the workload. Once it adapts to the workload, you might think you are exerting maximum effort, but your body is really on cruise control.
This is the same thing for your mind. When you drive to work the same way every day, your mind goes into auto-pilot mode. Challenge it by taking a different route. Walk through the grocery store the opposite way as usual. If you don’t want to take a different route to work, then try to find an alternative way home. Or drive around on the weekend and try to get lost and find your way home without the use of GPS or a map.
Just doing simple things like this forces our brains to work and helps to keep them sharp.
You need to work your brain so that it stays strong and sharp throughout your life. The more time you take to exercise your mind, the more it will begin to pay off not only now but also in the years to come. Apply these 4 tips of keeping your brain sharp to your life and you will begin to see a change for the better with a sharper mind, better focus and more accomplished.
[Photo Credit: Susana Fernandez]