Just as we maintain our physical body with exercise, we like to take care of our mind with meditation. Can we also train our brain out of the old patterns?
Neurobics is a new age system of exercise for the brain that has been developed by neuroscientists to keep the brain agile and healthy.
“Neurobics is based on solid scientific ground; it is an exciting synthesis of substantial findings on the brain that provides a concrete strategy for keeping the brain fit and flexible as you grow older,” according to the “Keep your brain alive“ book.
What kind of exercise is this? It is available for anyone and it does not require much effort. In fact, it is a sort of gamification of life which can make it more fun.
The older we grow, the more habits we obtain. We have an algorithm for doing virtually everything we repeat daily, and (if not intentionally kept silent), the mind mostly wanders off during the routine activities of the day, such as waking up, brushing teeth, showering, walking to the grocery store, etc.
Wandering mind creates more noise in one’s head and one cannot hear themselves properly anymore. Moreover, it does not bring any fruit in most cases. And because we mostly follow routines, the same nervous pathways are being activated in the brain. So, to bring some fresh thinking, we may start including something unusual to our daily routines that will “wake up” our brains.
Here we suggest some exercise that may help you feel fresh by changing little aspects of your daily routine and is easy to do.
- Wake up to the smell of vanilla – keep an extract of vanilla or cloves, or any other aroma next to your bed and try to smell it as soon as you wake up, even before opening your eyes. Most of us are used to waking up to fresh coffee smell, and smelling something different will activate different nervous pathways.
- Brush your teeth with the different hand, if you are right handed, change to the left hand, and vice versa.
- Blind shower – shower with your eyes closed and observe how your sensations will amplify.
- Take a different route to work.
- Test your taste – you can play this with your favorite drink, say tea – make five cups of different tea, and then close your eyes and try to determine which one is which, you friends will know and they will tell you if your guess is correct.
- Test your touch – put many coins on the table and try to determine their denominations by touch.
- Change your working environment – exchange chairs with your colleague, move the phone from the right to the left side of your desk, throw your trash into your colleague’s trash bin.
- Learn a new game – replace a coffee break or a cigarette break with a chess game.
- Have your meal in complete silence and in the dark.
- Learn a new skill – take a workshop in origami, massage or creative writing
- Speak to your friends without using words for half an hour – communicate nonverbally by gestures and other means.
To learn more ideas for activating different pathways in the brain, you can check out the book Keep your brain alive by Lawrence C. Katz, and Manning Rubin.
You may also use one of the exciting and engaging games such as Elevate and Lumosity, which you can get as an app, both for free, and a paid extended version.
Feel free to comment sharing your own ideas of “brain hacks”.