Think Fast!

brain superhero

I recently read an article that had some great ideas for keeping our minds sharp, maybe even improving our mental agility so we can think faster and better.

The first piece of advice was to get aerobic exercise—30 minutes of moderate working out three times a week, for 6 months, is shown to promote the growth of brain cells and connections in the brain that are important for learning and memory.

Here are the other tips:

Get enough vitamin D. Check with your doctor or nutritionist on this one—some experts recommend a little time in the sun, and some recommend supplements if you need them.

Trust your gut. According to researchers at Columbia University, mulling over our options for too long can cause us to make the wrong choice. They recommend writing a simple summary of the choices available, listing the pros and cons for each, quickly evaluate which one is best and acting on it.

Read. Choosing reading material on a wide variety of interesting topics, and focusing on our reading comprehension, helps improve our comprehension and reading speed.

Adopt a new mantra: “I Can Do Better.” The power of positive thinking—this phrase actually can speed up our brain’s reaction time. Repeat this phrase to yourself quietly, “I can do better.” Apparently, world-class athletes do, and it helps their performance!

Drive. Researchers in the UK found that the concentration needed to drive on the highway, especially changing lanes, clears the mind so completely that it helps us think better. If you’re stuck on a problem, it might be worth a try.

Exercise 4 hours after learning something new. Researchers in the Netherlands found that if we need to memorize something, a well-timed workout helps the brain store the new data in the hippocampus—the part of the brain associated with memory.

Yawn. A yawn is our body’s way of telling us it needs fresh oxygen. So don’t stifle it. Yawning is good for the brain, making us more mentally efficient.

Rap. Research shows that rapping—or performing musical improvisations—requires us to really think on our feet, which helps improve our thinking speed overall.

Read. Enjoying good literature boosts not only our imaginations but also other connections in the brain that help it function better.

Stand up. We already know that too much sitting is bad for us. Just changing positions from sitting to standing shifts our attention and helps us refocus. But working at a stand-up desk is shown to improve time management, fact retention, and comprehension.

Chew gum. Chewing increases blood flow to the brain, enough to help us remember words faster.
Learn. It’s healthy to push ourselves to learn new things at any age. The brain needs to be worked. If we don’t use it, we lose it!

Source: “12 Ways to Think Faster,” by Lisa Mulcahy, Parade, February 5, 2017.

Category : Health &Personal Growth Posted on February 15, 2017

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