Photo courtesy of Hey Paul Studios
As we’re sliding into week three of our Memory Improvement Project, this week’s Mindful Monday is going to address some specific strategies to actually begin training your brain.
We started out by gaining some mental clarity, creating a blank slate of sorts for the work ahead of us. Once we had implemented some very important behavioral changes, we added some memory boosting supplements to our daily regimen.
Don’t worry if you’re struggling with the process a bit. As I previously mentioned, I have trouble getting enough sleep. However, after doing a lot of reading on the sleep/memory connection, I had an ‘a-ha’ moment during which I realized that without adequate sleep, my brain will never function at full capacity. Getting eight hours a night has become one of my top priorities, and so far I’m noticing a real difference in my ability to focus on tasks.
Now that I have my brain running more optimally, I’m ready to take the next step in the process. We have billions of neurons firing upstairs and, as it turns out, we have a choice about some of the connections those neurons are making! We’re not on a wild goose chase here, people! We can actually change our brains. Here is what I’m going to try this week:
Make neuro-choices – When I say that we have a choice about what connections are being made in our brains, I’m not kidding. It’s been shown that the neurons that fire together, wire together, so to speak. In other words, “practice makes perfect.” The human brain has a great ability to adapt the way it works - called neuroplasticity – and I plan to use it to my advantage.
Walk my way to a better brain – Although getting physical in any way has been shown to boost brain power, walking in particular has a positive effect on the area of the brain that controls memory.
Play mind games - Brain stimulating games like Brain Trainer by Luminosity increase blood flow to the pre-frontal cortex and are conveniently downloadable for iPhone and iPod Touch. I plan to play at least one level a day, right after I:
Indulge – Intake of limited amounts of caffeine can improve short term memory, so I’ve decided to take six ounces of caffiene each day immediately before beginning my brain training.
Listen to more music – Studies show that people who listen to music are smarter and have more emotional intelligence than those who don’t. Music strengthens the brain’s right-hemisphere.
Read – When we read, our brains have to absorb a lot of information in short order. This challenges our thinking and memory skills. I haven’t made much time for reading lately, and I plan to read 15 minutes of my book each day at lunch time.
We don’t have to sit idly by and watch our brain power fade, and there is medical research to prove it. By exercising our brains just like we exercise our bodies, we can increase our neural connections just like we build our biceps.