It can start with forgetting little things – like what you wore yesterday, or where you placed your car keys. But as time goes by, though we might not notice, we start forgetting more and losing track of more significant stuff bit by bit. (Where the hell are my glasses? What did I buy last night?)
In as much as we’d like to say that age is just a number, there are some parts of us that manifest our age. Our brain, despite being the super computer that it is, sadly, is one of those organs that age with us, especially if we don’t exercise it.
Here are three surprising activities that will keep the brain in top form:
- Go out and enjoy the plants. Plants can help us concentrate better and can ward off stress. The aroma from plants, particularly plants like ginseng and turmeric, can improve blood flow to the brain which ensure better oxygenation and better intake of nutrients. The calming effect of sage and mint improves concentration even at the most stressful time. According to Michell Schoffro Cook, a doctor of natural medicine and author of The Brain Wash “Natural scents have a direct pathway to the brain and research shows that some chemical constituents of aromatherapy oils can cross the blood-brain barrier.” Less stress also means less damage to the brain.
- Become as leftist. (or a rightist, depending on what you’re always using). If you’re right handed, then start using your left hand (or vice versa, if you’re left-handed) for day to day activities such as brushing your teeth, texting, washing dishes, etc. The small change will stimulate the nerve ending and neural connections between the left and right hemispheres, amounting to as much as 10% more nerve fibers. Of course, do this with tasks that you could afford to put extra time in. If it takes you half an hour to type sentences with your non-dominant hand and you have a deadline to beat, then doing this would not be a wise thing to do.
- Do some good act everyday. Doing good or being involved in a worthy cause van give us a natural high that can actually make us smarter. The sense of well-being and the calmness we get being “good samaritans” raise our self esteem and eliminate negative vibes that can be harmful to the brain.
- Socialize. The communicating and interacting with other people also improve our cognitive skills. According to Oscar Ybarra, a psychologist at the University of Michigan, short term interaction lasting for just 10 minutes can boost intellectual performance as much as engaging in so-called intellectual activities for the same amount of time.
Of course, as you probably have heard before, make an effort to learn something new. Once we deviate from our routine, our brain will become stimulated and will increase its activity. Compared to doing things automatically, these non-routine tasks will encourage the growth of new dendrites and neurons.