You can stretch your mind at any age This is great news because your brain has plasticity. This means that the brain has a natural ability to remodel itself throughout life so that the phrase “stretch your mind at any age” resonates.
The brain is always changing, sometimes for better, and sometimes for worse. This neuroplasticity gives the brain the ability to change its neural pathways and synapses, which in turn affects changes in behavior, environment and neural processes.
Another piece of good news is that the brain and the mind work simultaneously on the body. Consider that the brain is the hardware and mind is software of the body. The brain is a tangible organ and coordinates all body functions. The mind is intangible: it senses and executes when to make decisions. The mind is the conscious or the soul of the body.
When your brain is functioning at optimum levels, you will find increases in Attention, Memory, Brain Speed, Intelligence, People Skills, and Navigation. Some brain exercises (crossword puzzles, Sudoku) directly exercise those skills; other brain work challenge you to improve in basic sensory skills. Your senses constantly send information to the brain (they are the roots of your brain). The more clearly your brain registers this information, the better you can respond to it, store it, remember it and use it later.
However, if your brain is fuzzy and imprecise in its most basic functions, more complex thinking won’t be available to you. Your actions may even be compromised because incomplete information reduces memory, thinking and focus.
More importantly, as your brain slows down, the outside stimuli doesn’t slow down. Over time, as you age, you will be losing more and more environmental details making it more difficult to react and remember. Straining to remember details makes you tired quicker. The bright light in your brain gets dimmer with age, and it gets more difficult to focus and concentrate.
Here are 25 tips to stretch your mind at any age:
- Be aware that your brain creates new regions that communicate without any input from the outside world. This neuroplasticity provides new insights about your environment and yourself.
- Try some brain exercise programs for nearly all of the behavioral faculties: memory, attention, speed flexibility, problem solving. I suggest Luminosity.
- Memory exercises can sharpen the brain’s ability to record what you see and hear so that you can create a crystal-clear memory that’s easy to recall. Make lists and visualize details.
- “How do you use all aspects of your mind to achieve greater peace, success, fulfillment in business and relationships? Those who are wise practice love.” Dali Lama
- Unleash the intellectual and emotional power of self-knowledge. Take some risks, some leaps of faith and be willing to make glorious mistakes.
- You cannot stretch the mind at any ages if you do not forgive first. No forgiving keeps you in the quicksand of life. If your thinking is small, your results will be small.
- Get rid of distractions and mindless stimuli. Attention exercises are designed to help retrain the brain to focus its attention so you feel more aware and less distracted.
- Use all your senses to process your environment. How quickly your brain can process events around you determines how effectively you can react to and remember those events.
- Try to remember the details of people you meet: faces, colors, sounds, emotions, laugh, lips, eye color, expressions, names, handshakes. Conscious attention to details increases memory retention
- Learn about new places: practice geography skills. Start with Google maps, study it with your optic flow and then try not to use it. Play the scene in your head without relying exclusively on your eyes.
- Don’t resist change. Change keeps the mind stretching in all directions: mentally, emotionally, physically, intellectually. It increases problem solving skills and opens up opportunities and possibilities.
- Check out the abundance in your life. A mental state of choosing abundance over scarcity puts your life into real focus. Embrace what you have and release the negative emotions attached to what you don’t have.
- Older age retirement is associated with decreased risk of dementia.The longer you postpone retirement, the lower your risk of Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia.
- The brain is a muscle and needs to be worked. Challenging intellectual activity builds up rich neural connections that function as insurance against later brain tissue losses.
- Practice reframing your thoughts, your comments and your criticism. This process rewires your brain and erases the negative thought patterns you have in place.
- You can teach yourself to get into the positive zone of thought and action by being mindful of thought, word and deed. Embrace a world will look different, feel different, thinks different.
- Be mindful of the functions of the right/left brain (logic vs creative). Consider how much you use either one during the day and how both blend in thought as you process more complex issues and problems.
- Mental blocks preclude your ability to stretch the mind. Increase problem-solving skills, discover creative ideas and let your imagination run wild by eliminating ineffective hard wiring patterns in the brain.
- The past is a trap that keeps your mind in a haze of old ideas, thoughts, emotions and attachments. Be present, be conscious, be mindful and experience the wonders of your mind/body connection.
- Make your thoughts positive. Every day you have approximately 60,000 thoughts in your sub-conscious mind. Those thoughts will get magnified as they go out attracting like positive energy and returning more positive energy to you.
- Practice active listening. Numerous studies show we ignore, forget, distort or misunderstand 75% of all the words we hear. Train your mind to be present. Think of listening as learning.
- After you learn new information, talk about it soon after. Review major points; try to include several details. 24 hours later most information is lost.
- Wake up your brain in conversation by taking laser pictorial notes. Details are building blocks to memory retention.
- Physical exercise is a blueprint that helps the brain stretch at any age. Exercise encourages the mind and body to connect and balance and be sharper, more vigilant.
- Meditation helps you self-integrate your mental, physical, spiritual experiences. The state of balance brought on by meditation helps you discover your own sense of compassion, optimism and joy.
If you want to continue to grow and flourish, you need learning- and memory-control machinery that is up to the task!