Getting physically fit calls for a dedication to working out regularly, whether on your own, by taking fun classes, or with the personal guidance of a trainer. Luckily, it’s easier than ever to get into shape with opportunities like streaming workouts to help you enjoy a strong bod. Though most people seem aware that physical strength comes from focused effort, some of us forget that being in a great mental state also requires mindful intention and practice. Want to elevate your mind so you’re ready to jump on the next opportunity that presents itself? Read on for six things you can do anywhere to give your mental muscles a workout.
1. Try digital brain training. Technology and digital devices have earned a controversial rap when it comes to forming healthy habits. However, they can serve as incredible tools when it comes to working on your mental fitness. Lumosity, a brain-training game company, works with scientists and researchers to develop cognitive games that will keep your skills sharp. Choose from 50+ fun games designed to help you process information, improve your memory, visualize better, and more.
2. Play word games. Not up for staring at a screen? We don’t blame you. Give your eyes a break by treating yourself to some old-fashioned fun by sitting down with a book of crossword puzzles and a pencil (pen if you’re feeling super-confident!) or challenging a friend to a game of Scrabble. Playing word games will fire up the left hemisphere of your brain — the side responsible for language. As an added bonus, you’ll probably come away with some impressive additions to your vocabulary too!
3. Take a class. Your brain gets a boost each time you have an opportunity to learn something new, and hands-on classes are one of the best ways to work through a new process. If you like learning online, consider looking for a specific type of class or instructor you wouldn’t have access to in your area; if face-to-face learning is your jam, scour local listings to find something you’ll feel excited about. Whether it’s hip-hop dance, macrame, painting, or even a job skill that’ll help you in your career, you’ll be putting mental muscles to work.
4. Make something. Do you love DIY, home projects, making art, writing, or making music? Good news: All of these things call on your right brain and engage your senses, giving it a workout as you produce something new. Dr. Lawrence Katz, the author of Keep Your Brain Alive, uses the word “neurobics” to explain brain exercises that force you to think in new ways. According to Dr. Katz, the act of creating enhances problem-solving abilities while allowing you to uncover unique solutions and innovations. Even more, unlike math or science, there’s no one “right” final result to artistic endeavors — helping your creativity flourish!
5. Meditate. Many healthy and successful people credit meditation with helping them achieve a more focused state. Benefits of the mental practice range from peaceful feelings and positive attitudes to cultivating productive thoughts. Though this kind of mental workout might feel less intense than something like an intentional thinking exercise, transforming how you think is a sure way to work toward a healthier mindset and will help you improve your mental strength. If you’re a beginner who’s looking to get started, consider using the Headspace app; you can start small with a few minutes each day as you work your way toward mastery.
6. Up your step count. It’s a simple (and, yes, physical) thing, but carving out time for a walk each day will work wonders for your mental health, helping you become stronger in mind as well as body. Not only is walking a proven way to decrease anxiety, stress, and symptoms of depression, but it has also been shown to help people be more creative. Lace up those kicks and get moving for 20-30 minutes; it’s all you need to enjoy some big brain benefits.
What’s your favorite brain exercise? Tweet us how it helps you @BritandCo.
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