Everyday Mental Exercises for a Stronger Brain

Most people are familiar with and regularly practice the type of physical exercise that strengthen muscles and build endurance. What many don’t know is that there are mental exercises you can do to sharpen the mind and foster more effective learning. Here are seven mental exercises you can do to promote a stronger mind for learning.

Practice memorization.

Boost your memory by practicing memorization with the everyday lists you already create. Try memorizing your list of things to do for the day, or the list of items you need to pick up from the grocery store.

Draw a map from memory.

Another way to practice your memory skills – and to better your sense of direction while you’re at it – is to draw a map from memory after you have visited a place. Include any streets and landmarks you may remember.

Do mental math.

Put your phone away when the check comes at the restaurant; rather than using a calculator to determine how much of a tip you should leave, do the math in your head to give your brain some exercise. Other examples of everyday instances where you can practice mental math include estimating your total at the grocery store, making conversions while baking, and calculating how many miles your car drives per gallon of gas.

Keep a handwritten journal.

Hand-writing in a journal not only causes you to use your memory, but also ignites your brain’s language and motor skill functions.

Study a foreign language.

Learning a foreign language is not only useful, the listening and hearing involved also stimulates the brain. Studying a foreign language will challenge you to reflect on how your own language works, think in new patterns, and broaden your vocabulary.

Practice a musical instrument.

Practicing a musical instrument – be it the guitar, piano, violin, or drums – is a great way to give your brain the equivalent of a full-body workout. It engages just about every area of the brain –especially those areas associated with visual, auditory, and motor skills. Practicing an instrument will strengthen those areas of the brain, and this will carry over as you practice other mentally stimulating activities that involve those areas of the brain.

Try something new.

Not sure if a foreign language or musical instrument is for you? Not to worry – trying your hand at anything that is new and exciting can give your brain new concepts to comprehend and new skills to master. Keep your brain engaged by regularly breaking up your routine and trying new things, such as reading a new book, cooking with a recipe you haven’t tried, exploring a new hike, or trying out painting for the first time.