Whether you’re recovering from a traumatic experience or simply trying to stay mentally young, exercising your mind is as important as your glutes and hamstrings. But how you exercise your mind is as important as the act itself. Doing just one of these is the mental equivalent of consistently skipping leg day. The trick here is to work in a variety of these exercises to keep your mind clear and your brain sharp.
Play Strategy Games
Whether it’s a quick game of Hearts or Poker or a longer challenge like Risk, strategy games can help you stay sharp. These games engage your long-term and short-term tactical mind and force you to think several steps ahead. In order to win, you have to understand the game and outplay your opponents. Strategy games typically also require social interaction, which can sharpen you on multiple levels.
Work on Puzzles
A good jigsaw puzzle is one of the most satisfying things you can do on a rainy, spring evening. Puzzles don’t have to come with a thousand pieces, however. Instead, you can work on a book of sudokus, do the daily Wordle, or do a regular crossword puzzle. Like strategy games, puzzles can require you to do outside-the-box thinking, challenging the status quo of your mental state. For example, suppose you’re a fan of watching television in the evening. In that case, you could incorporate this into your routine by watching Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy! and trying to answer the questions or solve the puzzles yourself.
Expand Your Knowledge
Learning new things is a great way to improve your mental clarity. Simply by challenging yourself to new heights, you can increase brain function and encourage internal growth. Learning new things doesn’t mean you have to learn how to do sequential integrated representations of natural logs. Instead, try taking on a challenge you’ve always wanted to face, like learning a new language, increasing your vocabulary, taking on a carpentry project, or learning to crochet.
Learning carpentry or crocheting could be used to benefit others as well. For example, if you’ve always wanted to build things, you could help out with an organization like Habitat for Humanity. Or, if you learn to crochet, you could make plastic mats for people to sleep on.
Pass on Your Knowledge
Teaching something is the best way to find a new approach to an old task. Have you ever tried to explain something you know really well to someone else and realized that it’s too hard or complicated to do simply? Then you have to think through each step individually and examine what needs to be explained and what should be ignored.
Challenging yourself to teach others is good for you and benefits your community. Whether it’s helping new arrivals learn English as a second language or passing on your football knowledge to a local high school, you can grow as a person, think more clearly, and positively impact other people’s lives.
Engage with Art
There are many ways to engage with art that aren’t merely going to an art gallery and staring at blobs on a canvas. While I joke, you could learn how to put your own blobs on a canvas or take the opportunity to express yourself in art.
If you enjoy music, you could engage with art by going to a live show, learning to play an instrument, or listening to new and challenging genres. If literature is your thing, reading new books from authors you’ve never read before, joining a book club to discuss these books, or even going to see performances that interpret what you’re reading, like plays and movies, could help you expand your mind.
Art is commentary, escapism, interpretation, and communication all rolled into one. It can express the pinnacle of human experience or decry the acts of those who came before. Especially for those who have lived through traumatic experiences, art is an opportunity to express what you may not be able to say otherwise.
Meditation is a great way to clear your mind and focus on the present. If you’ve never tried to meditate before, we have a quick guide that includes great reasons why you should try it.
You don’t have to meditate the way we say, however. Instead, meditation is any time you take to clear your mind and focus on the present.
Stay Physically Active
Being physically active engages multiple parts of your brain, encourages muscle growth, and enables you to engage more fully with your environment. There are many different ways to be active, and we encourage you to go at your own pace.
If you like to run, make sure you run consistently. If exercise isn’t your thing, try for a walk. Park at the back of the parking lot and walk into the grocery store from much farther away. Not everyone is starting from the same level of ability or has the same access to exercise — we’re aware of that. One of the things we strongly recommend is NEAT.
NEAT stands for non-exercise activity thermogenesis, which is all of the energy you expend doing things that are not sleeping, engaging in sports-like exercise, and eating. It’s unplanned physical movement. The parking of the car at the back of the parking lot is a good example of a NEAT activity. You’re simply adding a little extra to something you would be doing anyway. Increasing this kind of activity is great for neural plasticity because it can improve your physical fitness without requiring the discipline and motivation of consistent exercise.
Support your routine with holistic options and supplements
We believe in the benefits of holistic support for mental and physical wellness. Getting outside can help you absorb more vitamin D, but if that doesn’t happen, supplementing it in your diet can help you function better. To improve energy levels and mental clarity, make sure you get vitamin B12 with your protein and iron, also easily supplemented.
Melatonin softgels can help you get more rest, which in turn will help you think more clearly. We also recommend adding CBD to your daily routine. CBD interacts with your endocannabinoid system to help you achieve a state of internal balance and equilibrium. This internal balance can, in turn, allow you to think more clearly and function better.
You don’t have to do everything on this list, but we recommend trying a few new things. Some may work well for you, while others leave you tired and frustrated. And that’s OK — not everything is for everyone.
If you’re interested in incorporating CBD into your lifestyle and not sure how to achieve this, reach out to us at Spirit Peak Organics for more information!