Neurobics is the term used to describe a set of mental exercises that give your brain a ’workout’. It involves using all five of your senses: sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. Regular exercising stimulates the growth of new neuronal connections in various parts of the brain, strengthens your nerve cells and promotes the production of brain nutrients that improve memory.
We want to share these simple, yet very useful exercises with you. By doing this brain workout every morning, you will improve your physical and emotional state in no time.
1. Brush your teeth with the wrong hand.
Scientific studies have shown that using the non-dominant hemisphere of your brain (which is what this exercise requires) results in rapid and significant expansion of the cortical surface area.
- How to do it: simply brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand — and don’t forget to use the same hand for opening the tube and applying toothpaste as well.
2. Take a shower with your eyes closed.
Tactile sensations activate various parts of our brain. With your hands you can feel the textures of your body that are impossible to see; this is thanks to the nerve endings in your hands that send signals to the brain when the skin is touched.
- How to do it: try using just your tactile senses (but be very careful to avoid injury). Turn on the taps and/or shower and adjust the flow of water just by trusting your feelings and memory of where they are. Then wash yourself entirely with your eyes closed.
3. Break your usual morning routine.
Studies of the brain have proven that mixing up your everyday tasks increases the thickness of the cortex and improves brain activity.
- How to do it: get dressed after breakfast, choose another place to walk your dog, change your favorite TV channel or radio station.
4. Turn familiar objects upside down (Seriously, do it!)
When we look at things the right way up, our left ’’verbal’’ hemisphere is able to pass over items easily, switching our attention to other things very quickly. Turning familiar objects upside down, though, makes the right hemisphere work, and we pay more attention to the shapes and tones of the things we see.
- How to do it: turn your family pictures, a wall clock or a calendar upside down.
5. Switch seats at the table.
In most families, each member has their own place at the table, but your brain needs to be surprised with new experiences in order to develop.
- How to do it: Switch the seats to change your position and view of the room and people. You’ll see that even the way you reach for salt and pepper has changed.
6. Breathe in new aromas.
You likely don’t even remember how it is that you ’’learned’’ to associate the smell of coffee with the beginning of a new day. Linking unusual flavors — say, vanilla, cinnamon, or peppermint — to any activity will help the brain to build new neural pathways.
- How to do it: keep your favourite flavor extract near your bed for a whole week. Breathe it in as soon as you wake up, bathe and dress.
7. Open the car window
The hippocampus is a region of the brain responsible for memory. Your memories will be more vivid if they involve smells, sounds, and sights.
- How to do it: Try to recognize new odors and sounds on your route. Opening a window will help you to do this.
8. Examine the products in the supermarket.
In all supermarkets, the most profitable products are always placed at eye level. That is why when shopping you don’t really see much.
- How to do it: Stop in any aisle and take a top-to-bottom look at the shelves. If you notice something you haven’t seen before, take it, read the ingredients list, and think about it. You don’t even need to buy this product. In fact, the main task is done: you’ve broken your routine and gained a new experience.
9. Communicate more during the day.
Scientific studies have repeatedly proven that the lack of communication seriously affects overall cognitive abilities.
- How to do it: If you are thirsty, buy a drink from an actual person in a shop rather than from a vending machine. Out of gasoline? It’s better to pay at the cash desk rather than do card payment transactions via a terminal.
10. Read differently.
We activate different areas of our brain when we read or listen to other people; reading aloud to ourselves and reading silently also makes our brains work differently.
- How to do it: read aloud with your partner, then alternate the roles of reader and listener. It may take a lot of time to finish the book, but you will be able to spend more time together with them.
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