Master Brainpower For Success
Do we take our brains for granted? Our brainpower helps us survive, make decisions, be creative, and think strategically. We can use our brains to imagine, make things up, fantasize. But the brain needs to be exercised, just like any other muscle in our body. Failing to do so can leave it soft and not functioning as it should.
We are conditioned to believe that with age comes some loss of that function. Recently I started noticing some decline. I was becoming a bit more forgetful and solving math – my favorite thing ever! – was taking longer. I had to write it down and use a calculator on equations I had previously performed in my head.
I refuse to believe that because I am getting older, my brain function will wane. Doesn’t wine improve with age? I am a hobbyist winemaker, and I have a Cabernet Sauvignon that I bottled in 2013. I found it lacking, but I had friends who enjoyed it, so I gave most away. I came across a few dusty bottles not too long ago and thought I would give it another try. I was quite surprised by the change. The wine has aged for seven years, and it now has a smoothness to it, and I enjoyed it very much.
I decided I needed to be more proactive to guard my brain and incorporate lifestyle changes that will improve brain function, and increase my brainpower.
Simple fact, exercise boosts brainpower. Just look at the way Jack LaLanne lived his life. He exercised every day. He even worked out the day before he died, at 96! His very healthy lifestyle of diet and exercise was not for his physical appearance, although he did look fantastic, but for his mind. He believed that man’s biggest impression “…will not be the strength of his muscles, but the strength of his mind.”
If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, are a couch potato, you will age. Those who exercise will outperform couch potatoes in cognitive tests as well as tasks. If you want to improve your thinking skills, be more focused, you need to move your body.
Making sure you get enough sleep is one of the best things you can do for your brain (and your general health); however, that's not saying you must go to bed at 10:00 pm and wake up at 6:00 am.
Some people are naturally more productive in the morning, do their best before noon. They usually find themselves sleepy in the evening and rise early. On the flip side, we have the night owls. Most productive in the afternoon, they usually stay up until the wee hours of the morning and are late risers.
Experts suggest 7-9 hours of sleep in a cool, dark, and quiet room no matter what category you fall in. Try to avoid light from computers or televisions close to bedtime, and use room darkening curtains to keep disturbing lights out.
Be aware of the moment, of your surroundings, and stop multitasking. The brain cannot multitask. It focuses on concepts one at a time, one after the other. So, while you think you are multitasking and being productive, you’re really not.
Think about this, have you ever been working on an important project, and someone asks you to look something up for them, and then the phone rings, and you answer it. Later that day, your colleague asked if you found the information they asked about, and you quickly apologize; perhaps you even laugh it off with a funny comment about your memory. And what about the phone call? Do you remember who it was? What did they need? Or what message did they leave and for whom?
Our brains are just not equipped for multitasking. We only retain a few things at any given time in our short-term memory; therefore, multitasking, in reality, works against you, making you less efficient and effective. Using the Pomodoro technique or hiring a virtual assistant are some ways you can manage your daily tasks and projects.
Brain exercise is just as important as physical exercise. Our days are full of repeated tasks, functions we can do with our eyes closed – on autopilot. But if you stop using it, you will lose it. Nothing is quite so good for your brain as engaging it and challenging it with new information. Take a class, learn another language. Do something new.
Regularly challenge your brain with crossword puzzles or Sudoku. There are many apps out there filled with all kinds of mental challenges designed to enhance your memory. So, why not play a game that gives a real positive boost to your brainpower?
Losing cognition skills doesn’t have to be inevitable. Like wine, your brain can improve with age. Jack LaLanne once said, “People don’t die of old age, they die of inactivity.” The same goes for that magnificent supercomputer residing in your head! In fact, by making some simple life changes now, you can help your brain to stay healthy and focused, regardless of your age.