Watching my friends Mom jump on board the Candy Crush craze initially had me shaking my head in wonder. Why was this intelligent lady choosing to play an online game instead of being outdoors, reading a book or cooking up a storm? It was most unlike her. But as she successfully made her way up through the levels, I could see how happy it made her. She plays for short stints at a time. She feels successful with every level she passes. And she is lively, switched-on and energized after the play.
Scientists have disproved the phrase ‘you can’t teach old dogs new tricks’ with countless studies about the ability of the brain to adapt and change, even into old age.
So let’s start a list of some fun ways to increase your mental alertness and harness the power of your brain.
- Learn a musical instrument. Clear your head and release some built up frustration with a drum kit, or take piano lessons.
- Make time for family and friends. Start conversations, have a few laughs, join a book club, introduce yourself to the stranger you nod to regularly as you go about your day, volunteer your time to an organization you support.
- Start a new sport. Pick up a tennis racket, start yoga, go to dance classes.
- Start doing crosswords. Complete all the questions you know, and find the answers to those you don’t.
- Eat well. Increasing your diet to include sources of Omega 3 (salmon, tuna, sardines) is beneficial for brain health.
- Get good sleep! When you’re sleep deprived your brain doesn’t operate at full capacity.
- Exercise. Not everyone’s favourite thing to build into their daily routine, but even a short daily walk or a 15-minute dance-a-thon in your lounge room will increase the oxygen levels to your brain.
- Meditation. Taking time out to meditate can increase your focus and concentration, creativity and learning. Studies show the benefits of meditation in helping depression, anxiety, and high blood pressure.
What do you do to increase your mental alertness?