You love to hit the gym regularly and know how important it is to fuel your body with the right foods. In other words, you’re all over it when it comes to training and taking care of your body.
But have you ever given much thought (pun intended) to your mental fitness? We’ve rounded up five easy ways to train your brain and ensure you’re functioning at your peak performance at work, in the gym and everywhere else.
1. TRY A VIRTUAL PERSONAL TRAINER
A virtual personal trainer for your brain that is! Apps like Lumosity and BrainHQ are based around the concept of neuroplasticity. Which is basically neuroscientist jargon to explain how our brains are adaptable and can be rewired. These apps offer daily brain ‘workouts’ consisting of fun cognitive games. And just like any good trainer they can tailor a program to help you achieve your goals, whether that be improving your memory or sharpening your mental focus.
2. GET YOUR PUZZLE ON
Apps not your thing? You could always kick it old school with Suduko or a tricky crossword puzzle. Up the ante by setting yourself a time limit to complete them in. Learning a new language or undertaking any other past time that challenges you to think in new and different ways is great for your brain fitness.
3. EMBRACE THE SWEETNESS OF M&M
No, we’re not talking about chocolate treats! We’re talking about the two linked practices of meditation and mindfulness. Like the mental equivalent of rebooting your computer, regular meditation has been shown to have a myriad of benefits including reducing stress and increasing creativity.
Practicing mindfulness is also a great way to boost your memory and just means making a conscious effort to stay in the present moment. Try really paying attention to your food when you eat. Or have a ‘mindful shower’ where you notice everything from the feel of the water on your skin to the scent of your shampoo, rather than going through the motions on auto-pilot and scrolling through your mental to-do list.
4. CONSIDER A DIGITAL DETOX
Get a shiver of fear at the mere thought of parting with your smart phone? Don’t worry we’re not going to recommend you ditch all your devices for an extended period of time. In her 7 Day Mind Cleanse e-course, meditation teacher Jacqui Lewis of The Broad Place recommends book-ending your day with a ‘power down hour’. So no mobiles, TV or computer during the first hour after you wake up or the hour before you go to sleep. A simple yet seriously effective way to combat information overload. It’s like sending your brain to a health retreat each day!
5. GET YOUR SWEAT ON
Like you needed another reason to make fitness a priority! Exercise been proven to boost happiness and mental clarity and reduce stress. If possible, consider the times you do certain types of training as well. Try cardio or strength training in the morning to fire your brain up and boost productivity. And more gentle activities like Body Balance or Yoga in the evening to shake off the stress of the work day and set yourself up for a restful sleep.
How do you train your brain?