I love learning and believe it can exist in your life in any form you want. Even if you’ve tallied up four Ph.D.s you can still get a more beautiful brain. (For all you philosophers, the mind/body dichotomy is beyond the scope of this article.) If you swore off higher learning in grade 7 and never want to see a classroom again, this article is also for you.
How to Have a Great Big Beautiful Brain:
Then read some more. Any topic. Pick up novels, trade journals, sheet music, comic books or click through online articles regularly. Reading activates different parts of the brain than watching TV, for example. If you don’t like reading or have difficulty, try listening to audio books on your commute or while you do housework.
2. Expose yourself to new ideas.
Venture into new topics–the less existing knowledge you have the better. Get out of your mental comfort zone. If it’s intimidating or boring keep going, one page, one book, one CD, one radio show, one streamed video at a time. Don’t stop until you find a topic that captures your imagination. Then run with it. Repeat.
3. Take a course.
Hone your existing skills or explore an untapped talent. Learn the basics of electric circuitry or how to fold origami. Learn a new language or how to play the pedal steel guitar. Take your calligraphy or BBQ mastery to the next level. Learn video production or how to re-build an engine. If you don’t have time for a class check out online or correspondence courses, how-to books or instructional videos.
4. Take a different route.
Drive a different way to work. Walk a different path on your errands. Take a different bus or get off at a different stop. Jog the other direction around the park. Go to a different grocery store. Use your non-dominant hand. Change your routine and avoid acting on auto-pilot.
5. Do puzzles.
Jigsaw puzzles are good. So are crosswords and Sudoku. Explore online if you usually do paper versions and vice versa. Play with Meccano, Lego, a chemistry set or a Rubik’s Cube. Build a model plane or a ship in a bottle, or craft a miniature house out of Popsicle sticks or toothpicks. Make a quilt. Load the dishwasher a different way. Look at your surroundings objectively and re-arrange furniture or re-organize the garage and closets.
6. Play video games.
Studies have consistently shown that playing video games improves hand-eye coordination among other skills.
7. Watch something different.
If you just want to relax in front of the TV try watching something new. If you yelled, “No way!” then stay in a familiar theme. For example, if you usually watch football or MMA try a military history documentary. If you can’t get enough of Cops or Honey Boo Boo, try some old shows like Barney Miller or Laverne & Shirley; even within genres, different years, language, fashion, social norms, script styles and production will lend new ideas.
Any exercise is better than no exercise. You don’t have to run a marathon or crush a Warrior workout to see and feel results. Try beginners’ Pilates, shoot hoops down the street or go swimming at the rec center. Go for a walk around the block. Flex your muscles in your chair. If you have restrictive health conditions, consult a physician or specialist. If you’re already active, step up your game. Physical exercise is great for the brain.
We are creatures of habit and crave comfort, including mentally. Trying these steps, or your own, will light up your brain in new ways and activate new neural pathways. Your brain will be beautiful and you’ll stay gorgeous.
–What do you recommend for maintaining a great big beautiful brain?
NOTE: The above does not constitute medical advice. If you have any concerns or problems regarding your brain function or other health issues, seek professional medical attention.
[Photo: Inspired by Rodin. Please notify me of any credit/copyright.]