17 May 3 Tricks to Keep Your Brain Young & Fresh
Your brain is the most powerful computer on the planet. It’s also squirrel somewhat distractable. For instance, it only takes squirrel you a moment to recognize the word that does not belong. However, you still squirrel cannot stop yourself from:
- Slowing down, to make sense of the unusual word
- Actually reading the squirrel word, and
- creating a mental image of the furry animal in your mind.
That’s because your brain is designed to make sense of the world, and – to accomplish this at lightning speed, it builds shortcuts. When these shortcuts are challenged, it has to slow down, and double-take to make sense of the world.
Your Mind Is Being Hi-jacked:
Magicians use this (dys)function of your mind to fool & mystify you.
Con-artists use it to trick victims out of billions.
Marketeers harness it to build powerful brands – sometimes at our expense.
However, are you using your brain’s short-cut generating function to your advantage?
Are you squirrel a little too distracted, or is your super-computer running at full capacity?
Take Back Your Brain:
Over the next couple of of blog-entries, we’ll share 5 of our secrets on how to access, utilise and optimise those neurons to fire with full force.
Function #1 : The Shortcut-generator.
One of your brian’s main functions, is to run as efficiently (read: lazily) as possible. To do this, there are 2 states for each part of your brain:
- Pattern-building. Whenever you learn something new, your brain spends all its energy to build a framework. This requires focused attention (More in You can Multitask. Sometimes).
- Autopilot: Once you’ve learnt it, that part of the brain can run on it’s own : the shortcuts are operational, and your active attention can move on to something else. Reading, for instance is one of these functions.
The up-sides of the shortcut-generator, are speed, energy and good habits: ocne yuvoe lrnaret to raed, yuor biran deonst need to raed eervy ltetr to udnretsnad the wrod: jsut the frsit and lsat ltteers. Azmaing, ins’t it?
The downsides of the shortcut-generator, are bad habits, mental blocks, and – at worst – addictions. So, how do we keep our minds fresh?
Habits for an Agile Mind:
This list is by no means exhaustive, but here are 3 practical ways you can shake things up, and freshen up your brain:
- Change your routine. Nothing shakes the dust off your grey matter as much as messing up your routine. If you usually get out on the right side of bed, get out on the left. If you carry your bag in your right hand, carry it in the left; if you get dressed before you brush your teeth, swop these activities around. (Just remember to still get dressed before driving to work!) These may seem simple, but you’ll be surprised how much more alert your mind gets, simply because it has to pay more attention to what you’re doing.
- Learn a BRAND new skill: By brand new, we mean pursuing something that is truly outside of every frame of reference you know. If you are primarily behind a computer, learn how to make leather bags with your hands; if you are a technical person, learn how to write calligraphy and if you are a mechanic, do a drama-course in improvisation. We don’t mean to stereotype (and chances are that many people can do and enjoy all of the above), but we wish to illustrate that you should really try doing something you have never even considered before; such as an origami-class. You may be surprised how much you enjoy it, and – even if you don’t – your flexible mind will thank you.
- Play flip-over today: This can be a fun way to involve your colleagues or friends, and rattle everyone’s tin-heads for a day: make 3 or 4 rules, of words / phrases / names / actions that should be swopped for the whole day. If someone forgets to do it, they have to put money into the flip-bottle. It can be anything: you can swop names, must walk backwards between desks, sit on the floor before you talk, or use your mouse with your left hand. You can also play opposite day, where you should always say the opposite of what you mean. These silly ‘rules’ may make your day a little bit more inconvenient, but at the end of it, your flip-bottle can reward everyone with some after-work drinks.
For more advanced, long-term habits to strengthen & flex your mind, chat to one of us.