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10 Practical Ways to Develop Your Mind


develop your mind

 



Introduction

It’s often said that most people only use a fraction of their brain’s capability, and that may be true. But how exactly do you go about keeping your mind sharp? How do you develop your mind?

It may seem complicated, but here are ten practical ways to develop your mind, practical tasks, and actions that you will find relatively easy to implement that can help develop your mind so that it is constantly growing and evolving. 

Take time to train your brain and develop your mind

Just as your body needs to be exercised for muscles to become stronger, your mind is also a muscle that needs to be exercised to stay strong. This means it’s important to engage in activities that challenge your brain regularly. 

Activities like crossword puzzles and word searches strengthen the brain by activating the parts of the brain responsible for processing and memory, among other things. 

Incorporating these activities into your routine regularly, even if it’s just 5 minutes a day, can increase processing speed, improve attention, and increase positive intellectual engagement (Ahuja, 2017). 

In addition, these types of activities as we age help improve our memory and reduce our risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. 

Read something regularly

Reading can have tremendous positive effects on the brain. Just 15 minutes of reading per day can significantly impact the health of our brains. 

Reading has been shown to strengthen the areas of our brain responsible for processing and learning information and spatial navigation. In addition, reading is associated with better comprehension, increased vocabulary, and improved overall memory (Beers, 2017). 

Learn a new language

The challenge involved in learning a new language is an excellent opportunity for your mind to grow. It has been shown that learning a foreign language can improve brain plasticity and increase the brain’s ability to encode new information and new data. 

Academic researchers in Helsinki found that the more languages a person has learned and the earlier age they learned them, the faster the neural network in the brain can process newly acquired data (Kimpaa, 2016).

Further research from the University of Edinburgh found that learning two or more foreign languages, even if learned in adulthood, could correlate with slowing cognitive decline associated with aging (Bak et. al., 2014). Thus, learning a new language could improve cognitive function and prevent cognitive decline. 

Learn to play an instrument. 

Just as learning a new language provides a unique challenge that strengthens the brain, learning to play an instrument offers a similar challenge and similar benefits. Research suggests that learning a musical instrument contributes to enhanced brain development, stimulation of existing brain pathways, and new neural networks (Nichols, n.d.). 

In addition, the Journal of Neuroscience published a study that examined the protective effects of playing music on the brain. The study found that when we play music on an instrument, the waves in our brains move rapidly to improve hearing and listening ability. 

This movement shows that the brain can rewire itself when faced with illness or injury that may limit a person’s ability to perform tasks (Ross et. al., 2017). Thus, learning an instrument can help the brain strengthen itself to combat injury or disease that would limit cognitive function. 

Ask questions and research answers

What better method can you use to learn more and develop your mind than to develop curiosity and explore that curiosity? 

People who constantly ask questions are usually explorers and analysts. They are not satisfied with the simple, superficial answers they receive. 

This kind of persistence leads people to ask important questions that help them gather more meaningful information. The process of curiosity and researching for answers stimulates the parts of our brains that deal with data processing, analysis, problem-solving, and creativity, among other things. 

The very fact that we want to know something and then try to find the answer challenges our brain so much that it grows. Curiosity strengthens the brain. It doesn’t kill the cat.

Eat brain-boosting foods.

Food fuels the mind and the body both. 

It is believed that a diet rich in many of the foods found in the Mediterranean diet can have positive effects on brain health.

Foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, beans, seeds, and olive oil can feed your mind as they keep your body healthy.

A study published in April 2017 found that people who eat a Mediterranean diet appear to benefit from protecting their brains over the long term. This is achieved by slowing the rate of cognitive decline and improving brain function. In addition, those who ate a Mediterranean diet maintained greater brain volume over three years (Berk et al., 2017). 

In another study, nuts were found to specifically enhance brain wave frequencies associated with cognition, memory, learning, healing, and other relevant brain functions (Berk et. al., 2017). These studies show that choosing the right foods can improve our brain processes and protect our brains from harmful influences.

Train your body 

A 2017 study found that physical fitness is not only for the body but it is also very beneficial for our mind. Every time we are physically active, our heart rate increases, which means blood flows to our brain, which stimulates the process of forming new brain cells.

As oxygen flows to our brains, new brain cells formation keeps us mentally alert. It can sharpen our awareness and even positively improve our memory function. 

It can take as little as 10 minutes of physical movement to lead to a positive boost to your brain.

Try aromatherapy 

Essential oils seem to be a big trend lately, but certain oils can be very beneficial for the mind. 

The herb Rosemary is known to help with mental clarity and alertness. Peppermint is commonly used to reduce mental fatigue and improve concentration (Ahuja, 2017). The oils can be diffused and inhaled or applied to the skin and absorbed to reap the benefits.

Get the right amount of sleep

An insufficient amount of sleep can have a detrimental effect on the brain. Therefore, getting a regular amount of sleep appropriate for your age and developmental stage can be beneficial and help develop your mind. 

According to internal medicine physician Dr. Adarsh Kumar of the National Heart Institute, sleep is a critical time when the brain strengthens connections between its many neurons.

This connecting process improves our memory and helps us learn more efficiently by helping us consolidate and organize information (Ahuja, 2017). Getting enough sleep should therefore be a priority in our daily lives. 

Spend time with intelligent people

Our minds can often easily be influenced by the people we have in our lives and spend time with, either positively or negatively. Researchers who studied a group of 715 adolescents and their best friends found that the intelligence of their friends affected their own intelligence. 

The study found that having a smarter best friend in middle school correlated with higher intelligence of their own at the start of high school (Meldrum et. al. 2018). So it’s safe to say that the society we spend time in impacts our later intelligence levels. 

Through observation and conversation, we become smarter if we surround ourselves with smart people. Ultimately, the brighter our circle of friends, the wiser we become.

Develop Your Mind Summary

Developing your mind doesn’t have to be daunting. We have to choose to give the well-being of our brains the same priority as the well-being of our bodies. If we take small steps to improve and protect our minds, we will reap significant benefits later when it matters. 

Read all my Be Happy articles here.

I hope you enjoyed this article on how to develop your mind.  If you did, please consider leaving a comment.  It would be great to hear from you.

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