Creating a total-brain-friendly lifestyle overhaul would be a major project for most of us, but carving out a few minutes for a quick brain boost shouldn’t be so hard.
Sometimes the most we can hope for is momentary sanity…
Here’s what you can do if you have:
5 minutes: Meditate. Turn off your cell phone and computer. Then sit and focus on your breathing for a brief meditation. There’s plenty of evidence that meditation changes the landscape of the brain. Turning off chronic negative thought patterns for even a few minutes recalibrates the brain.
15 minutes: Play a game. Science is having a field day proving that regardless of age, the brain is strengthened by challenging tasks.
Online programs like Lumosity measure cognitive improvements based on your time spent playing games designed to boost the BIG 5; memory, attention, speed, flexibility, and problem solving. Sudoku and crosswords work too, but the added benefit of online programs is that using the technology is a brain booster too.
20 minutes to an hour: Workout. According to author John Medina in his new book, Brain Rules, you don’t have to do a lot. Just a 20 minute walk will make a difference. Exercisers out-perform couch potatoes in tests that measure long term memory, reasoning, attention, problem solving, and intelligence tasks.
30 minutes: Power nap. Whether you’re a morning lark or a night owl, it’s officially proven that there’s a time mid-day when the brain is overcome with drowsiness. The energy required to push through the strong impulse to nap is usually greater than the length of a 20-to-30 minute power nap. The benefits are better focus, creativity, memory, and productivity.
An afternoon: Read John Medina‘s book, Brain Rules. Medina is a brilliantly entertaining neuro-nerd. His book (DVD included), takes a complicated subject and distills it into 12 accessible, relevant, and transformative ideas that can make us all a little brainier. Yes, he makes science FUN!
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