photo credit: anvrecife
Whether you're having trouble concentrating at work or you just need an extra mental kick to make it through your finals, here are 142 things you can do starting today to help you think faster, improve memory, comprehend information better and unleash your brain’s full potential. All while having tons of fun :b
1. Meditate. Cultivate mindfulness and an empty mind.
2. Use your non-dominant hand to brush your teeth, comb your hair or use the mouse. Write with both hands simultaneously. Switch hands for knife and fork.
3. Learn to enjoy things like paradoxes and optical illusions.
4. Block one or more senses. Eat blindfolded, wear earplugs, shower with your eyes closed.
5. Learn mind mapping.
6. Find novel uses for common objects. How many different uses can you find for a pen? 10? 100?
7. Conquer procrastination.
9. Go beyond the first, ‘right’ answer.
10. Reverse your assumptions.
11. Ask “What if?” questions.
12. Draw. Doodle. You don’t need to be an artist.
13. Learn to juggle.
14. Think positive.
15. Develop comparative tasting. Learn to properly taste chocolate, cheese or anything else.
16. Find intersections between seemingly unrelated topics.
17. Change clothes. Go barefoot.
18. Drink lots of water.
19. Learn to use different keyboard layouts. Try Colmak or Dvorak for a full mind twist!
20. Learn creativity techniques.
22. Eat "Brain Foods".
23. Vary activities. Get a hobby.
24. Become a critical thinker. Learn to spot common fallacies.
25. Be slightly hungry.
26. Master self-talk.
28. Be childish!
29. Create a list of 100.
30. Engage in ‘theme observation’. Try to spot the color red as many times as possible in a day. Find cars of a particular make. Invent a theme and focus on it.
31. Keep a life handbook.
33. Eat at different restaurants – ethnic restaurants specially.
34. Get familiar with the scientific method.
35. Spell long words backwards. !gnignellahC
37. Power nap.
38. Learn a musical instrument.
39. Sit up straight and have a good posture.
40. Visit a museum.
41. Create your bucket list.
42. Try to mentally estimate the passage of time.
43. Listen to music.
44. Have an Idea Quota.
45. Memorize people's names.
47. Get in touch with nature.
48. Play chess or other board games. Play via Internet. (Particularly interesting is to play an ongoing game by e-mail)
49. Sleep well.
50. Change the speed of certain activities. Go either super-slow or super-fast deliberately.
51. Play "Brain" games, Sudoku, crossword puzzles and countless others.
52. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes. How would different people think or solve your problems? How would a fool tackle it?
53. Change your environment. Change the placement of objects or furniture — or go somewhere else.
54. Adopt an attitude of contemplation.
55. Be humorous! Write or create a joke.
56. Play video games!
57. Take time for solitude and relaxation.
58. Capture every idea. Keep an idea bank.
59. Commit yourself to lifelong learning.
60. Dumb the calendar!
61. Learn a foreign language.
62. Get competitive.
63. Solve puzzles and brainteasers.
64. Don’t stick with only like-minded people. Have people around that disagree with you.
65. Learn how to program a computer.
66. Change your perspective. Short/long-term, individual/collective.
67. Write! Write a story, poetry, start a blog.
68. Learn sign language.
69. Change the media you’re working on. Use paper instead of the computer; voice recording instead of writing.
70. Find out your learning style.
71. Have sex! (Sorry, no links for this one! :b)
72. Study how the brain works.
73. Learn to speed read.
74. Say your problems out loud.
75. Make friends with math. Fight ‘innumeracy’.
76. Describe one experience in painstaking detail.
77. Turn off the TV.
78. Buy a piece of art that disturbs you. Stimulate your senses in thought-provoking ways.
79. “Guesstimate”. Are there more leaves in the Amazon rainforest or neuron connections in your brain? (Answer)
80. Build a Memory Palace.
81. Try different perfumes and scents.
82. Watch movies from different genres.
83. Mix your senses. How much does the color pink weigh? How does lavender scent sound?
84. Improve your concentration.
85. Do mental math.
86. Debate! Defend an argument. Try taking the opposite side, too.
87. Go to the root of the problems.
88. Allocate time for brain development.
89. Adopt an attitude of gratitude.
90. Be curious!
91. Be aware of cognitive biases.
92. Collect quotes (my collection)
93. Challenge yourself.
94. Read the classics.
95. Take notes of your dreams. Keep a notebook by your bedside and record your dreams first thing in the morning or as you wake up from them.
97. Develop your reading skill. Reading effectively is a skill. Master it.
98. Keep a lexicon of interesting words. Invent your own words.
99. Have a network of supportive friends. Be around people that are smarter than you. (Why?)
100. Take different routes each day. Change the streets you follow to work, jog or go back home.
101. Learn Braille. You can start learning the floor numbers while going up or down the elevator.
102. Install a different operating system on your computer.
103. Learn to lucid dream.
104. Find metaphors. Connect abstract and specific concepts.
105. Read text upside down (the text, not you… well, you can try that, too).
106. Do It Yourself: Create or repair things without the aid of paid professionals. Repair, sew, cook, build, weave, paint, etc.
107. Act in a stage play.
108. Manage stress.
109. Become an early riser.
110. Take an improvisation class.
111. Summarize books.
112. Teach others the things you know.
113. Get random input. Write about a random word in a magazine. Read random sites using StumbleUpon or Wikipedia.
114. Help a child with their homework.
116. Learn to knit or crochet.
117. Provide thoughtful comments on blogs and websites.
118. Study Philosophy and the writings of great thinkers.
119. Discuss religion and politics, even with friends.
120. Use a reverse clock. You can buy one or make your own.
121. Study the concepts of Relativity (both General and Special)
122.`Think of something you fear. Work to conquer it.
123. Practice 80/20 rule.
124. Develop self-awareness.
125. Learn origami.
126. Learn martial arts.
127. Practice echolocation (sense objects by hearing echoes from those objects) (video)
128. Play bridge. (Or other card games)
129. Imagine how would you survive in a different epoch (say, 5000 years go).
130. Learn logic. Solve logic puzzles.
131. Play role-playing games (RPG)
132. Use time boxing.
133. Write a letter to your future self.
134. Make mistakes! Then learn from them.
135. Appreciate the little things that bring happiness into our life.
136. Express yourself, Write a letter to the editor.
137. Learn how to eat with chopsticks.
138. Write a diary.
139. Travel. Discover the world.
140. Get in the habit of questioning others and their thoughts.
141. Don't be afraid of crying.
142. Practice Yoga.
143. Deliver more than what’s expected. (;
Contribute your own tip(s)!
There are many, many ways to keep our brains sharp. I’m sure you have your own personal favorite, so please share it in the comments! I’ll regularly compile the best tips and add them to this list (giving full credit, with a link to your site, if you have one). Thanks!
Did you like this list? Are you afraid of forgetting all about it when you navigate away the page? Then print it out and staple it up someplace that you will view everyday. That way, when walking past the list, you can take a glance and randomly choose an activity to boost your brain power! Or simply bookmark it on delicious to return to it later.
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