Like other muscles in your body, if you don’t use the brain, you’ll eventually lose it. This means it’s crucial to exercise your brain and keep it stimulated.
Tara Swart, a senior lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, notes that it’s especially important to target areas of your brain that you use less frequently. Good suggestions for stretching your brain muscles include learning to speak a new language, learning a handy skill, or even learning to juggle.
To enhance his own cognitive prowess, author James Altucher tries to come up with new ideas every day. He writes about his daily system:
Take a waiter’s pad. Go to a local cafe. Maybe read an inspirational book for 10 to 20 minutes. Then start writing down ideas. The key here is, write 10 ideas … a waiter’s pad is too small to write a whole novel or even a paragraph. In fact, it’s specifically made to make a list. And that’s all you want, a list of ideas.
Mid-way through the exercise, Altucher says his brain will actually start to “hurt.” Whether he ends up using the ideas or throwing them away is not the point. But it is important to vary your routine.
Harvard psychologist Shelley H. Carson, author of Your Creative Brain, also believes that mixing things up and even allowing yourself to become distracted can be an important cognitive tool.
- Vivian Giang