Sharpen Your Mind, Part 2

By
Real Estate Agent with Adaro Realty, Inc. TREC #00312153

Last month we shared five tips that will help you sharpen your mind, and also increase both your intelligence and your success. Getting more sleep and more exercise were two (pun intended) no-brainer tips we mentioned, along with reading and writing more often and playing games like Sudoku, which help with attention, memory, and pattern recognition.

But that's not all you can do to boost your brainpower. Here are five more tips designed to sharpen your mind...no matter what age you are.

Improve Your Diet
Just like exercise, a good diet is critical to both physical health and intelligence. For babies, brain development is highly dependent on diet, especially in terms of the intake of essential and non-essential fatty acids. But as adults, these fatty acids play a major role in how our brains function.

It's important to first understand that essential fatty acids are components of fat particles that our bodies cannot produce and, as a result, they must be ingested. Non-essential fatty acids are fat components that our bodies can produce.

ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) is an essential fatty acid that's part of the Omega-3 family. Thousands of studies over the last few decades have shown ALA to have a positive effect on everything from arthritis and cardio-vascular health, to learning and IQ.

The highest quantities of ALA are found in flax seed and flax seed oil. Smaller amounts can be found in walnuts, wheat germ, and cold-pressed canola oil. Trace amounts are found in dark green, leafy vegetables.

DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) are also part of the Omega-3 family, and they are primarily found in oily, cold-water fish such as salmon. Because of the body's ability to convert ALA into both DHA and EPA, they are considered to be non-essential. But, there's a catch. Anyone who has low levels of ALA, or is deficient in the vitamins necessary for conversion, may also have low levels of DHA and EPA.

The lesson here is to eat more of the good stuff and a lot less of the bad. Stick to fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, lean meats, fish, and natural fats. Eat more whole foods as opposed to processed foods and, when consuming sugar, caffeine, or alcohol, do it in moderation as they are known to affect both brain function and quality of sleep.

Watch Less TV
We've all heard the expression, "TV rots your brain!" While it is somewhat of an exaggeration, watching TV doesn't do much to sharpen your thinking. The main problem is that viewing television is a completely passive activity. After plopping yourself onto the couch, the majority of your mental stimulation will come from fighting over the remote.

We are not suggesting that anyone cut out television altogether, but we do recommend limiting it. Better yet, take control of your TV watching as opposed to the other way around.

VCRs are a little outdated. DVRs (digital video recorders), on the other hand, are a great solution, as they give you the ability to record a multitude of shows without videotape. This practice accomplishes three very positive things. First, it allows you to watch what you want, when you want. No more being held captive by network programming. Second, it cuts down on channel surfing, a major contributor to frivolous viewing. Third, it allows you to bypass all commercials.

Keep Memorizing
There is no shortage of contemporary studies that show a powerful correlation between a strong working memory and overall intelligence. A good memory has also been shown to slow down mental aging. Ergo, memorizing almost anything is one of the best exercises you can give your brain.

Start small by memorizing your shopping list or your daily schedule. Step it up a notch and memorize a poem or two. Take it to another level by learning a musical instrument or a new language. Doing any of these exercises can potentially lead to quick and substantial improvement in your mental sharpness.

Get a Hobby
Gardening, bird watching, collecting, flying model airplanes, etc.; taking on any new hobby is good for mental stimulation as well as your overall mood. Finding activities you really enjoy allows you to learn and have fun, simultaneously. It provides both an escape and a passion. All of these traits are components to living a happy and rewarding life, and remaining mentally sharp.

Challenge Yourself
One enemy of intelligence and mental sharpness is our propensity to fall into overly rigid, daily patterns. It is one thing to keep a schedule, or to plan out the events of your day. What we're talking about is having the exact same routine, nearly every day.

Falling into rigid patterns promotes mental passivity, or the opposite of stimulation. At the top of this article we spoke about neurologists agreeing that the key to sharpening your mind is to increase mental activity. Same old, same old is no way to accomplish this.

Instead, we recommend mixing things up a bit. Challenge yourself by participating in new activities. Join a softball league, a reading club, or even a theater group. At the very least, play around with your daily schedule. The point is that too much regimen can dull the senses.

We wish you good luck with implementing these suggestions. May they help to bring sharpness, clarity, and happiness into your life!

Comments (2)

Carmela Jacobs
Carmela Realty - Thousand Oaks, CA
Ventura Co., Los Angeles Co., CA, & Global Realtor

Love it, 

Thanks for posting!  TV is truly a waste of time, lose it if you want to be productive.

Best,

Feb 16, 2013 02:19 AM
Liz Oster
Algoma, ON

Thanks, Daniel Hayes Team, for the great advice!!!  Things we all need to do, even when our lives get so busy!

Feb 16, 2013 10:58 AM