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Everyone is looking for brilliant ideas on how to lose weight, or style your hair like your favorite celebrity, or make a million $$$$$ for that matter, but what if you could get all of this or more by simply taking  the only shortcut in life you’ll ever need- the one that will make you smarter.......

Get Off the Couch!10. Get off the Couch
It’s very important to realize that there is a difference between entertaining the mind and exercising the mind. With this said, try to work in a 30-minute physical activity of some kind, each and every day. This should also mean more than just working out at the gym for a mindless 30 minutes. Instead, go play frisbee in the park, fly a kite, take a swim in a pool or lake, walk or go bicycling or just walk down the street rather than taking your car.There are endless possibilities, you’ve just got to make time for them.

Play mind games9. Play Mind Games
Games like Sudoku and various Crossword Puzzles are one of the easiest ways to keep your mind alert and alive. If you don’t like this type of puzzle, there are many other options. For example, how about playing with a life-sized jigsaw puzzle, a game of chess, the sport for mental athletes,  problem-solving video games instead of mindless combat video games, or even playing charades with a big group of friends can help, and it’s also social and fun. Anything that encourages your mind to be inquisitive for a few minutes each day, will cause it to retain information easier.

Take care of yourself8. Take Better Care of Yourself
The secret number here is 8. Think 8 hours of sleep a night, drink 8 glasses of water a day, and try to work in 8 essential vitamins and nutrients into your daily diet. This may sound  like simple common-sense advise, but that doesn’t mean we all do it. Studies have proven that getting enough sleep, water and vitamins in your diet not only makes your mind more alert, but it is the quickest way to clear up skin, bring life back to your hair, and (here’s the big one) shed a couple unwanted pounds. Some items you can add to your diet to boost that vitamin and nutrient count include fish oil, avocados, mushrooms, spinach, almonds, fruits high in antioxidants (cherries and pomegranates), ginseng, vitamins A, B, C, D and E. (If you already know the alphabet, you’re ahead of the game!)

7.You Are What You Eat
Don’t be fooled by your weight into thinking artificial flavors and sweeteners don’t affect you. If you turn to the ingredients list on the back of a sweet food or beverage product, and you do not see the word sugar, honey, agave, or other type of natural sweetener, it’s time to try other options for your treats. Stay away from anything containing sucrose, fructose, dextrose, and of course the most common (because it’s the cheapest), high fructose corn syrup. Also, trust me when I say, don’t trust those weird dyes, like Red 5 or Yellow 3; anything not natural is not a good thing to give your body.

6. Clear the Clutter
An organized home is the best environment for a person, because the mind isn’t getting distracted by all the stuff laying around. It takes peace, not mess, to relax and simply think. In fact, a messy home may even make you feel you’re in a hopeless situation. I know there are many of you out there who feel like they clean and clean some more, but voila, the mess returns. Organizing your home, and cleaning each day, will really help your mind stay more focused. And believe it or not, the simple act of returning misplaced objects to the same spot each time, helps with memory retention. Also, if you do at least a little each day to straighten up, it won’t seem so overwhelming at the end of the work week. Instead, you can use the time you would usually be cleaning to do something you really want to do.  

Do some gardening5. Go Green
Apart from the many health benefits that come from growing your own food, even something as small as just knowing where it comes from, and that there are no dangerous hormones, or pesticides, added to your food, is very important. But there’s another benefit you might not know of- which is gardening, the only way you can get a particularly mind-healthy bacteria known as Mycobacterium Vaccae into your body. This type of bacteria is naturally found in dirt, so by digging, or shoveling, or just breaking up the earth to plant vegetation, the bacteria is released from the soil and is then inhaled by you, the gardener. If done for a period of time, a little each day, the bacteria promotes the production of neurons in your forebrain, the area of high-order thinking. Also, anxiety levels will lower and calming serotonin levels become higher.

4. Learn a New Language
This may seem like a very difficult way to promote a more active mind, and to some of you, it might seem impossible. But believe it or not, learning a new language at any age provides the brain with a way to create new neural connections, which increases intelligence. You can start by just learning a few fun phrases, or what to order at your favorite Mexican or Chinese restaurant, but if you find yourself really interested in learning a new language, look for inexpensive classes online, or at a local community college or university. There is also the online Rosetta Stone to consider, and if you are currently a student enrolled in a foreign language class, the company will offer a discount, or even a free trial for your class.  

Meditate3. Meditation
You may think it sounds silly, but taking a few minutes each day to meditate is giving that time to your mind. The best way to get into the routine of meditation is to do yoga. Memory reflection is one of the most common forms, but rather than doing it because you have to, do it because you need to. Though it may feel as if you aren’t doing anything, the right combination of breath,  movement, and vocal activity can open channels of well-being for your body.



Brain Power2. Dual N-Back Exercises
Created by psychologist Dr. Susanne Jaeggi, dual n-back exercises specifically target the areas of your mind and its receptors, that improve intelligence. These exercises are actually logic games and puzzles that you play, and not some sort of physical exercise for your brain. The best known version of the dual n-back exercises is from Brain Workshop, but there are also apps you can download on your mobile device, like IQ Boost for apple and android devices.

 

1. Build a Memory Palace
An ancient Roman method of memorization known as the Method of Loci was its original name, but in modern terms, it is more frequently referred to as a Memory Palace. Essentially, this method of memory enhancement uses visualization to organize and recall information quickly. This works because the visualization and recognition causes growth in the Hippocampus of the brain, making you smarter. In the contemporary world, the Memory Palace is used by a variety of people. To find out more about building your own Memory Palace, whether it’s to ace your final or never forget a recipe, directions, or that meeting with the next big client, look into the book Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer. Below is a diagram from the University of Minnesota  that will help explain how to make your own memory palace.Memory Palace

 

 

www.Dishmag.com / Issue 198 - December 2017
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