A sharp mind is crucial for optimal creativity and innovation, both of which determine how far you can go in life. Today’s article reveals 9 practical ways you can continuously sharpen your mind and keep it that way.
In this article:
- Keep Your Brain Sharp by Eating Brain-Friendly Food
- How to Sharpen Your Mind Through Mental Exercises
- Other Things You Can Do for a Sharp Brain
Sharp Mind: How to Have and Keep It Now in 9 Ways
1. Keep Your Brain Sharp by Eating Brain-Friendly Food
Just like your physical muscles, your mind also needs adequate nutrition for optimal health and cognitive performance. The brain-friendliest foods you should include in your diet are those that contain a lot of B vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants.
Which food can you eat to provide your brain with these important nutrients? These include:
- Leafy vegetables
- Olive oil
- Virgin Coconut Oil
How to Sharpen Your Mind Through Mental Exercises
2. Read Something Daily
Among other things, a sharp mind is one that can quickly think of solutions and answers to problems and questions. But how can the mind do that when there’s very little to draw solutions and answers from?
Reading is one of the most practical and effective ways to stock the mind with knowledge. When it has enough stock knowledge, it has a lot of “inventory” to draw from and become sharp.
3. Write Things Down by Hand
A 2014 study by psychologists from Princeton University and UCLA discovered that subjects who took down notes by hand in class tend to do much better during exams than those who took “digital” notes. Those who wrote down notes by hand were able to better synthesize the information shared by lecturers, which allowed them to understand the subjects much better.
In particular, the inherent limitations posed by manual note-taking forced students to be optimally selective when it came to information presented by lecturers. According to one of the study’s authors, Pam Mueller, doing helped those students improve their comprehension.
4. Come up with at Least 10 New Ideas Every Day
Creativity is an important characteristic of a sharp mind. The ability to generate or come up with new ideas is an indicator of creativity.
Creativity may be likened to physical muscles, too. If you don’t use it, you lose, it but if you use it, you develop and strengthen it.
So, if you want to have and keep a sharp mind, force yourself to come up with 10 new ideas every day. It doesn’t matter what ideas they are – just come up with new ideas.
The point of the exercise is to make your mind get used to generating ideas. And the more it gets used learning new things, the sharper it’ll become.
5. Play Mentally Challenging or Stimulating Brain Games
Games like chess, checkers, backgammon, solitaire, poker, and crossword puzzles, among others, force you to exercise your mind through creative ideas that will help you win. These games are a great way to kill time and reduce stress levels while keeping your mind active.
They help you train your mind to anticipate future events, improve your problem-solving skills, plan ahead, and improvise when plans go awry. They help you plan for the unexpected and manage the unexpected, and not to mention, they’re fun too!
6. Train Yourself to Be a Stand-Up Comic
Being a stand-up comic is, pardon the pun, no joke. To succeed in the industry, stand-up comics need to master a set of sub-skills that include:
- How to control the audience, especially when someone from the crowd heckles them
- Working the crowd, i.e., getting them excited and interested until they deliver the punchline
- Improvisation, especially when the planned script doesn’t go as planned
- Timing, i.e., when to deliver the punchline
- Reading people, i.e., knowing when they’re responding well or not and knowing how to adjust
If you train to become a stand-up comic, regardless if informally, you’ll need to work on the above sub-set of skills. All of those require a sharp mind and as you work on developing those skills, you’ll sharpen your mind, too.
Other Things You Can Do for a Sharp Brain
7. Just Dance for a Sharper Mind
Exercise, in general, can help sharpen your mind by helping you clear your mind and feel better. One of the best exercises for sharpening your mind is dancing.
Researchers from Colorado State University conducted a study on a group of older adults. The subjects were divided into four exercise groups, i.e., brisk walking, brisk walking with nutritional supplementation, flexibility, and dancing and sought to figure out which of the activities can have an effect on cognitive decline.
Results show that people in the dance group actually strengthened their fornix, which is the part of the brain associated with a mild decline in cognitive abilities and Alzheimer’s disease as people age. This means that dancing may have a positive effect in offsetting the effects of aging on the brain.
So, either you dance regularly or look for regular physical activity that you find fun and exciting to make your brain stronger and sharper.
8. Stimulate Your Brain by Focusing on the How, Not the What
“How” refers to processes and “what” refers to outcomes or results. How does focusing on processes instead of results or outcomes help sharpen your mind?
When you focus only on outcomes, your mind will be less likely to focus on how things really work. Mental sharpness comes from understanding how things really work and not just on outcomes.
Learning about processes trains your mind to use whatever steps and knowledge you gain from the process and apply it to different situations when the need arises. In contrast, focusing on results will give you a limited perspective, one which you may not be able to use when the circumstances are different.
Master the process and you’ll master the results. If you don’t master the process, results will be inconsistent at best.
9. Say “Yes” to a Sharp Mind by Saying “No” to Unimportant Things
Learning how to say “no” can help you sharpen your brain. You either say “yes” or “no” to things people ask from you be it favors, commitments, or some other things that’ll require your time and effort.
If your default is to say “yes” and saying “no” requires justification, how can you have enough free time to do the first eight things to help sharpen your mind? But if your default answer to requests for your time and commitment is “no” and saying “yes” requires justification from those requesting for your time and commitment, then you get to control your schedule and have enough time to sharpen your mind through conscious practice.
Having and keeping a sharp mind is neither rocket science nor an impossible feat. You just need to consistently practice things, like the practical ones above, to help sharpen your mind.
Which of the nine ways to sharpen your mind above do you like the most? Let us know in the comments section below!