When talking about exercising, people usually focus on physical exercise, commonly forgetting about the importance of mental exercises. But in reality, mental exercises are just as important for keeping your mind sound as physical exercise is for keeping your body in shape.
To keep your mind sharp, there is a world of things you can try out. Aside from doing puzzles, challenging yourself with memory games and reading books, you can also have some fun by filling out an online IQ test or keeping a journal.
No matter what you choose to do, the most important thing is to find ways to stimulate your brain.
The great part is that the majority of these exercises can easily be done with a group of friends, which can only make them more fun and exciting. With that in mind, let’s look at what some of the most fun and engaging mental exercises are. These exercises not only benefit your mental health in the long run, but they can also help you entertain yourself and even reduce your stress levels.
Play memory games
As the name itself suggests, playing memory games is a great way to exercise your brain and improve your memory. These can be anything from trying to learn your friends’ and family members’ phone number by heart, to purchasing actual memory games from your local game shop.
Nowadays, you can find a lot of memory games, including card games, symbols or even fill-in-the-gaps games. What’s more, you can even find many of these online, so that you can easily enjoy them no matter where you are.
No matter which option you opt for, learning how to play these games will be quite simple. If we take card games as an example, you can lay them all face down and take turns flipping two cards over at a time. Then, try to remember the sequence they were in and try to find a pair as soon as you come across a card you have already seen previously.
In the end, you should realize that there are many types of mental or memory exercises and difficultly levels when it comes to how you can boost up your memory with games. So, make sure you start slowly, and gradually build up the difficulty level.
Puzzle games are another form of very mentally-engaging and stimulating games many people enjoy. Puzzles come in all shapes and types, from jigsaw puzzles to crosswords, Sudoku, and more.
They can help you improve your problem-solving skills, and boost memory, concentration and logical thinking. Puzzles can also be a great way to relax and take a break from the stress of everyday life, especially if you sit down to finish a jigsaw puzzle you have been working on for some time now.
Just like with memory games, nowadays, you can easily find various puzzles online, or you can simply purchase them in your local store that specializes in them. Of course, there are also numerous puzzle apps available for your phone or tablet which means you can even enjoy exercising your mind while on-the-go.
Apart from keeping your brain active and engaged, you also want to ensure you give it enough time to rest and process everything you have been puzzling it with.
Just like your body needs to rest well after a strenuous workout, your brain will also need some time to unwind. According to research, your brain’s ability to process and learn new things will decrease by up to 40% if you don’t get enough quality sleep, so make sure you prioritize rest whenever possible. And even if you don’t always get a chance to catch a quick nap, you can listen to music, meditate, or simply take a nice warm bath instead.
Reading a book is a great way to relax and escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Not only that, but it is also a great way to keep your brain engaged while doing something that you like.
While we are reading, our brains get busy trying to process all the input, memorize people’s names and their appearance, places, descriptions and the content of the story, and even try to create a visual picture of everything that’s going on in the book. What’s more, reading can also be a great educational experience, as books often contain valuable information that can help you learn something new.
When choosing a book to read, it is important to pick one that interests you and that you think you will enjoy. Consider the genre, volume and subject matter of the book before making your choice. Once you start reading, take your time with each page and savor the words as they come alive in your imagination.
Try creative writing
Last but not the least, you can also give creative writing a try. This will provide the perfect opportunity to keep your mind engaged while exploring your own imagination.
To get started, try writing a short story or poem. And don’t get discouraged if this process ends up taking too long, or you are not satisfied with the finished product in the end. Just like anything else, practice makes perfect, so don’t just give up after your first try.
If these two formats don’t work for you, that’s okay too. You can switch over to trying to keep a journal or even blogging. The most important thing is to find topics you’re interested in and start exploring your opinions, expectations and hopes, as you’re writing them down.
In the end, whether you choose to engage in some of the aforementioned activities, or come up with something entirely on your own, your main focus should always be on activities that will help you exercise your brain while also having fun at the same time. And you also need to make sure you take regular breaks to allow your mind to rest, relax and unwind if you wish to boost its potential even further.