October 13th is Train Your Brain Day!
Although there are some questions about the legitimacy of brain training games, there are lots of other ways to sharpen your cognitive abilities!
Cognitive abilities are any conscious intellectual activity. The idea behind brain training is that just like physical exercise is important for physical health, mental exercise is important for brain health!
Foods that Improve Brain Function:
• Oily fish like salmon or tuna
• Dark chocolate
• Nuts and seeds
• Whole grains
There isn’t a lot of scientific research that suggests brain games actually work. However, if this is your preferred method of brain training, we suggest trying something like sudoku or crossword puzzles.
Other activities that improve brain function:
• Learning a new language: Try a free app such as Duolingo!
• Hobbies that involve fine motor skills
• Writing with your non-dominant hand
• Regular exercise: Check out this Ted Talk about what exercising can do for your brain!
• Getting enough sleep
Another interesting way to improve your memory is a device called memory palaces. This technique is not for everyone, but the concept is very interesting. The idea of a memory palace is that you create a detailed place in your mind for important things that you want to remember. Essentially, you’re creating a virtual storage unit!
Here are some tips for creating a memory palace:
- Visualize your “palace”. Make sure you choose somewhere familiar to you, like your childhood bedroom. You can choose a space that is as small as a closet or as large as a city block! Imagine yourself walking through the space.
- Identify what type of storage you will need in your space. Do you want shelves? A filing cabinet? This will depend on the type of information you are storing. Are you memorizing a shopping list? You’ll need shelves for all your groceries!
- Draw your memory palace. You don’t have to be an artist to complete this step! A rough sketch will work. Drawing your memory palace will help you commit it to memory.
- Fill your space. This is the fun part! Put everything away carefully and neatly. The more frequently you visit your palace, the easier it will be to use.