How To: Tips for Maximizing Your Brain Power

Lately, I’ve been inspired by an article in Prevention magazine called “Head Coach: Miracle-Gro for Your Mind,” which talks about simple things you can do to maximize your brainpower, like planning a trip or brushing your teeth with your opposite hand. And, thanks to the holiday work schedule, I’ve had a lot of free time to work on accessing areas of my mind that otherwise remain dormant.

Instead of sleeping in or vegging out, my days have been spent waking up at 8 a.m. so that I can run my usual errands and workout while also cooking, baking, painting my old bedroom and rearranging its furniture, purging my closet and reorganizing my apartment. I can’t say that I think better than I did before, but I have definitely enjoyed the mental and physical challenges that have arisen. (Seriously, try whipping up a meringue by hand and tell me that doesn’t get your wheels turning!).

I grew up playing with brain teasers. My dad, who was obsessed with child development books, regularly gave my siblings and I puzzles and IQ test-like questions. It was his way of bonding with us while also testing our intellect, creativity, logic and problem solving skills. Sweet, huh? While other children were watching TV or playing sports, we were scratching our heads over questions like this. I recently found one of our old games called Tangoes, a box of various shaped puzzle pieces that comes with a set of cards containing images. Your job is to recreate those images using the puzzle pieces.t I can’t begin to count how many hours we spent playing that! These days, in addition to Cranium, a Rubik’s Cube and Sudoku, there are video games like Nintendo DS’s Brain Age or The Brain Game that have been developed to challenge or stimulate your mind.

Anyhow, here are the brainpower tips from Prevention magazine. Maybe it’ll inspire you to try something new, too.

  • Brush your teeth using the opposite hand.
  • Reverse your usual walking, running, or biking route.
  • Trade in your favorite game.
  • If you love crosswords, do Sudoku or learn to play one of the dozens of brain-training games on your computer.
  • Eat at an ethnic restaurant.
  • Rearrange your furniture.
  • Start planning to visit a new place this weekend, even if it’s just in the next county.
  • Grab that recipe you clipped and head to a different grocery store to shop for ingredients.