(This was my 4th speech at the Toastmasters Club. No reading of notes allowed). Some years ago, I was always confronted with this kind of scenario almost everyday: I was in the laboratory working on certain tasks, then I realized I need to get something from the office. The moment I opened the office door, I have no idea why I was there! I always misplaced my cellphone and usually asked a family member or an office mate to ring my phone so I would know where did I left things. To make things worse, I invited a friend over coffee and he ended up paying for everything ‘coz I forgot my wallet. I was red with embarrassment!
I began thinking that I maybe having some mental glitches or “senior moments” as my colleague referred to her forgetfulness. But I am not yet on my senior years so I panicked! This led me to desperately search for materials to help me understand my situation and prevent this from getting worse.
Initially, what I found out was shocking! According to my readings, my condition which was a case of dwindling memory and decreased concentration is generally caused by decreased blood flow to the brain and “loss of brain cells”. I was panic-stricken coz PhD study was on the horizon.
I dug out substantially for remedies and a number of literatures mentioned that the best way to keep our brain sharp is to nourish and exercise it. This will make the brain to work at its optimum making the nerve cells grow more, re-wire, boost interconnections and protect them against any form of damage. Many experts suggest we should try the following easy steps to boost our brain power and clear away the fog of forgetfulness. Here, I outlined some simple tips:
1. Brush teeth using the non-dominant hand. If you are right-handed use your opposite hand to eat, drink, comb your hair or text. Why? The use of the non-dominant hand stimulates the opposite side of the brain and activates blood flow which slows down brain aging and improves mental capacity.
2. Work out the brain just like muscles. If it’s possible, challenge yourself everyday with puzzles or play board games. I do 2 online Sudoku puzzles and 3 jigsaws almost everyday. I don’t pressure myself with the time, I just keep on until I solved each puzzle. In addition, instead of bringing a shopping list, memorize it. And lots of people are dependent on the calculator, but mental arithmetic is advised.
3. Shower with the eyes closed. Closing our eyes means giving other senses the opportunity to become active. Having strong senses also means having a strong brain.
4. Start writing an article or blogging ideas. Writing is known to strengthen the brain’s ability to communicate and is linked to improved memory. Actually, this is the reason why I started this blog almost 2 years ago.
5. Listen to classical music. I like David Garrett’s violin ensemble and 2Cello’s powerful rendition of classics. These artists also cover modern, pop and rock songs which will surely pumped up your day. Those who frequently listen to classical music were found to score way better at solving puzzles than the non-classical ones. However, those who are not into classical music, memorizing the lyrics to a song instead will greatly help your brain than just humming along with the song. Of course when you are sound-tripping, turn the volume down as much as possible. This will force you to concentrate more closely to the lyrics.
6. Always have something new. This includes learning a new language or new word everyday. I started learning French online few years ago and I was hooked and felt better. You can also drive or walk on a new route, dine somewhere different and from time to time depart from the usual routine.
7. Take a walk. The American Academy of Neurology studied women and walking. Those women who walk one and a half hours each week perform better in their cognitive tests. In another study, men who walk more than 2 kilometers a day are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s. When I learned about this stuff, I started walking home from work. There’s an added bonus that you will surely like, flat abs and narrow waistline!
8. Eat heart-healthy diet. The same foods that make our heart-healthy are also brain-healthy. Food is notably important to make our thinking cap healthy. We can avoid those artery-clogging saturated fats and switch to omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and nuts. I have read of its many benefits not just for the brain but also for good blood circulation and glowing skin and hair.
9. Load up on dark-skinned fruits and vegetables. I especially like Malunggay (Moringa oleifera) which Manny Pacquiao claimed to give him that strength of a champ. Sweet potato young leaves are also good and rich in iron for healthy blood that fuels the brain. Malunggay and sweet potato shoots are really cheap and these are common in the tropics. We can also have healthy drinks such as vitamin C-riched orange juice and green tea that are rich in antioxidants, which prevent neural damage. I am a fan of green tea which I drink almost daily. The benefits of green tea go beyond making our brain healthy, it also keep us from getting the Big C.
10. Spice up your life. The substance that makes our favorite chicken curry yellow, turmeric, can slow down the onset of memory loss. So the next time you see chicken curry in the cafeteria, don’t miss it. You’ll never know what you’ll gain.
There you have it folks. Boosting our brain power simply requires us to use our brain in different ways. The tips describe here are practically easy to follow and can make a huge difference in our life. We should exercise our brain and nourish it well. The earlier we start, the better.
- Yahoo! Health