Stuck in a rut? Try these brain-boosting activities

Are you feeling stuck in a rut?

Brain optimization might just be the way to break free of that same cycle you constantly find yourself stuck in. 

What is brain optimization?

It's essentially the process of challenging the brain to develop optimal fundamental skills necessary for learning, and the best part is, you can practice this at any age or stage in your life! This is because your brain is ever-growing, changing and adapting to new things, hence you can take advantage of brain optimization to boost activity and rewire your brain so you can get out of that rut.

Brain training is also backed by endless supporting research, so if you are having any second thoughts, push them out of the way and give this a try!  

1.Maintain healthy relationships

Friendships are mentally stimulating, which is vital to our cognitive wellbeing, since this type of stimulation can build up our reserve of healthy brain cells, and promote the formation of new connections between neurons. Interacting with friends helps us optimize our brain function through thinking, feeling and reasoning. According to Harvard University, developing and maintaining strong social ties are also associated with lower risk of dementia, reduced blood pressure and longer life expectancy. Try to prioritize your friendships by making an effort to see or speak with them on a weekly basis, not only will you start feeling better, but your brain will thank you! 

What can I do to stay connected?

  • Set up a zoom call with your favorite group of friends
  • Call an old friend
  • Play board games with a friend(s)
  • Write a letter to your friend and develop some of your favorite photos together 
  • Start a new weekly activity with that one friend you never make time to see

2.Use games to stimulate your brain

Research has shown problem solving games like puzzles, or crosswords and reading or learning a new course can stimulate new connections between nerve cells and may even help the brain generate new cells. These activities increase the brain’s plasticity and protect against cell degeneration, therefore helping your brain grow while providing protective benefits. There are even downloadable brain games you can get right on your phone, the choices are endless, so what are you going to pick?  

3.Get physical

We all know how important regular exercise is for your body, but did you know it’s equally as important for your brain! Studies have found a connection between regular exercise and increased brain plasticity and adaptiveness. Exercise triggers the development of new nerve cells, and boosts the production of vital blood vessels that help bring oxygenated blood to the brain, therefore increasing brain efficiency. It doesn’t have to be difficult or take up too much of your day, it just has to be consistent! Try going on a walk each day for 20 minutes, then increase this time as the weeks go on and watch how easy it is to build a new habit that is beneficial to your body and your brain.   

4.Follow a Mediterranean diet

This is recognized as one of the healthiest diets in the world and research shows these food patterns offer protective and preventive benefits on the brain. The Mediterranean diet consists of an abundance of brain-healthy fats like olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocado and fresh fish in addition to wholesome fruits and vegetables and legumes while limiting refined sugars and alcohol. You might be thinking, how can a diet pull me out of this rut? Experimenting with new food and recipes can be exciting and motivating, and with this specific diet there is no shortage of delicious, easy and healthy recipes. Making a mindful diet change will have you feeling better mentally and physically while helping support your brain.  

Other helpful things to consider:

  • Practice meditation
  • Get out of your comfort zone
  • Get enough sleep (7-9 hours nightly)
  • Remove constant negative emotions or people in your life

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