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11 Ways to Make Your Brain More Efficient

11 Ways to Make Your Brain More Efficient

Your brain is a muscle, and it should be exercised daily. Obviously the exercise will be a bit different than you’re used to. These are a few ways that you can work to make your brain more efficient.

1. Get Exercise Regularly

Time and time again, it has been proven that exercise will help to increase brain function, and enhance neurogenesis. Each time you exercise, you are creating new brain cells.

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2. Indulge in your Curiosity

Stop taking everything at face value and begin questioning. Things that you see on a daily basis can be improved, and you should be thinking more about how to do this. It will force your brain to be innovative.

3. Try New Things

Your brain becomes stimulated when you experience new things. Though it can be easy to get stuck in the rut of doing the same things, new experiences create neural pathways in the brain, increasing intelligence. This could mean taking a new route somewhere, cooking a new recipe, or a new exercise routine.

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4. Start Eating Right

A person’s diet has a massive impact on how their brain functions. The brain consumes more than 20% of all oxygen and nutrients that you consume. Taking this into consideration, feed your brain the good stuff that it needs to function more efficiently. This includes fresh fruits and vegetables as well as Omega-3s that are found in oily fish.

5. Turn on Some Music

Both playing music and listening to it will expand your potential for learning. Learning how to play instruments will rewire the brain, allowing you to think faster and more accurately. This will still happen when you listen to music, but it will be less pronounced.

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6. Get Enough Sleep

Sleep helps to detox your brain in a way. When you are sleeping, the body uses the time to regenerate the cells and remove the toxins that have collected throughout the day. It is recommended to hit the hay before midnight in order to gain the positive effects from the most beneficial hours of sleep.

7. Positive Thinking

Existing brain neurons are killed off from stress and anxiety, but this also stops any new ones from being created. Research shows that a positive outlook (especially regarding the future) will speed up the time that it takes to create new cells and will dramatically reduce your stress and anxiety. Aim to gain control of your negative thoughts, and take steps to replace them with positive ones.

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8. Read

Reading a book relieves tension and stress, which are factors that will kill your brain cells. Opening a book is a form of escapism, which allows for the reduction of strain. Reading will trigger your imagination and creativity, allowing for the escape. Using your imagination is an excellent way to teach the brain because you are forcing your mind to depict what you are reading in the book.

9. Brain Training Games

Activities that require memory and concentration are great ways to train your brain to become better at concentrating on difficult tasks. Users may also see an improvement in their problem solving, persistence, and spatial skills.

10. Scale Back Your TV Time

Those who watch television or broadcasts over the internet for over 4 hours per day generally have a lower mental acuity score — this means that their overall intelligence level is low. Television not only takes away from intelligence, but it may also lead to attention disorders such as ADHD. This is because of the number of the rapid-fire stimuli, the brain becomes overloaded during the times that it is viewing television.

11. Combat Inflammation

Toxins, chemicals, and infection are all things that can leave your body inflamed, thus negatively impacting your mental performance. Fight inflammation by increasing your intake of antioxidants and Omega-3s.  A Swedish study found that inflammation in the body has been consistently linked to lower intelligence in those aged 18 to 20.

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Sasha Brown

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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