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Want To Unlock Your Brain’s Full Potential? You Should Know This 90-Minute Trick

Want To Unlock Your Brain’s Full Potential? You Should Know This 90-Minute Trick

The brain is complex and mysterious. It does everything from composing music to solving the most complicated mathematical problems in the most elegant fashion. It is the source of all of your behaviors, feelings, wisdom, and the storehouse of your memories. Is it powerful? You bet it is. Are you using your full mental potential? Not really.

Why Most People Aren’t Using Their Full Mental Potential

Want to unlock your brain’s full potential? Learn to use the Ultradian Rhythm, your natural body rhythms that occur at intervals of less than 24 hours. You experience this by feeling invigorated for an hour or two, then you become unfocused and lethargic.

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Most people spend their entire day working in a relaxed fashion and without a break. They are not productive because they are not focused and not using their full mental potential. The trick is learning to harness these periods of high energy to be productive during this time period, and then learn to relax, rest, and recharge your energy.

Ultradian Rhythm = 90-Minute Deep Work + 20-Minute Rest

Ultradian Rhythms take place at intervals of 90-100 minutes all through the day. During this time, you experience high energy productivity. This is followed by a 20-minute span of low energy. The interval starts again with another round of high energy productivity.

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The way to take advantage of this is to work on a task for 90 minutes and use the 90 minutes for uninterrupted activity. Take a 20-minute break after that. Then work for another 90 minutes of uninterrupted time, followed by another 20-minute break. By staying tuned to these time intervals you will be using the full potential of your brain. Exercising your ability to focus is like muscle building—the more you train the better you get, and the more focused you become.

Being really good at this is only the first part. It’s really important to disconnect yourself fully during your breaks. Being able to disconnect is a skill in itself, because it is at the core of your ability to rest and properly recharge your energy.

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When you take a break, you “change your channel,” and do something completely different from the brainwork you’ve been doing. Some suggestions are going for a walk, meditation, or taking a 20-minute power nap. Your creativity will soar when you take the time to recover. Taking a break may be hard for you, especially if you’re a workaholic. But you need to let yourself take a break.

By blocking out uninterrupted time intervals, you are making a commitment to yourself to be fully focused on a single important task. Whenever the impulse comes to do other things, like check email or visit websites, you can say to yourself, “I’ll do that during my break”. You can design your time any way you want. For tasks that do not require consistent focus, you can bundle and perform them in one time interval.

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Manage Your Energy Instead Of Your Time

In order to do something, the one thing that matters is how much energy you have to do it. Time is irrelevant when you’re out of energy. You must understand that your body needs rest instead of pushing through the day by drinking coffee or eating power bars.

Acknowledge your natural body rhythms of high and low energy, and use the 90/20-minute system. After taking a break you will be energized once again and can continue your work.

It’s Up To You

Now that you have the knowledge and the tools to unlock your brain’s full potential, work on a schedule that best fits your energy cycles. Take notice of when your brain and energy levels are mostly high, and plan to do your deep work during this time following the 90/20 plan. You might find that you get a lot more done, and feel happy at the same time.

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Anthony Pica

Freelance Writer

You Only Need 3 Months To Become A Brand New You (With This Self-Improvement Approach) Want To Be More Successful? You Should Follow This Rule To Manage Your Time Want To Live A More Fulfilling Life? You Need To Understand This Concept First If You Want To Be A High Achiever, You Need To Adopt This Mindset Want To Unlock Your Brain’s Full Potential? You Should Know This 90-Minute Trick

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Published on July 7, 2020

Brain Training: 12 Fast, Fun Mental Workouts

Brain Training: 12 Fast, Fun Mental Workouts

Exercise isn’t just for your body. Just as important is keeping your mind strong by training your brain with fun mental workouts.

Think of your mental and physical fitness the same way: you don’t need to be an Olympian, but you do need to stay in shape if you want to live well. A few cognitive workouts per week can make a major difference in your life.

The Skinny on Mental Workouts

Physical fitness boosts your stamina and increases your muscular strength. The benefits of working up a mental sweat and brain training, however, might not be so obvious.

Research suggests that cognitive training has short- and long-term benefits, including:

1. Improved Memory

After eight weeks of cognitive training, 19 arithmetic students showed a larger and more active hippocampus than their peers.[1] The hippocampus is associated with learning and memory.

2. Reduced Stress Levels

Mastering new tasks more quickly makes the work of learning less stressful. A stronger memory can call information to mind with less effort.

3. Improved Work Performance

Learning quickly and remembering key details can lead to a better career. Employers are increasingly hiring for soft skills, such as trainability and attention to detail.

4. Delayed Cognitive Decline

As we age, we experience cognitive decline. A study published by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that 10 one-hour sessions of cognitive training boosted reasoning and information processing speed in adults between the ages of 65 and 94.[2]

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Just like in physical exercise, what’s important isn’t the specific workout. To be sustainable, cognitive workouts need to be easy and fun. Otherwise, it’s too easy to throw in the towel.

Fun Brain Training Exercises for Everyone

The best about fun mental workouts? There’s no need to head to a gym. Feel free to mix and match the following activities for daily brain training:

1. Brainstorming

One of the simplest, easiest ways to engage your brain? Coming up with solutions to a challenge you’re facing.

If you aren’t good at solo ideation, ask a partner to join you. When I’m struggling to come up with topics to write about, I call up my editors to bat ideas around. Friends or co-workers are usually happy to help.

2. Dancing

Isn’t dancing a physical workout? Yes, but the coordination it requires is also great for training your brain. Plus, it’s a lot of fun.

Studies suggest that dance boosts multiple cognitive skills.[3] Planning, memorizing, organizing, and creativity all seem to benefit from a few fancy steps.

3. Learning a New Language

Learning a new language takes time. But if you split it up into small, daily lessons, it’s easier than you might think.

With language learning, every lesson builds on the last. When I was learning Spanish, I used a tool called Guru for knowledge management.[4] Every time I’d learn a verb tense, I’d create a new card to give me a quick refresh before moving on.

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4. Developing a Hobby

Like languages, hobbies take time to develop. But that’s the fun of them: you get a little better—both at the hobby and in terms of brain function—each time you do them.

If you’re trying to train your brain and improve a certain cognitive skill, choose a hobby that aligns with it.

For example:

  • Attention to detail: Pick a hobby that requires you to work patiently with small features. Woodworking, model-building, sketching, and painting are all good choices.
  • Learning and memory: Choose an activity that requires you to remember lots of details. Your best bets are hobbies that require lots of categorization, such as collecting stamps or coins.
  • Motor function: For this brain function, physical activities can double as fun mental workouts. Sports like soccer and basketball build gross motor functions. Fine motor functions are better trained through activities like table tennis or even playing video games.
  • Problem-solving: Most hobbies require you to problem-solve in one way or another. The ones that test your problem-solving skills the most, however, take some investigation.

Geocaching is a good example: Using a combination of clues and GPS readings, geocaching involves finding and re-hiding containers. Typically done in a wooded area, geocaching is a fun way to put your problem-solving skills to the test.

5. Board Games

Playing a board game might not be much of a physical workout, but it does make for a fun mental workout. With that said, not all board games work equally well for cognitive training.

Avoid “no brainer” board games, like Candy Land. Opt for strategy-focused ones, such as Risk or Settlers of Catan. Remember to ask other players for their input.

6. Card Games

Card games build cognitive skills in much the same way board games do. They have a few extra advantages, though, that make them worthy of special attention.

A deck of cards is inexpensive and can be played anywhere, from a kitchen to an airplane. More importantly, a deck of cards opens the door to dozens of different games. Challenge yourself to learn a few in an afternoon.

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7. Puzzles

Puzzles are great tools for building a specific cognitive skill: visuospatial function. Visuospatial function is important to train because it’s one of the first abilities to slip in people struggling with cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s.[5]

Choose a puzzle you’ll stick with. There’s no shame in starting with a 500-piece puzzle or choosing one that makes a childish image.

8. Playing Music

Listening to music is a great way to unwind. But playing music goes one step further. On top of entertaining you, it makes for a fun mental workout.

Again, choose an instrument you know you’ll stick with. If you’ve always wanted to learn the violin, don’t get a guitar because it’s less expensive or easier to pick up.

What if you can’t afford an instrument? Sing. Learning to control your voice is every bit as challenging as making a set of keys or strings sound good.

9. Meditating

Not all cognitive exercises are loud, in-your-face activities. Some of the most fun mental workouts, in fact, are quiet, solo activities. Meditating can help you focus, especially if you have pre-existing attention issues.

Don’t be intimidated if you’ve never meditated before. It’s easy:

  • Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit or lie down.
  • Set a timer for 10 minutes, or for however long you have to meditate.
  • Close your eyes or turn off the lights.
  • Focus on your breathing. Do not try to control it.
  • If your thoughts wander, gently bring them back to your breath.
  • When the timer goes off, wiggle your fingers and toes for a minute. Slowly bring yourself back to reality. Remember the sense of serenity you found.

10. Deep Conversation

There’s nothing more mentally stimulating than a good, long conversation. The key is depth: surface-level chatter doesn’t get the mind’s wheels spinning like a thoughtful, authentic conversation. This type of conversation helps in training your brain to think more deeply and reflect.

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Choose your partner carefully. You’re looking for someone who’ll challenge your ideas without being confrontational. Stress isn’t good for brain health, but there’s value in coming up with creative arguments.

11. Cooking

When you think about it, cooking requires an impressive array of cognitive skills. Developing a cook’s intuition requires a good memory. Making sure flavors are balanced takes attention to detail. When something goes wrong in the kitchen, problem-solving skills come into play. Motor control is required to stir, flip, and whisk.

If you’re going to cook, you might as well make enough for everyone. Invite them into the kitchen as well: coordinating with other chefs adds an extra layer of challenge to this fun mental workout.

12. Mentorship

Whether you’re the mentee or the mentor, mentorship is an incredible mental workout. Learning from someone you look up to combines the benefits of deep conversation with skill-building. Teaching someone else forces you to put yourself in their shoes, which requires empathy and problem-solving skills.

Put yourself in both situations. Being a student makes you a better teacher, and teaching others gives you insight into how you, yourself, learn.

Final Thoughts

Your mind is your most important possession, and training your brain is needed to maintain its health. Don’t let it get soft.

To keep those neurons firing at full speed, add a few fun mental workouts to your schedule. And if you’re still struggling to get your brain in gear, remember: there’s an app for that.

More Tips for Training Your Brain

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

Reference

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