By Scott Vollero
Clearly, your brain is your most valuable asset. But how often do you nurture it to keep it that way?
As with most of your body's muscles, your brain needs exercise to stay at the top of its game. An active well-functioning brain keeps you productive at work, ensures the decisions you make are smart and gives you the tools you need to come up with new ideas and problem solutions.
How can you keep your brain sharp and increase creativity? Follow these five tips.
1. Exercise Your Body
OK, you're busy. An hour at the gym is not going to happen. But, you can fit in a daily walk, even if it's a 15-minute walk around your office building.
“That little walk allows your brain to do amazing things. Regular physical exercise improves cognition, memory and protects against degeneration.”—Scott Vollero
Exercise also relieves stress. Find ways to engage in physical activities, such as one or more walks and taking the stairs instead of the elevator, throughout the day.
2. Get Some Sun
Vitamin D is essential for optimum brain function. The best way to get vitamin D is direct exposure to the sun. Your skin needs 10-minutes of sun exposure per day without the use of sunscreen. If you live in an area where sun is limited or cannot go without sunscreen, consider taking a supplement. Speak with your doctor about how much to take.
3. Take Breaks
A Hiroshima University study published in The Atlantic found that the formula for optimal productivity is taking a 17-minute break after 52 minutes of work. Scientific observations concluded that your brain, just like any other muscle, tires from repeated stress. In other words, your ability to perform at optimum capacity diminishes over time. Your brain needs periodic breaks to refresh itself. So, work hard for 52 minutes then spend a few moments looking at cute cat videos. It's good for your brain.
4. Eat, Drink, Sleep
Your brain thrives when it and the rest of your body feel good. Avoid eating junk food and get plenty of rest. And, believe it or not, drink coffee. Best done early in the day so it doesn't interfere with sleep, drinking coffee with caffeine actually does help your brain function. Coffee helps you focus, boosts intelligence, improves your reasoning capacity and increases reaction times.
5. Develop and Improve Your Natural Creativity
When you were a kid, you asked questions. You wanted to know about everything. If you're like most adults, however, you've gotten caught up in the day-to-day and lost some of your natural curiosity, and with it the inborn creativity, you once had. Creativity drives innovation. It gives our brains the ability to interpret events, predict outcomes and produce ideas.
Here are a few ways you can get those creative juices flowing again:
- Step out of your comfort zone. Change your routine. Drive a different route to work. Order something you've never tried before off the menu. Even small changes invoke new ways of thinking.
- Learn something new. Take a language class in person or online. Learn a new skill. Take on a new challenge.
- Play games. According to Entrepreneur magazine, playing Tetris not only has positive effects on the brain, but playing Tetris after a traumatic experience has been shown to decrease the negative memories of the event and victims suffer fewer flashbacks. Logic games keep the mind sharp. Word games increase vocabulary.
Bio: Scott Vollero is an international entrepreneur and expert in the precious metals and automotive parts recycling industries.