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50 Ways To Improve Your Mental Functioning

Last updated on April 12, 2021

How often do you truly consider your brain? It’s a supercomputer. Think about the considerations you pay your laptop or PC. 

You install anti-virus software, put security systems in place, constantly update the programs, and make changes to ensure it’s running properly. Do you do even half of that for your brain? Probably not. 

If you’re wondering how you can do that type of thing with your brain, then you’re in luck. We are here to share 50 different ways that you can include your mental functioning. Mental function includes a variety of utilities, including focus and concentration, the ability to think clearly, analyze information, and perform a variety of other cognitive functions.

For the most part, the average person isn’t thinking about training their brain or giving it a break. In fact, more so now than ever, we expect more from our brains.

We push it to work much harder and for much longer. What do you do to repay it? 

Your brain is a muscle, which means it needs to be exercised regularly. You aren’t stuck with the level of knowledge you have, the supercomputer in your head can expand to learn new things all of the time. 

You can change your brain with training. There’s more good news for you, you don’t need a wealth of money to improve your mental functioning, you don’t need to buy gadgets or go back to school to do it either. All you need is the time and commitment to take the steps necessary to do so. 

So, if you forget why you entered a room, can’t remember the name of your friend from grade school or you keep forgetting appointments, read on. 

50 Ways To Improve Your Mental Functioning 

1| Meditation 

According to the Eco Institute, meditation improves mental function in a number of ways (ref.). The endorphins that your body releases during meditation help battle high blood pressure. It can also increase your gray matter, as you relax and clear your mind to improve clear thinking. It’s really easy to do, too. 

Simply close your eyes, no matter where you are, and focus on your breath. If your mind wanders, simply redirect it back to focus on your breath. Five minutes is enough to calm you down and clear your mind. So, if you feel like your day is getting on top of you – take a moment. 

2| Physical Exercise 

Exercise and brain function go hand in hand. The reason for this is that when you exercise your brain develops brain cells. So, your brain will thank you just as much as your body for getting active. 

3| Writing 

People often take notes even when they don’t need to. The reason that they do this is that it helps them memorize that information. When you write something down it’s a signal to your brain that this is information to retain. 

It also helps you clarify your thought process and recall those memories later down the line. It really doesn’t matter whether you keep a diary or journal, take notes in a meeting, jot down poetry or create short stories. All of this fuels your brain function. 

4| Laughter

Laughter… is it the best medicine? Well, when you laugh your body releases endorphins. That helps beat stress, which is good for your brain. Laughter also opens your mind to new ideas and thought processes. Learn to laugh at yourself and make time to watch or do things that provide you with laughter each day. 

5| Diet 

Are you what you eat? Kind of. Around 20% of the nutrients you consume are used by your body. So, your brain needs you to make the right dietary choices. That means getting plenty of Omega 3 fatty acids, fresh fruit and vegetables as well. There are plenty of ‘diets’ out there that support a healthy brain, the Mediterranean Diet is one of the best. 

6| Debate

The rules for a dinner party include no talk about religion or politics. It’s a good rule to follow, but your brain loves a healthy debate. It pushes its ability to respond quickly and put together an intelligence verbal response. 

So, don’t shy away from polite debates, it’s a great way to build your brain function. You might not want to practice this at the holiday dinner table, though for some families it’s unavoidable. 

7| Multivitamins

If you know that your diet doesn’t provide you with enough of a certain vitamin, consider taking a multivitamin to make up the difference. In an ideal world, your diet will provide you with all of the vitamins and nutrients that you need. However, where it doesn’t, a daily vitamin should help you boost your brain function. If you need to overhaul your diet, you should do it slowly so that it sticks. In this case, the multivitamin can help until you’ve made the necessary changes. 

8| Your Environment

Routine is your brain’s greatest natural enemy. You might have worked hard to get yourself into a routine, but changing things up will do your brain a favor. For example, if you drive to work try to take a different route as often as possible. If you always go to the same restaurant and order the same meal, try something different. Or, do your chores in a different order. 

9| Goal-setting

When you set a goal it triggers the region of the brain that is associated with action. It’s great for increasing your brain function, pushing success, and positive thinking. 

10| Music 

The brain’s right hemisphere strengthens as you listen to music. It literally alters the structure of the brain (ref.). Additionally, the same studies discovered that music lovers tend to have a higher level of emotional intelligence. 

11| Empathy 

Showing empathy isn’t just about being compassionate to others. It is literally a skill that you can learn and it’s a powerful tool that pushes your brain to relate to others. Resource: The complete guide to empathy

12| Stress Management

In a perfect world, you can shut out life’s stresses entirely. Unfortunately, that is impossible. However, what you can do is learn how to effectively manage your stress levels. Cortisol, the hormone that stress triggers, affects your brain’s ability to function and kills off brain cells. So, learning how to manage stress is vital to your brain’s overall health and function. 

13| Positive Thinking

Thinking positively boosts your brain function more than negative thinking. So, if you already look on the bright side of life, you’re in a better brain function position than others. However, there’s no such thing as being too positive. So, try it out. You’ll see a real difference in your ability to solve problems and think clearly. 

14| Brainstorming

There’s nothing like a great brainstorming session to trigger new ideas and encourage your brain to think more creatively. It means writing down any and all ideas, rather than filtering them. Just let it all flow and see how creatively your brain is capable of thinking. 

15| Visualizations

Visualizations are all about getting your head in the game, many athletes practice visualization to get themselves in the zone before a game. It doesn’t just help the performance of your mind and body, it also helps reduce stress. 

16| Puzzling

Sudoku, crosswords, and puzzles of any time can help you improve your ability to think critically. Whether you buy a paper to tackle the challenging crossword or buy a book of puzzles, use them to build your brain function. 

17| Read

People who read tend to have a large vocabulary. However, beyond that, they also challenge your thought process, improve your ability to retain information and your critical thinking skills. So, no matter what genre you prefer, it all benefits your brain. 

18| Nuts

If you want to seriously boost your brain function, you can do so by eating nuts! Walnuts are the ultimate, but other nuts are also great. 

19| Classical Music 

We already mentioned music, but classical music deserves a shout-out of its own. Classical music directly impacts the brain’s left hemisphere, which should explain why it improves writing and math skills.   

20| Brain Games

Whether it’s a game for a console or a simple app on your phone, brain training games put your brain through its paces. They provide you with a random selection of games each day and encourage you to do them quickly, efficiently, and improve your problem-solving skills. 

21| TV Time

It’s one thing to enjoy a great sitcom and laugh to relieve stress, but you shouldn’t indulge it too much. TV can impact your brain function because you get caught up watching, never moving from the couch, and it might not literally rot your brain… but it certainly isn’t helping. 

22| Naps

Some of the major technology companies have created nap zones for their employees to take a break. If you feel tired and you can take a short nap, go for it! Not only can it help your brain recover from a poor night of sleep, but it also provides your brain with a boost. 

23| Painting

You don’t need to have any artistic talent to take advantage of painting as a hobby. Before you put brush to canvas, you first visualize what you plan to paint. 

Even if you are just going with the flow, you still have to make a decision about what color paint to use first and where to first place your brush on the canvas. It’s an excellent exercise for the brain’s right hemisphere. 

24| Emote

There is something to be said for allowing yourself to experience your emotions fully. That means that if you feel the need to cry, you should do it (when the time’s right). It boosts brain circulation, and it’s a cleansing process. Don’t be afraid to cry, whether it’s after a rough day, an emotional video on social media or a sad movie. 

25| Breakfast

It really is the most important meal of your day. Not only does it start your day off right, but it also gives you the boost your brain needs. Just make sure it’s a well-balanced option and not a bowl of sugary puffs. If you don’t normally eat breakfast before you head out, but you start now… you will see a major difference in your mood and your performance. 

26| Walking

Okay, we already mentioned that exercise is good for the brain. You don’t need a gym to get a good workout in, though. Taking a walk is an excellent way to give your brain function the boost that it needs. It relaxes your brain, allows you time to clear your mind and relieve stress, and ultimately, supports your brain function. 

27| Cut Back 

This isn’t about your actual diet, it’s about how much you consume. When you eat too much it increases the digestive system’s blood flow, which steals it from your brain. So, your body has to work harder to digest food and at the expense of your brain’s functions. 

28| Mimicry 

You probably never imagined that doing an impersonation of your boss could benefit you (assuming you don’t get caught in the act). It turns out when you do playful impersonations of others it activates areas of your brain that are inactive. It boosts brain function and helps with its ability to adapt to new situations. 

29| Alcohol-Control 

While a glass or two of red wine is great for your brain, too much of it (or any type of alcohol) can damage the function and overall health of your brain. So, if you want to truly boost your brain function, you can start by reducing your alcohol intake. Not only can it leave you feeling foggy and disorganized, but it can also impact your memory. 

30| Drug-Free

Drugs really are bad, okay? They consume brain cells, kills your creativity, and of course, can result in addiction. An addiction will consume your entire life, and drug dependency can cause bleeding of the brain, as well as loss of brain cells and prevent neural growth. Your brain will thank you for staying drug-free. 

31| Self-Awareness

It’s difficult to think rationally when you allow your ego to drive your actions. Thinking rationally will aid your journey into self-awareness. In turn, you can start making better decisions. You can boost your self-awareness through self-hypnosis, yoga, meditation, and introspection. 

32| Fresh Juice 

A glass of freshly squeezed, fruit juice is a great way to jolt your brain cells into action. Whether you prefer grape, apple or cranberry juice, just make sure it’s true fresh juice. They will provide you with valuable nutrients, thus boosting more focus and mental energy. 

33| Sex

Yes, sex is an awesome way to trigger hormones that bathe your brain in goodness. Not only does sex increase your emotional intelligence, but it also provides you with a boost to your social connection. It’s stress relieving, and it also helps improve your confidence. In turn, it aids your ability to think positively. 

34| Caffeine

Now, too much caffeine can cause an increase in your stress levels and even make you angry. However, a healthy dose of caffeine can stimulate brain activity, improve your focus, and speed up your ability to think. 

So, if you have an exam, interview or presentation, a cup of coffee beforehand can help you improve your mental function (ref.)

35| Question Everything

Make a habit of asking questions. Not only does it provide new ideas and trigger new thoughts, but it’s also a great way to exercise your brain. 

36| Answer Questions

Just like questioning everything will keep your brain in shape, so will answering them. So, why not volunteer somewhere that allows you to field questions. It will force you to learn new information and then test your ability to think on your feet. 

37| Dancing

Whether you want to do the salsa or you prefer the tango, dancing requires serious brain power. You need your brain to memorize the moves and it also relieves stress. So, you can take a class or find a video online, either way – learning how to dance and then doing so regularly can boost your mental function. 

38| Break Out Of Your Comfort Zone

We mentioned the importance of puzzles to tease your brain. What’s important, though, is that you change things up. Once you master something your brain won’t form new connections. So, if you prefer drawing, try to work with numbers. If it’s logic that you prefer, take up an art. 

39| Sight

Stay with us here. Don’t just look, look. When you look ahead try to trigger your periphery vision without actually moving your eyes. If you do this often then you can stimulate your brain’s spatial and neural centers.

These tend to waste away as you age. Additionally, when you are out walking or a passenger in a vehicle, take time to look around. This can also form new neural connections by activating parts of your brain that you rarely use.  

40| Engage Your Senses

Take a moment to enjoy everything in a moment. So, when you wake up in the morning, think about how much sunshine streamed in your window. If you then wander to the window to open it for a deep breath of fresh air, consider the smell you were met with. How colorful are the flowers? What about your partner’s scent as you kissed them goodbye? Take it all in, that’s all reported to your brain, which can promote cell growth in multiple areas of the brain. 

41| Active Listening

When someone is speaking to you, you should be actively listening to ensure you are hearing them correctly. One effective way to do this is by listening for the details. When a person’s tone of voice changes, it should indicate information that you should be noting. You may want to create an image in your mind of the story. This will activate a number of areas in the brain, which will help you form memories. 

42| Quiet Time

If you aren’t sure about meditation, then quiet time with a motto or mantra may be more your speed. It could be a single word, but whatever it is it’s something that should bring you calm. Take a moment and repeat it and when your mind wanders, say it again. This can help relieve stress and stave off anxiety and depression. All of which can affect your mental functions. 

43| Fish 

We already mentioned the power of omega 3 fatty acids in walnuts, but fish is another excellent choice. Don’t choose farmed fish, though. The metals found in those may actually be negatively impacting your mental function. Always go with the wild fish. 

44| Environmental Changes

We spoke about making changes in your route and your physical environment is no different. So, rearrange the furniture, change up where you store your kitchen utensils and glasses. Move your drawers around and plant new plants. 

If you love scented candles, try a new scent or introduce a variety of essential oils for a diffuser. It’s all about changing the motor pathway to encourage cell growth. 

45| Mental Images

When you meet someone new try to take a mental image of the person so that you can recall their face with their name. You may want to come up with a clever way to do that with their name, however, you do it, it will help your mental function. 

46| Current Events

As frustrating as the news can be, it’s important to stay up to date. Not just because it stimulates your brain’s memory center. It also gives you something to discuss when you meet up with family and friends. Socializing is important for cell growth. 

47| Instruments or Languages

Pick up a guitar, sit down at the piano or enroll in a Spanish class. Learning something new, like an instrument or a language, can reduce your risk of dementia and broaden your mental function. A language doesn’t just improve your language and verbal skills, it also benefits your brain’s memory center. 

48| Talk 

The next time you feel like watching television, why not call a friend for a chat instead. Or, send a text to invite them for coffee. Socializing is good for protecting yourself from depression, which can sap your mental function. 

49| Change Your Hands

Right-handed? Try using your left hand, whether it’s to write, open a jar, or even just on your computer mouse. This forces your brain to pay more attention to a typically rote task. It’s going to help stimulate the growth of your brain cells. 

50| Sleep 

This is the moment your brain gets to rest. Not like your body is resting, though. The brain doesn’t really stop, what it does do while you sleep is purge toxins, regenerate cells, and store memories. It’s like a detox at the spa, but for your brain. Seven hours each night is the necessary number for adults. It also helps you manage your stress levels, and stress is detrimental to brain function. (ref.) 

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