41) Nurture positive relationships.
Having positive relationships not only satisfies a person’s social and emotional needs, but also keeps him from developing mental illness. Social inadequacies and dysfunctional relationships are associated with anxiety, the buildup of which results in depression, mood disorders, and psychotic conditions. A study conducted by Ertel et. al. discovered that good relationships and social integration can promote memory preservation among the elderly, and that a solid social network predicted a reduced rate of cognitive decline.
42) Engage in good conversation.
A simple conversation may do more than just pass the time or build friendships: it can also improve memory and cognitive functioning. A systematic review done by psychology professors at the University of Michigan explored the effects of social interaction on mental functioning, and revealed that there is a relationship between socializing and improved cognition.
43) Break a routine.
Breaking a routine helps your brain by adding some stimulus to it. It doesn’t just add twist to every single day; it makes you think and think and think. People tend to have decreased mental activity if they do things in a usual manner, like brushing one’s teeth with the dominant hand or ordering the same food at a restaurant.
44) Organize your stuff.
A messy room is a ghastly sight, and getting used to it is just not healthy for your brain. The brain is like a machine that needs to keep moving, so a little tidying up and brainstorming where to put your stuff will not only improve your place, but your memory and cognitive skills as well. You’ll also realize that you’ll decrease the likelihood of losing things when you keep your things clean and organized.
45) Learn a new skill.
Researchers have seen a set of common changes in the brain of people who are trying to learn a new skill, and have observed in them a neural marker for the reorganization that their brains go through as they practice or become proficient at a certain task. Researchers stated in their journal Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair (Vol. 27:3) that when a person becomes more adept at a certain skill, his brain no longer has to put more effort to it. The brain then shifts from a more controlled to a more automatic stated once a skill is learned, regardless of what the type of training was acquired.
46) Write by hand.
Most people these days don’t see the benefit of writing by hand, as they have gotten more accustomed to typing with a computer keyboard. Writing by hand helps a person develop a kinesthetic sense by allowing the brain to process information more effectively. According to Virginia Berninger, a professor of psychology at the University of Washington, the finger movements made hand writing activate the large regions of the brain that are involved with memory, language, and thinking. So when you create a to-do list, get a pen and write it down instead of typing it.
47) Speak out loud.
A study by MacLeod et.al. explored the production effect (the act of saying a word aloud) and what it does to the brain. It revealed that saying a word aloud rather than saying it silently improves memory. So when you prepare for an exam, don’t just mumble the words that you read. Saying it aloud does make a difference.
48) Think positive.
Anxiety, worry, and depression make the brain unhealthy, and people who have a negative outlook are more prone to develop brain disorders and psychiatric conditions. If you want to decrease the likelihood of these problems, try to see the world in a positive light. Positive thinking improves a person’s ability to learn. In fact, research studies support that positive thinking increases a person’s motivation to learn and acquire new skills.
49) Quit smoking.
When you smoke, instead of feeding your brain with oxygen, you’re filling it with carbon monoxide and free radicals that decrease its cognitive ability and cause injury to the inner lining of its blood vessels. Smoking decreases cognitive ability and poses the risk of cerebrovascular diseases like stroke. Needless to say, smoking causes cancer.
50) Avoid alcohol and drugs.
Though this is quite self-explanatory, many people still neglect the impact of drug and alcohol abuse on their brain. A little bit of alcohol has been shown to be good for us but habitual drug and alcohol use can potentially disrupt brain function in areas that are most crucial to retention, cognition, judgment, and behavior control.