Three Ways to Increase Mental Energy
When we feel our energy levels ebbing, we reach for a jolt of caffeine as a general response. Our daily workload, family obligations, and social lives have us on the move from the moment we wake up to when we go to sleep. But mental fatigue can happen whether we’re working too hard or not working enough. Our brain needs more than engaging in the same routines, especially when those routines elevate our stress levels. In order to boost brain function so we can heighten our cognitive abilities while gaining mental energy it’s imperative we find creative ways to add brain exercise to our days.
1- Find ways to stimulate your brain
Finding ways to keep our brain stimulated and active doesn’t have to be a daunting task. In fact, we can find ways to exercise our brains doing everyday things. Things like brushing our teeth with the opposite hand force our brain to turn off the auto-pilot and actively pay attention to the activity. We can take different routes to work or commit to cooking one new recipe a week. And doing quick exercises while we’re driving or cooking can keep our brain extra flexible and agile. We can say the alphabet backwards, solve math problems, or practice learning a new word every day and reciting the last week’s words to reinforce them into long-term memory. Finally, there’s always taking the time to do crossword or Sudoku puzzles, play a game of chess, or complete a jigsaw puzzle as a way to stretch and challenge our cognitive skills.
2- Try new things
Learning a new skill is a fantastic way to exercise our whole brain. Whether we want to master a foreign language, learn a musical instrument, or start a new hobby such as crocheting or knitting, the experience of having to learn something entirely new forces our brain to wake up and pay attention to every detail. This stimulates the creation of new neurons, which then work to develop new neural pathways. These new pathways allow neurons to communicate and travel faster as a whole, not just on the new pathway. This gives us an extra mental boost and makes things like problem-solving and decision making easier.
3- Make joy a priority
There are a lot of tasks and activities we have to do throughout our day that we really don’t want to be doing. Forcing ourselves to do them can often result in taking most of our energy. So much that by the end of the day, all we want to do is zone out on the couch. But being a responsible adult doesn’t have to always be a chore. Maybe wearing bright colors or adding unique accessories can make getting ready for work happier. Or creating a playlist with all our favorite songs to belt out during our commute. Setting small goals with rewards can help make a work project a lot more enjoyable. And ensuring that we schedule quality time with friends and loved ones can break up a monotonous week. All of these small activities trigger the reward system in our brain, releasing happiness hormones, which reduces stress and helps our brain function at higher levels.
Finding creative ways to stimulate our mind and rejuvenate our mental energy don’t have to add to our daily to-do list. By adding exercises into our daily habits, making learning a priority, and finding ways to add joy in our daily tasks, we will stretch our brain muscles and reduce mental fatigue.