You’ve probably heard someone say at least once in your life, “the brain is a muscle.”
Although this isn’t factually correct, the metaphor works well enough.
The Science Behind Training Your Brain
Your brain is made up of gray and white matter (unlike your muscles), but it can be trained and strengthened with practice, much like your muscles. Providing your brain with stimulation can help increase its capacity to perform tasks and reach its maximum potential.
With continuous use, your brain’s neuroplasticity strengthens and decreases your risks of deteriorating cognitive functions, including memory loss and difficulty performing everyday tasks.
Neuroplasticity simply refers to your brain’s ability to adapt and modify itself through life, according to your life experiences. These changes occur in both structure and function.
The 86 billion neurons in your brain continuously work to create connections between different parts of your brain, forming new pathways in response to mental stimulation.
The more you use those pathways, the deeper a path it becomes, sort of like a river creating a ravine in rock. Information, skills, and memories become nearly impossible to lose!
The more new things you learn, the more your neurons are stimulated to create pathways for that new thing. This is the science behind training your brain, in a nutshell.
Why National Train Your Brain Day?
National Train Your Brain Day was established to bring to light the amazing power of your brain and to inform and guide you on how you can maintain optimal brain health.
The day is perfect for celebrating the marvel that is the human noggin, and to help you understand your brain’s true potential so that you can work towards fulfilling it.
Keep in mind that though you’re training your brain every minute of the day with your responses to different situations, people, and things, there are still things you can do intentionally to train it to work with you and not against you.
National Train Your Brain Day is a perfect opportunity to take a time out and learn some of the best ways to keep your brain stimulated and ever learning new things.
Reading is often said to be one of the best ways of expanding your mind. Although the usual meaning behind this is that you learn new things, it also literally expands your mind by creating mental stimulation. Read anything of your choice, from fiction to newspapers!
Writing stimulates many different areas of your brain, as it involves hand movement, creative thinking, and cognitive function to comprehend and put together words. It can be something as easy and simple as a daily journal or a to-do list.
Drawing can also be a great activity to boost mental stimulation. You can have fun and learn a new skill in the process by learning graphic design and similar skills that may involve some artistic drawing ability. Intelligent logo design is a booming business these days and smart logo designing is on the rise.
Nothing stimulates the mind quite like a puzzle. You can choose any type of puzzle, from a jigsaw puzzle that can train your brain to consider the bigger picture in tough situations to crossword puzzles to increase your understanding and comprehension of different words. You could even try sudoku, if numbers are your thing!
Memory or matching games stimulate the short term memory part of your brain, which can be good practice to boost your memory.
Learning New Vocabulary / Language
A simple idea to boost mental stimulation is challenging yourself to learn a new language or increasing your vocabulary by learning some new words every day.
Switch Up Your Routine
When you follow the same routine every day, your brain gets used to it, and it doesn’t create enough stimulation. It’s always a good idea to switch up your routine once in a while to help keep things fresh.
Learn Something New
Learning something new can provide your brain with the stimulation it needs to become stronger and sharper. It can be anything, from learning a new skill––like playing an instrument––to learning how to operate a new tool. The more ‘hands on,’ the better!
Not ‘Just Another Day’
National Train Your Brain Day might seem like it’s all fun and games, but there’s real science behind the idea of using your brain to keep it in tip top shape and stay sharp as you age. As that old saying goes, use it or lose it!