You read correct. Your brain works like a muscle, and just like any other muscle, if properly nutritioned, stretched, exercised and recovered, it can change its shape.
More than 95 % adults underestimate power of proper brain care, resulting in sub-optimal prolem-solving performance, weariness, induced laziness. In some cases, this even leads to depression (state, where almost every action is perceived as way too difficult to undertaketake). We have covered early stages of fighting the depression previously.
In this article, we will focus on proper brain stretching and exercising techniques. The results should be immediately visible in forms of boosted mental stamina and your mental tasks solving skills.
Welcome to the brainbuilders club!
First, we need a minimal understanding of how the brain and intelligence functions.
Any action performed by our brain (moving a finger, figuring out a logic challenge, recalling an event from our memory, ..) needs to happen in form of neural pathways. These are formed by neurons connected by dendrites, and the main thing to remember about them is that they get stronger and faster to run through (let's call this optimised) with given pathway usage. It has been proven that new neural pathways can emerge in any brain, no matter its state.
This whole neural pathway system can be indeed visualised as a massive road system, where each road has its own speed limit and width. This speed limits and road widths increase with higher frequency of given road usage, and decrease with lower frequency. One of the extreme state of the pathway is full automation; or a habit. Most known complex examples here are riding a bike or driving a car.
The catch here is, that neuroscientists have not yet figured out what exactly can be represented by each neuron. Seemingly, a neuron is used in different neural pathways, and clue to the overall scheme is missing. What has been proven is, that the more the variety of neural pathways gets used, the better overall brain performance, the better the brain health.
Let's take an adult human being, successful in their job and family life. Most of their time is usually spent performing similar actions, albeit complex. Just too close to each other in the neural pathways terms. Is this healthy for the individual's brain? The answer is obviously NO. The quality missing here is the variety, feeding the brain with different stimuli.
Most individuals have experienced this themselves; while being stuck on a task, they switched to completely different topic, which resulted in abrupt development on the former task. Our aim is to utilize this mechanics and master its usage, so it will be available at hand.
To achieve this, your path is individual; you have to find out what stimuli work for you. I can only provide a list to choose from:
Remember, that new neural pathways form only after repeated exposure to given stimulus, so after you make your picks, incorporate them into your daily routines and stick to them!
Have fun, but also challenge yourself! Stepping out of your comfort zone is a great stimulus on its own.
Last but not least, learn to listen to your body. You definitely do not want to overdo anything. Is the activity bringing you no joy? Maybe it is rest-time!