Three Tips to Keep Your Brain Alive
October 18, 2007
So today, I discovered a very interesting concept called Neurobics. Brain aerobics, I suppose. Anyway, it’s great. So, I thought I’d share.
Basically, Neurobics, developed by Lawrence C. Katz and Manning Rubin, is all about harnessing the power of “new” to sharpen your brain functioning. They wrote a book called Keep Your Brain Alive which talks about several ways you can help your brain satisfy its urge to form connections by helping it form new connections.
Here’s what they say on their website: “Making multi-sensory associations, and doing something novel that is important or engaging to you – these are the key conditions for a genuine Neurobic exercise.”
The keys seem to be to involve your senses, keep your attention, and break a routine in an unexpected way. Read here for more on this.
Anyway, I fell in love with the idea. I’m a big advocate of engaging your brain, playing, of doing whatever you can to continually learn and stay sharp. But I also don’t have a ton of time to spend in that area. Which is why I love their simple tips. Check out a few:
1. Try something with your eyes closed. For example, walking from your car to your house when you get home from work. I did a version of this, years ago, when I visited a concept restaurant in Berlin with a friend. We ate an entire meal in the absolute, utter darkness. We were served by blind servers who didn’t have trouble getting around in the dark. We listened and wondered how close all the tables were, because our ears were so tuned in without sight, everyone seemed to be mere inches away. We smelled and tasted and wondered what we were eating, drinking. Their menu doesn’t specify, instead using riddles to describe each meal (vegetarian, poultry, meat, etc.) It was brilliant. It was compelling. It certainly engaged my brain.
2. Use the other hand. Maybe not the best tip for the practiced ambidextrous citizens out there, but for me, along with probably most of the population, the simple task of brushing my teeth would be a challenge with my left hand. On occasion, I’ve tried scribbling my name this way. But I’ve never gone a whole day that way, like they suggest. Sounds like a learning experience to me. And definitely something new. Also try out using a can opener, a hammer, who knows, the options are endless.
3. Do normal a new way. Anything is up for grabs with this, really. They recommend driving a new way to work or eating an entire meal with your family in utter silence – the idea is to rely on visual cues to indicate what you need. Essentially, making small changes in your routine can help you grow your brain. Which I love to hear! I’m rearranging my desk right now so that my calendar’s on the opposite side and things are all in new places. Isn’t is wonderful that something like that counts?
So, maybe it’s not a reset button, but it’s a start.