Brain training

Many people know that mental exercise develops the brain in pretty much the same way that physical activity develops muscles. Regular stress significantly increases mental endurance, the brain gets used to the stress, and thinking becomes clearer and more logically correct. However, mental endurance is not something that can be achieved too easily. For example, physical endurance is achieved through various aerobic exercises - running, swimming, cycling. During training, the heart muscle contracts more often than at rest, and the lungs are supplied with a large amount of oxygen, enriching every cell in the body.

So, tension is the basis of physical endurance. As for mental endurance, the same principle applies here. You need to regularly perform tasks that require prolonged concentration. In this article, we will talk about 8 ways to not only pump up your brain but also significantly increase its endurance. We will talk about the various ways of brain development, already known to many, and also mention the methods used by the Pythagoreans - students and followers of the great ancient Greek mathematician and philosopher Pythagoras. At the same time, it must be said right away that a lot of effort will be required from you. Those who think that it is easier to develop the brain than to achieve an athletic body are deeply mistaken. If you take it seriously, then literally after a month of regular training you will be surprised at the progress that previously seemed to you an unattainable lot only gifted people have.

By the way, if you want to know how smart you already are, we suggest you take at least one of these reliable IQ Tests.

1. Do something unusual once a week

At first glance, this activity may seem senseless or not too serious, to say the least. However, in reality, this is not the case. The fact is that perhaps the main enemy of our brain is routine. If you begin to gradually dilute this routine with something new, new neural connections will appear in your brain, which, of course, will have a positive effect on brain development. It can be anything new and unusual - a visit to an art exhibition or the Philharmonic, a trip to a part of the city you have never been to before. You can also return from work or school taking a route you have never taken before or have dinner not at home but in a public place. In other words, at least once a week, do something that you don't usually do. The more often you diversify your daily life, the more beneficial it will be to the brain.

2. Read books

train brain with books

Regular reading develops imagination, improves vocabulary, concentration, memory, and thinking; it also significantly broadens a person's horizons. However, all excuses like "I don't have enough time", "I'm too busy to read" or "I don't know where to start" in no way justify us ignoring books. The habit of reading is formed in the same way as any other habit. Once you form the habit of reading, the results will not be long in coming.

3. Learn a foreign language

foreign language for the brain

It has long been proven that learning foreign languages improves brain function like nothing else. That is why in many highly developed countries, the elderly quite often attend foreign language courses. And most of them are not even driven by the desire to master a new language to communicate with foreigners. Scientists have found that learning a new language has a very positive effect on the brain and significantly reduces the risk of dementia. And precisely not to spend the last years of life in senile insanity, many people take care of themselves by trying to master new languages. Learning a foreign language is helpful at a young age as well. If we paraphrase the well-known quote by John Galsworthy, we can say “Languages have no age”. By the way, during a brain study, researchers have monitored the human brain at the time of simultaneous translation. It was found that when in the middle of their work, an interpreter activates not only one or several regions of the cerebral cortex but almost the entire brain. During the study, the activity of the interpreter's brain was displayed on the screen as an almost solid red spot, which indicated an enormous mental load. This fact suggests that learning a foreign language is incredibly useful for the brain.

4. Memorize poems

Surely you have heard about the benefits of memorizing poems, and that this is very helpful for improving memory. However, these days, very few people can quote at least prominent classics such as Walt Whitman, not to mention Emily Dickinson or Robert Frost. But you should know that when memorizing poetry, your brain gets synchronized with the poets' way of thinking, and as a result, your vocabulary improves. Incidentally, learning foreign languages also becomes much easier, as our memory becomes trained, like an athlete's muscles. Along with this, the overall ability to memorize information increases. “Poetry is all that is worth remembering in life”, said William Hazlitt, an English essayist and philosopher who lived in the 19th century. And, speaking of languages again: “Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful”, wrote a contemporary American poet Rita Dove.

It is not surprising that almost all great people love poetry and recite a lot of it by heart. Perhaps there is some mystery here why everyone having a penchant for creativity and all things aesthetic loves poetry. Keep in mind that you don't need to completely memorize long poems, say, by Henry Longfellow to develop your brain. It is enough to choose a small piece you like the most. Even if it is a small quatrain, the important thing is that its meaning and rhythm should be close and understandable to you. One way or another, by memorizing poetry, you will render a huge service to both your intellect and emotional intelligence.

5. Pythagorean method

Pythagoras was a prominent ancient Greek philosopher and mathematician, the creator of the Pythagorean school. Herodotus called him the greatest Hellenic sage. The life story of Pythagoras is hard to separate from the legends that represent him as a perfect sage and great scientist who knew all the secrets of the Greeks and barbarians. There are many legends about the methods of brain development used by Pythagoras. Of course, it is not possible to confirm their authenticity. However, this is not so important. If you want to develop a phenomenal memory and pump your brain, try for at least a week to perform an exercise known as the “Pythagorean method”. It is as follows: every morning or evening, replay the events of the day before in your mind, starting with waking up. Remember when you woke up, how you brushed your teeth, what thought came to you when you had breakfast, and how you went to work or school. It is important to scroll through the memories in full detail, trying to feel the same emotions and feelings that accompanied the day's events. Moreover, you should evaluate the things you have done that day by asking yourself the following questions:

  • What did I do today?
  • What did I want to do but didn't?
  • What things I did today were wrong?
  • What things I did today should I celebrate?

Having mastered the one-day technique, a sort of examination of awareness, begin to gradually dive into the past, remembering what happened yesterday, the day before yesterday, etc. If you have the character to do this every day, you are guaranteed success. Any computer will envy your memory. By training in this way, in a few months, you will learn to keep your attention constantly on. By the way, this technique is used in the training of intelligence officers. By training your memory for a long time, you will learn how to quickly recall events from different periods of your life in your memory and be able to memorize large blocks of information. Perhaps it is hard to believe, but in ancient times people remembered by heart a large number of tales and legends, and no one considered it a miracle. Speaking of memory, it is worth mentioning that there is simply no such thing as memory overload.

Therefore, do not worry that by memorizing poems or remembering the events of the day, you will load your memory with unnecessary information and will not be able to remember what you need. Some researchers claim that a person does not forget anything in principle. All we have ever seen and experienced is stored deep in our brains and can be extracted from there. In part, this is exactly what happens to people who have experienced clinical death but then were brought back to life. Many of them say that before their consciousness faded, their whole life to the smallest detail passed before their inner eye. Scientists explain this by the fact that in search of salvation, the brain seems to scroll through life, looking for similar situations that would suggest a way out of mortal danger. And since all this happens in a matter of seconds, we can draw one more important conclusion: in critical situations, the brain can speed up internal time, setting the biological clock to a frantic pace. You are probably wondering, “But why, if the human brain remembers everything, we cannot always extract from memory even what is extremely necessary”? This is still a mystery.

One way or another, the Pythagorean method, no doubt, will allow you to significantly improve your brain function, which will positively affect its development.

6. Exercises with numbers

Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, a Swiss pedagogue and one of the most prominent educational reformers of the 19th century, wrote: “Counting and calculation are the foundations of mental order”. Anyone who is even indirectly related to the exact sciences can confirm this. Mental calculation is an old and proven way to develop mental endurance. Plato, one of the greatest ancient Greek philosophers, a student of Socrates and a teacher of Aristotle, well understood the importance of developing computational abilities. He wrote: “Whoever is naturally strong in calculations will show natural sharpness in all other scientific pursuits, and those who do it worse can develop their arithmetic abilities through exercises and studies and thus become smarter and smarter”.

Here are some exercises that will require you to work your computational muscles intensively. These exercises can be done silently or out loud, quickly or slowly, while at home or walking down the street. They are also ideal for traveling on public transport.

So, here are some examples of similar exercises. Continue:

  • Ascending sequence in increments of 2: 2, 4, 6, 8, and so on;
  • Descending sequence in increments of 2: 100, 98, 96, and so on;
  • Ascending sequence in increments of 3: 3, 6, 9, and so on;
  • Descending sequence in increments of 3: 99, 96, 93, and so on;
  • Ascending sequence in increments of 4: 4, 8, 12, and so on;
  • Descending sequence in increments of 4: 100, 96, 92, and so on.

And if you want something even more challenging, try continuing double ascending and descending sequences:

  • Up in increments of 2 and 3: 2-3, 4-6, 6-9, and so on;
  • Down in increments of 2 and 3: 66-99, 64-96, 62-93, and so on;
  • Up in increments of 3 and 2: 3-2, 6-4, 9-6, and so on;
  • Down in increments of 3 and 2: 99-66, 96-64, 90-60 and so on.

7. Logical tasks and puzzles

Logical tasks and all kinds of puzzles are one of the best ways to pump up your brain. It is thanks to them that you can do regular mental gymnastics, plunging into a realistic plot of the problem. There is not much to add here. Just remember the rule: the more frequently you train your brain, the better it works. And logical tasks are arguably the best means for this. Luckily, you can get them anywhere: buy a book, find a site with logical tasks, or download an app with logical tasks to your phone.

8. Consciously turn off your brain

brain reboot

And last but not least, one great way to develop the brain is to turn it off. For complete control over your mind, you should learn to keep it active for a long time but also turn it off when needed, and do it consciously. You sure notice moments during the day when you freeze for a while, looking at one point, and do not think about anything. From the outside, it seems that you are immersed in deep thought, while actually your mind is in a state of complete rest. Thus, the brain puts itself in order, harmonizing overly stressed departments. And if you learn to consciously turn off your brain for at least five minutes a day, this will significantly improve its function. However, learning this seemingly simple technique is not so easy. Sit up straight and provide yourself with silence and complete peace. Then, by the effort of your will, try to relax internally and not think about anything. Over time, you will learn to quickly switch off to reboot your consciousness.