10 Neuroplasticity Exercises to Transform your Brain
Everyday life should include practices and exercises that foster neuroplasticity. Your active mind and healthy habits will help you develop new connections.
This transformation in the brain is due to a phenomenon called neuroplasticity, which is the brain’s inherent capacity for self-reorganization and change. Brain plasticity allows for the development of new connections between neurons and the modification of existing ones as a result of learning and experience.
Several studies in the last several years have suggested that, with some effort, you can guide neuroplasticity in ways that improve your brain’s function, your performance at work, and even the results your team achieves.
The idea of neuroplasticity may sound complicated at first, but once you break it down, you’ll see how easy it really is.
What is Neuroplasticity?
Brain plasticity, or neuroplasticity, refers to the brain’s inherent capacity for learning and change or keeping one’s brain in good cognitive shape.
When it comes to neuroplasticity, the majority of brain development occurs before age 25. However, there are a variety of neuroplasticity activities that can be performed by people aged 25–65 to maintain cognitive flexibility.
Keeping the neuroplasticity of your brain in good shape will help you keep your mind sharp as you get older and protect you from neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Incorporating a variety of practices into daily life can have a significant impact on the extent to which your brain is able to change and adapt. The brain, in general, responds well to novel stimuli, so if you’re looking for neuroplasticity exercises, trying something new is likely to be effective.
Here are some of the best ways to improve neuroplasticity, but remember that creativity is the most important thing.
1. Nourish your brain with healthy food.
The brain may account for a small fraction of your total weight, but it consumes a quarter of all the food you eat. In order to have stronger neural connections, you need to eat better. Eat something like walnuts, blueberries, and avocados as midday snacks. Also, you need to eat more vitamin D and magnesium if you want to boost neuroplasticity.
2. Try something new every day.
Strive to push yourself a little bit outside of your comfort zone every day. Learn something new every day. When a person does new and more difficult things, their brain is stimulated, and they can safely explore the unknown.
3. Take naps.
Sleeping for seven to nine hours per night will always train your brain for success the next day. However, if you can squeeze in a 20-minute nap in the afternoon, you’ll increase your neuroplasticity even more. Dendritic spines, which play an important role in connecting neurons, can grow more rapidly after a short nap.
4. Expand your vocabulary.
Make it a goal to study a new term each day. Scientists agree that this one action will activate a plethora of new auditory and visual pathways in the brain. (After using it for a while, you’ll become an unbeatable Scrabble player, too.)
5. Try using the “wrong” hand.
Using your non-dominant hand for activities will help you strengthen and develop new neural pathways in your brain. If you normally use your right hand, try to brush your teeth using your left, and if that’s too easy, add balancing on one leg for extra neuroplasticity.
6. Learn to juggle.
Some studies have found that engaging in activities like juggling can increase your brain’s capacity to learn and adapt. If you have a few minutes between tasks, keep a tiny set of balls in a drawer at work to give your mind a workout. You’ll reap greater rewards the more proficient you become.
7. Travel to other places.
Getting out of your comfort zone and seeing the world may do wonders for your brain, inspiring you and giving you a creative boost.
Aside from the obvious benefits for your brain, traveling to new places can also help you learn about other cultures and improve your communication skills.
Traveling to other parts of the world can also help you develop a more global perspective, which can inform how you think about and approach issues at home, such as your professional aspirations, friendships, and personal beliefs.
8. Learn a new language.
Have you ever considered learning a new language? You may have decided to learn a new (or third) language because you believe it would help your job or because you wish to learn a new language for personal reasons.
Either way, you’d be doing your mind a solid. Several studies have shown that learning a new language can boost brain power.
9. Practice meditation and mindfulness.
Though it may seem counterintuitive, studies have shown that even a few minutes a day of meditation can increase neuroplasticity. Meditating is a practice, not a short-term fix, just the same as learning a new language or developing new talent.
You can never truly perfect the practices of mindfulness and meditation. Instead, think of these activities as fertilizer for the mental garden you’ve created for yourself.
10. Spend time with family and friends.
Studies have shown that social interaction is beneficial to cognitive health. When we are lonely or isolated, we are more likely to get mental health problems like depression and dementia.
The Bottom Line
Increasing neuroplasticity through exercises may improve psychological well-being (by mitigating effects of stress and depression, for example) and extend one’s life expectancy (preventing cognitive decline). According to the results of this study, those suffering from depression have a reduced capacity for neuroplasticity. So, it seems logical that doing things that promote neuroplasticity will help in the healing process.
If you’re willing to put in the time and effort, you may be able to rewire your brain in a way that alleviates some symptoms of mental disorders and provides protection against cognitive decline.
There’s bound to be something that can excite your neural connections in a pleasurable way, whether you’re an aspiring linguist or just like the concept of playing an instrument. If you want to boost your neuroplasticity, you need to try new things without worrying about failing. If you don’t like it, don’t stick with it; explore!