What is Mental Sharpness?
Mental sharpness also referred to as mental acuity simply means quickly how a person reacts to information. When a person can focus on a piece of information, understand it, recall it when required, and process it properly, they are said to have mental sharpness. That's not all. It also refers to a person's ability to accomplish different tasks at hand without having to struggle.
What Causes a Decline in Your Mental Sharpness?
Before we discuss brain sharpening exercises, you need to understand the decline in mental sharpness and what causes it in the first place. Your mental sharpness doesn't always remain the same. It gets affected by several factors such as:
- Age-related reduction in mental sharpness.
- Living within a fixed routine without the scope for creativity.
- Lack of decision-making opportunities.
- Health reasons such as cardiac issues, asthma, COPD, Alzheimer's disease, dementia, diabetes, thyroid, liver or kidney failure, etc.
- Excessive dependence on alcohol, smoking, or drugs.
- Malnutrition and deficiencies.
- Chronic stress, anxiety, or depression.
- Mental health issues such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, etc.
- Overuse of medicines.
- Infections such as urinary tract infection, HIV, meningitis, respiratory infection, sepsis, etc.
- Brain tumor.
- An injury to the head.
- Long-term exposure to extreme cold.
- Not doing any mind exercises to sharpen your brain.
What are the signs that your Brain is Processing Things Slowly?
Here are some signs and symptoms that warrant the need for brain exercises to improve memory:
- Frequently forgetting things.
- Having trouble focusing on a task and completing it.
- Having difficulties switching from one task to the other.
- Inability to follow directions.
- Losing your chain of thoughts suddenly.
- Feeling stressed, anxious, or depressed due to any of these things happening with you.
Which are some of the Best Exercises to Sharpen your Mind?
The kind of world that we all live in requires us to be super competitive, mentally agile, and responsive to be successful. Even if you have been facing any of the above-mentioned signs, you can boost your brain's health and make it sharper. This is done through mind exercises. Also known as brain gym exercises, these engage your brain and keep it active. Just like workouts for your body, mental exercises are focused workouts for your brain.
Brain gym exercises have specific goals such as:
- Enhancing your memory.
- Improving your creativity.
- Meet your goals and accomplish set tasks.
- Reducing stress, panic attacks, anxiety, and depression.
- Boosting your productivity, positivity, and self-confidence.
So, with so much information on mind exercises, where do you begin? We have rounded up some of the most effective mental exercises that will keep your brain healthy. These exercises can be done by anyone irrespective of their age:
- Puzzle your mind: What's a better way to sharpen your mental abilities than by challenging them? One of the best exercises for the brain is playing a jigsaw puzzle, which is considered to be a complete brain exercise. Putting together jigsaw puzzles needs a lot of concentration, short-term memory, and your ability to solve problems.
When practiced regularly, it improves your visual-spatial reasoning, intuitive thinking, and productivity. Completing a puzzle increases the production of dopamine in your brain that makes you happier and regulates your mood. Besides a jigsaw puzzle, you can also try other brain teaser games such as Sudoku or some card games.
- Skill yourself: One of the best mind exercises is to learn something that you have always wanted to do but never got around doing it. It could be something as simple as learning to paint or something more challenging such as learning to drive, a new language, or a new sport.
Exposing your brain to something new helps release myelin in your brain, which is directly related to your productivity. Not just this, experiencing something new also stimulates the level of neurons in your brain, which helps in preventing conditions such as dementia. This brain sharpening exercise helps you recharge your brain and feel more confident.
- Listen to music: One of the most effective mind exercises is also something beautifully enjoyable. Be it rock, indie, electronic, or just music for mindfulness, just spending some time with your favorite music does a lot for your brain. The vibrations from the music travel down your ears and get transformed into electrical signals that travel to your brain.
This is one of the best 5 brain exercises that functions as a complete brain workout. Listening to music has benefits that you would not have imagined. These include triggering hormones such as endorphins that make you feel happier, improving your memory, reducing stress & anxiety, and enhancing your focus & concentration.
- Meditate: One of the best exercises for the brain, yoga for the mind coupled with pranayama has tremendous benefits. It enhances your cognitive abilities, focus & concentration, and reactivity to emotional triggers. All of these affect the speed with which you respond to things, remember & analyze them, and process them. This is because breathing and attention have a neurophysiological link that affects the levels of noradrenaline, which is a brain chemical responsible for challenging your brain and improving its health.
- Exercise: Amongst the top 5 brain exercises, exercising your body goes a long way in improving and maintaining the health of your brain. Working out improves your blood circulation, especially that to your brain. Better circulation makes a great environment for brain cells to grow and stimulates new connections between these cells, especially in the brain areas responsible for learning and memory.
Exercising acts as an antidepressant that lowers the levels of your stress hormones. This helps clear up your mind, better your concentration & memory, and help you process things better and faster. Some of the best physical exercises that also serve as mind exercises are aerobic exercises such as brisk walking, jogging, swimming, or weight training. Besides these exercises, other brain exercises to improve memory include reducing your dependence on technology and thinking more, changing your daily routine, switching between your dominant and non-dominant hands, trying out new driving routes, and more such activities.