You did it. You completed your highest degree of education, be that high school graduation, a four-year degree or more. Now you’ve hung up your cap and gown, framed the diploma, and moved on to the next stage of your life. But does it ever feel like you’re losing all that knowledge you worked so hard to learn the older you get?
Your brain will start to decline with age- this is inevitable. However studies have shown that your brain will create new neurons throughout life as a direct response to mental activity. The brain’s plasticity directly correlates to whether or not you are feeding it new information and challenging it to its full capacity.
But how do we continue to challenge our brains after we exit the school system? And how do we make time in our busy and exhausting schedules to stay sharp? Well, there are some simple things you can incorporate into your daily life to keep your brain on its toes with little extra effort!
Listen to podcasts or audiobooks during your commute to and from the office, daily.
Did you know that there are apps that allow you to listen to your favorite podcasts or audiobooks from your phone? Apps such as Deezer, Spotify, Castro, Pocket Casts, Overcast, and Audible will allow you to stream podcasts directly from your devices.
If you’re slightly old-fashioned like me, the odds are that your local library will have a comprehensive “books-on-tape” collection, in the form of CDs of course. If your car is a little older, like mine, you’ll have no excuses for not popping a new disc in and seeing how many books you can “read” in one month’s worth of commutes. The number will surprise you, and your brain will thank you. (Oh, and it works wonders for road rage too!)
Of course, there are loads of brain-building sites online, but Lumosity
appears to be the most popular (either that or their marketing is a cut above the rest). They not only offer really fun and engaging games that test various parts of your brain, but they track your progress, which is motivating to develop a habit of visiting their site at least once a day.
Free Rice is also an awesome resource to sharpen your brain, because it tests things such as grammar, simple math, geography and other subjects via the “flash-card method”. I personally have retained quite a bit in the math department thanks to their website! But the best part of their site is that they will donate 10 grains of rice for every correct answer. If you spend just 10 minutes a day on their site, not only will you be helping your brain but other individuals out there in the world! Just 10 minutes a day could change everything for someone.
Recite phone numbers, memorize names, and study the news every day.
Since we are trying desperately to retain memory and knowledge, let’s challenge our brains to stop auto-dialing our best friend and manually type in the memorized numbers. No more, “I’m sorry, what did you say your name is again?” Take the time to lock-in people’s names when they introduce themselves to you. And stay current with what’s going on in the world. As sad and scary as the daily news can be, it’s essential to maintaining your smarts!
Keeping your brain active and replenishing brain cells is not as complicated or difficult as previously thought. By being more intentional every day with how you utilize your brain, you will inherently retain your current knowledge and strengthen weaker areas. And to be honest, you’re doing yourself a favor by trying to stay sharp!