Updated: 1 February 2022
Having a sharp brain makes it easier to do…well, anything! Brainpower is what helps us to focus on work, make smarter decisions, and reach our goals. However, sometimes it can be more difficult to think clearly or complete your tasks. This could be due to stress, fatigue, or daily anxieties that prevent your gray matter from performing optimally.
But the good news is that you can boost your brainpower by making simple lifestyle changes. From adding more brainpower foods to your diet to turning on the right music and getting your nose stuck into some mind-empowering books – there are tons of brainpower boosters you can easily get your hands on to keep your thinker thinking!
Wondering how to increase brainpower? Here are some things to do daily to boost it!
Try Some Activities That Boost Brainpower
Keep Calm And Meditate
Meditating triggers positive changes in your brain and improves its resilience under stress, boosts memory, and even raises your IQ. Meditation has been shown to activate and engage both hemispheres in the brain, which leads to greater processing power. Simultaneously, it stimulates the areas in the brain linked to creativity and learning. There are even more science-backed facts to encourage you to take up this ancient practice.
To reap the brain booster benefits, set aside dedicated time to meditate for at least 10 minutes every day. You can do it at home, during your lunch break, or whenever you have a spare moment.
Unpuzzle Your Brain With A Puzzle
Whether it’s a 1,000-piece jigsaw of the Eiffel Tower or just 100 pieces of Mickey Mouse, having some fun with a puzzle is an excellent way to strengthen your brain! Research has shown that doing puzzles recruits multiple cognitive abilities and is even a protective factor against visuospatial cognitive aging. In other words, when you’re putting a puzzle together, you have to look at different pieces and figure out where they fit within the bigger picture. So get out a puzzle and get mentally sharper piece by piece.
Build Your Vocabulary
Enriching your vocabulary has a way of making you sound smarter, but did you know it can also stimulate your brain? A neuroimaging study found that more regions of the brain are involved in vocabulary-related tasks, particularly in parts that are important for visual and auditory processing. To test this theory out on your own gray matter, try this brain-boosting activity:
- Keep a notebook with you when you’re reading. (More on brain booster books later).
- Write down one (or more) unfamiliar words and then look up the definition.
- Try to use that word at least five times the next day.
- Enjoy your improved vocab and notice how your brain improves too!
Learn Something New
Not only is learning a new skill fun and interesting, but it may also help strengthen the connections in your brain. There must be something you’ve always wanted to learn how to do! Maybe it’s how to repair your car, or use new software, or maybe even how to juggle! Well, findings show that learning a new skill can help improve memory function in older adults. So now you have another good reason to finally learn that new skill!
Put On Your Dancing Shoes
Did you know that dancing your heart out is a great brain booster? Yes! The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), says that learning new dance moves can increase your brain’s processing speed and memory. In other words, busting out those killer moves the next time you’re on the dance floor (or in the living room) your brain will thank you for it!
Why not give one of these dance activities a try?
- Join a dance class – take up salsa, tap, hip-hop, or even contemporary dance lessons!
- Try a dance exercise class – Zumba anyone?
- Watch an online video with fun dance moves you’ve always wanted to learn. Time to download TikTok!
- Take a partner and learn how to ballroom dance!
- Gather your friends and hit the club! (If they’re open of course!)
And if you’re not really feeling your inner Dancing Queen or King – don’t worry. You can just crank up the volume and listen to some music. More on that in a bit!
Get Your Body Moving
Going hand in hand with the dancing, it’s obvious that exercise benefits both your mind and body. Not only does it promote the growth and development of nervous tissue, which improves brain function, but it also relieves stress and anxiety. Studies show that exercising keeps your brain sharp and boosts your productivity, as well as reduces your risk of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and cognitive decline. A Harvard study showed that moderate-intensity exercise can help improve your thinking and memory in just six months!
Learn A New Language
There are overwhelming cognitive benefits of being able to speak more than one language. And numerous studies have shown that being bilingual can contribute to better memory, higher levels of creativity, and improved-visual spatial skills! Being fluent in more than one language may also help you switch more easily between different tasks and delay the onset of age-related mental decline. And it’s never too late to reap the rewards of learning a new language. So, download an app and parlez-vous-le-Francais!
Crank Up Some Tunes Or Make Your Own
So, if you’re not in the mood for dancing, you can still reap the brain-boosting benefits . . . Of music, that is! If you’re anything like me, you’re always listening to music – but what if you knew that it would increase your creative brainpower! Well, the answer may indeed lie in music.
According to a study, listening to happy tunes helps generate more creative solutions compared to just sitting in silence. That means that turning on some feel-good music can help boost your creative thinking and brainpower. And if you’ve always wanted to learn how to play music, you’re killing two brain booster birds with one stone: by learning a new skill and listening to music! Wondering what music increases brainpower? Onward, dear reader.
Bookworms listen up! There are a number of books that can help boost your brainpower too. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Train Your Brain: 60 Days to a Better Brain by Ryuta Kawashima. In this book, Japanese scientist, and neuroscience specialist Ryuta shares his 60-day program of simple logic challenges that simulate “gray cells.”
- Unlimited Memory: How to Use Advanced Learning Strategies to Learn Faster, Remember More, and Be More Productive by Kevin Horsley. In this book, you’ll receive strategies and techniques for improving your memory by learning how to concentrate at will, remember useful information, and eliminate wasted time.
- Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. Nobel prize-winning economist, Kahneman explains the mind and its two systems that drive the way we think. Learn how to tap into the benefits of slow thinking and find out when you can and cannot trust your intuition.
- Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell. Discover that great decision making isn’t about time spent deliberating – it’s about knowing which filters matter.
- Tactical Thinking: 50 Brain-Training Puzzles to Change the Way You Think by Charles Phillips. A book filled with work puzzles created to develop and train your intellect. From warm-up exercises to advanced simulators, your brain will get a real workout from this book.
Get out your Spotify, Apple Music, or Youtube app because we found some music that increases brainpower.
- Brainwave Entrainment: Trust us, it’s better than it sounds – the name that is! Brainwave entrainment is the scientific term for syncing your brain activity to the rhythm of sound. And there are two kinds:
- Binaural beats work by honing your brain’s natural ability to fill in sensory gaps by emitting sounds of two different frequencies into each ear – via headphones. This causes the brain to detect the variance between each frequency and create its own.
- Isochronic tones present a single frequency being turned on and off at a rapid rate and doesn’t require headphones. Research shows the brain functions best during the silence between sounds, which is why drumming can be so entrancing.
- Meditation Music: We already know meditation decreases stress levels and boosts brainpower. So why not search for some meditation music in your favorite music app and try it out.
- Classical Music: Research done in French universities shows that listening to classical music while studying can increase your test scores. So why not see if throwing a little Tchaikovsky into your playlist will help your brain to function more efficiently.
- Nature & Rain Sounds: Do you like the pitter-patter of rain? Or perhaps the melodic sound of a songbird in the distance while a stream gently flows nearby. Nature relaxes us, and a study conducted on participants who completed a challenging math problem followed by 10 minutes of nature sounds, experienced greater sympathetic nervous system relaxation than those who didn’t.
- Music That You Love: Regardless of the science behind these kinds of music, listening to music that makes you feel good is always the best way to engage your brain. So turn on some Guns ‘n Roses or Fleetwood Mac, and enjoy the feel-good vibes anyway.
Did you know you can eat to boost your brainpower too? Yes, what you eat affects your brain health. Certain foods, especially those rich in omega-3 essential fats, protein, and antioxidants, can both boost brainpower and sharpen memory!
Some foods that boost brainpower include:
- Fatty fish: Including salmon, trout, albacore tuna, herring, and sardines; all of which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
- Coffee: Caffeine helps increase alertness, improves your mood, and sharpens concentration.
- Turmeric: The active ingredient in turmeric (curcumin) has been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier, meaning it directly enters the brain and helps the cells there.
- Dark chocolate: Packed with a few brain-boosting compounds, including flavonoids, caffeine, and antioxidants, enhance memory and also help slow down age-related mental decline.
- Nuts: Research shows that eating nuts can improve heart health which is linked to having a healthy brain. As well as lowering the risk of cognitive decline in older adults.
And while you’re at it, why not add these probiotic-rich foods to your diet to benefit your gut.
Is a Supplement Necessary?
Is a brain supplement necessary and do they even work to boost your brainpower?
Well, a 2019 report by the Global Council on Brain Health projected that by 2023, people will spend more than $5 billion a year globally on brain health supplements. So, they’re getting increasingly popular!
While many of the ingredients in brain health supplements have been linked to brain health, much of the research comes from research on food and diet, not supplements. So it might be best to just eat your way to brain health instead.
When to See a Doctor
While focusing on your brain health is one of the best things you can do to boost your brainpower, you might decide to incorporate these activities to challenge your mind and sharpen your cognitive skills. But if you think your gray matter isn’t up to speed, you should have a chat with a doctor to see if you need to take further steps to improve your brainpower. Download the Air Doctor app on your Apple or Android device to find a doctor near you.