The secret ways YOU can get smarter: From showering with your eyes closed to brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand, FEMAIL reveals genius and easy ways to increase ...

The secret ways YOU can get smarter: From showering with your eyes closed to brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand, FEMAIL reveals genius and easy ways to increase ...

The brain is the most important part of the human body - and yet many people do little to exercise the organ on a day-to-day basis, despite dedicating hours of time to to working their bodies. 

And while the consequences of this inactivity might not be immediately apparent, keeping your brain fit and healthy, just like you would your muscles, is incredibly important - and can help to protect your mental health for many years to come.  

By exercising your brain and challenging it with new experiences that involve all five senses - touch, vision, smell, taste, and hearing - you are producing essential nutrients for the brain that increase memory and make you stronger and smarter.

Trying out simple but different tasks each day, which is known to scientists as, 'neurobic' exercises, as well as trying different emotional exercises, can benefit your brain in various ways and these exercises will make you smarter.

FEMAIL has put together a range of simple, yet effective, brain exercises that take just minutes to do - but will have a positive impact on your brain for years to come.

Brush teeth with non-dominant hand

Opposite: Brush your teeth and open the toothpaste tube with your non-dominant hand to trigger the opposite side of your brain 

According to research, using the opposite side of the brain has many benefits and since our brains and hands are connected, we have the power to control and stimulate our brains by using our hands.

This process is called brain plasticity, which is a neuroscientist term that refers to the brain's ability to change at any age. 

So, by training yourself to use the opposite side of the brain, you develop the 'ability to shift rapidly between divergent and convergent thinking, which is the key to innovation', according to Fast Company.

So, try a simple brain exercise such as brushing teeth with your non-dominant hand, as well as opening the toothpaste tube and applying it to the brush, with the same hand.

Take a shower with eyes closed

Shower: When showering, keep your eyes closed the entire time, using just your sense of touch to turn the faucets off and on as well as washing your hair and body

By using the sense of touch, or the tactile sense, you are sending different messages to your brain then you would if you were using your visual sense. 

While usually taking a shower with your eyes open to see the knobs to turn on the water as well as checking to see what's shampoo and what's conditioner, switch it up. 

So, to practice this exercise, when taking a shower, completely utilize the tactile sense by turning on the faucets and washing your hair and body, all while keeping your eyes closed.

Shutting your eyes and allowing your other senses to take control will train your brain to help in different situations when sight is not possible.

Switch up your morning routine

According to brain imagine studies, simple tasks stimulate the cortex which increases brain activity levels.

Something as simple as getting out of bed for work at the same time every day and then making coffee every morning, can stimulate brain activity.

However, once a task becomes a routine, the brain activity will decline and become stagnant. So, to increase activity, switch up your morning routine to prevent laziness. Try watching some TV while making your coffee or taking the dog out for a walk before work.

Flip ordinary objects upside down

When looking at a familiar object such as a poster on your wall or the coffee machine in your house, whatever it may be, the left 'verbal' brain is used to recognize it, assess it, and then take your attention away.

However, when something is upside down, the right side of your brain is triggered because it recognizes that something is out of place and it tries to identify the object by shape, size, color, etc.

So, to exercise your brain, starting flipping ordinary objects upside down. Any picture frames in the house, flip them, any décor on the wall, flip it, and your brain will be trained to assess it.

Switch seats at the table

Everyone knows the feeling of having your own seat at the table. Whether it's a family home and each member has their 'own seat' or you live alone or with a partner, there's that one seat you always seem to sit in.

Sitting in the same seat over and over is actually not good for your brain because it is not benefiting from new experiences.

So, next time you're going to sit at the table, switch up the seating arrangements and also switch the way you reach for things and how you place your silverware.

Teach your nose new scents

There are certain smells that correlate with different activites. For example, the smell of coffee means it's time to wake up and start your day.

Also, certain perfumes or colognes remind you of certain people and certain smells can immediately take you back to a certain time or place.

These were all automatically learned, however, you can teach your brain to use its neural pathways to recognize new odors.

So, if you want to teach your mind to go to bed at a certain time each night, pick a sleepy scenty such as lavender, and keep a bottle of oil next to your bed for about a week, sniffing the smell before bed. It will train your mind that when you smell that scent it's time to sleep.

Get outside for fresh air

Everyone has their own memories and that's because the hippocampus, the part of the brain that processes memories, uses all of the five senses to create a mental map of all the places you've been.

So, next time you are going somewhere new or you're taking a drive somewhere, roll the window down and breath in the air. Your sense of smell and sound will pick up on the atmosphere around you.

These senses will collect information and send it to your brain to process so it has additional material to work with.

Play with spare change

Our brains are trained to look at certain objects and identify it just by looking at it.

Something as simple as spare change can be identified as soon as you lay eyes on it, but your mind might not be able to identify the objects by touch.

Next time you're sitting around or in the car, put spare change in your cup holder, including different coins, and just touch them to train your brain to identify what's what by just the touch of your hands.

Switch up supermarket aisles

When going to the supermarket, usually you have it in your head what you need to buy and you head to the aisles to gather the familiar ingredients.

However, rarely do we go down an aisle and look at all of the surrounding products that we probably never even heard of.

So, next time you're in the spices aisle, and you reach for the oregano, look at the shelf from top to bottom and find something you don't recognize. Pick it up and read the label. Learning something new will only be beneficial.

Become an artist

Art stimulates the brain in many different ways and it especially triggers the 'nonverbal and emotional parts of the cerebral cortex,' according to Reader's Digest.

By doing a little bit of art every day, you're kicking your brain into action and challenging it to try different things.

Some art projects to try on your spare time can be as simple as coloring books, crossword puzzles, or just doodling on paper.

Make social connections

Half the time we rarely make social connections due to the mundane work week. Being at the office and sitting at your desk all day can take a toll on you and has negative effects on the cognitive ability of your brain.

After hours of sitting at your desk not talking to anyone, the day can feel like it has been going on for hours, which is why it's important to socialize more often, even if it's as simple as communicating with a cashier.

Next time you get up from your desk, ask the people around you if they need anything. Or, head to the store and ask an employee for help looking for something.

 

Source : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-5246943/Weird-brain-exercises-actually-help-SMARTER.html

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