How Can I Sharpen My Mind?
There are many ways to sharpen the mind. But these can be consolidated into four – eliminate or reduce stress, keep your body in good shape, exercise your brain, and take specially-designed memory courses.
You should be interested in sharpening your mind to understand and recall what you read easily.
In this post, we’ll tell you about how to sharpen your mind for better comprehension and memory.
In a former article, we listed 30 tips to improve your memory. In this article, we consolidate these different tips into four and explain each of these in detail.
Let’s dive in!
1. Eliminate or reduce stress
Studies show that chronic stress can affect the brain.
Stress creates excess myelin, which disrupts the delicate balance and timing of communication within the brain. This means that if you’re stressed, your memory will be affected.
So, to sharpen your brain and improve memory, you need to eliminate or reduce stress consciously.
Let’s explore different strategies that’ll help you do this.
Meditation. Meditation is a quick and impactful way to reduce stress. Meditation helps the body relax by doing the opposite of what stress does.
When you’re stressed, your body undergoes different changes, including the release of cortisol and other stress hormones. Meditation helps reduce the levels of these stress hormones to calm the body.
Yoga. Breath-focused exercises like yoga can help reduce stress and anxiety. Yoga combines physical and mental disciplines. It uses physical poses, controlled breathing techniques, and meditation to help you attain peak physical and mental well-being.
Aromatherapy. Scent and memory are closely linked. The olfactory nerve travels from the nose to the brain. This sends signals to the brain to give you a sense of smell.
The nerve also sends signals to the limbic system, including the amygdala and the hippocampus, the regions that affect emotion and memory. Aromatherapy work to reduce stress, promote relaxation, and improve memory by conditioning the signaling to these parts of the brain related to memory.
Practical ways to use aromatherapy to reduce stress towards sharpening your brain include lighting scented candles and adding essential oils to bathwater.
2. Keep your body in good shape
Keeping your body in good shape by physically exercising is good for your physical and mental health.
Physical exercises are good stress-busters. Also, aerobic exercises increase BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) in various regions of the brain. BDNF is a protein that increases the growth of new brain cells to enhance memory function.
Make aerobic exercises part of your schedule to keep your body in good shape. Exercise at least 15 minutes daily, at least 6 days a week.
However, keeping your body in good shape takes more than physical exercise.
You should also take note of the following:
Have plenty of sleep. Good sleep can improve concentration and productivity. Sleep aids learning and memory in two ways. First, sleep-deprived people cannot focus optimally, so comprehension and recall of what is learned will be affected.
Secondly, sleep strengthens the neural connections that form our memory because memory consolidation happens during sleep. So without proper sleep, proper memory function will be affected.
You may want to cut your caffeine intake to improve both the quantity and quality of sleep. Caffeine can affect both how much sleep you get and the quality of your sleep.
Proper nutrition. Good nutrition helps fuel the body with what it needs to function properly. To sharpen your mind, eat memory-boosting food.
For example, omega 3 fatty acids help build and repair brain cells, while antioxidants reduce cellular inflammation that causes neurodegenerative disorders. Also, certain vitamins (like Vitamin B12 and Vitamin E) slow or prevent memory loss.
Oily fish like salmon, mackerel, and tuna are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, while dark chocolate and berries are good sources of antioxidants.
Whole grains, nuts, and seeds are rich sources of memory-boosting vitamins.
Take brain supplements. Taking in a brain-boosting diet is best. But not everyone can get recommended nutrients from food, so a nutrient boost is needed from time to time.
Brain supplements are packed with essential brain-boosting nutrients like Omega 3 fatty acids, B vitamins, and vitamin E. They reduce memory loss and improve memory function.
Stay hydrated. Hydration is related to energy levels. Your cells need good hydration to produce energy from food.
If the body cells are not adequately hydrated, energy production is reduced, resulting in fatigue and concentration problems.
So, to keep your body in good shape for your mind, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
3. Exercise your mind
Just as exercising the body keeps it in good shape, exercising the brain sharpens it.
There are different ways to exercise the mind.
Read books. Reading is one of the best brain exercises. There have been different studies on the effect of reading on the brain. They all conclude that reading gives the brain a good workout.
So, read more to exercise your brain towards having a sharper mind. However, when and how you read is also very important.
- Try reading before going to bed. It is the time when you’re resting, so you’ll be calmer. Also, it will be quieter, and the weather will be cooler. Generally, the conditions are better for reading than at other times.
- Read in a comfortable environment. For better comprehension and retention, you need minimal distractions when reading. So, it may be best to switch off the television before you read.
- Learn to take a break. When taking in information, the brain needs breaks to refresh. Taking breaks helps you remember information better.
Practice repetition. Make it a habit to repeat important information that you want to be retained in your memory.
Have you ever wondered how you may have not sat down to learn the lyrics of a song, but you know them and can sing along when the song is played?
The answer is “repetition” – you must have played the song repeatedly that the lyrics just stick.
So, if you repeat important information (bring it to your mind) over and over again, it’ll stick.
Engage in stimulating conversations. Take a break from the computer and TV, and give more time to real conversations with persons, especially those wiser than you.
Conversations require quick thinking, so engaging in real conversations helps you exercise your mind. You also get to learn new things.
Play interactive and challenging games. Playing challenging games gives your mind a 65% – 75% chance of remaining sharp.
So to exercise your mind, engage in games like chess and sudoku that challenge your intellectual capacity.
4. Take a memory course
One of the guaranteed ways to sharpen your mind is to take courses specially designed to sharpen the mind. Learning from an expert will help flatten the learning curve faster.
For example, the Maximizing Memory course and the Advanced Comprehension and Memory course are online courses that’ll help improve your memory. These courses are provided by Iris Reading – a leading provider of speed-reading and memory classes.
To understand how memory courses can help sharpen your mind, you only need to look at what you can learn from the course.
For example, some of the lessons in the Iris Reading Maximizing Memory course include:
- How to use the 80-20 rule to improve comprehension
- How to improve focus and limit distraction
- How to get through boring reading material
- How fast to read to optimize comprehension
- How to deal with technical terms
- How to deal with charts and diagrams
- How to effectively use the link system to improve memory
In short, a memory course will help you learn how to overcome things that hinder easy recall of what you learned. You’ll learn memory principles and how to use these to improve your memory.
Sharpening your mind will help you comprehend and recall what you read better. Interestingly, there are ways to sharpen the mind.
The first is to eliminate or reduce stress which you can do via meditation, breath-controlled exercises, and aromatherapy.
The second is to keep your body in good shape, which you can do via aerobic exercises, adequate sleep, proper nutrition, brain-boosting supplements, and staying hydrated.
The third is exercising the mind via reading books, practicing repetition, engaging in stimulating conversation, and playing challenging games.
The last and most important is learning from an expert.
When it comes to memory courses, Iris Reading is the most trusted provider of speed-reading and memory classes. Our programs have been hosted by universities like Harvard, Stanford, and Berkeley. Our workshops have been attended by thousands of students and executives at NASA, Google, and many Fortune 500 companies.
Register for our Maximize Memory course now to sharpen your brain and improve your memory.
And if you sometimes feel that there’s not enough time in the day to get things done, you need to register for our productivity course.