10 Ways to E-Boost Your Brainposted by Mark on November 19th, 2008
In this era of modern technological advances, it’s easy to put your brain on pause and let computers, PDAs or televisions do the thinking for you, but there are ways to let technology work for your brain, to keep it fresh and build it stronger. You may never become the bionic man, but with recent research showing that the brain continues to grow late in life, it’s never too late for an e-boost.
- Surf the Web: A recent study hinted at the possibility that using an online search engine for an hour a day can boost your overall brain activity. (Keep it in moderation, though, lest you develop Attention Deficit Disorder or severe social ineptitude.)
- Use a Wii: If the evidence that exercise increases brain growth doesn’t get you up and moving, consider the fact that obese people have an elevated risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Abdominal fat in particular secretes inflammatory chemicals that affect the brain, so get a Wii Fit and start doing some crunches!
- Listen to iTunes: There is evidence that certain music can increase your learning and retention ability, as well as your concentration and alertness. The bad news: that music is in High School Musical 3.
- Play Games: Recent studies have shown that puzzles and word games can improve your ability to focus, and there are dozens of free crossword and suduko websites online, in addition to newspaper sites that regularly feature such puzzles. Even video games can increase cognitive abilities, even if you don’t play ones targeted at your brain, like Big Brain Academy, Mega Brain Boost or Brain Age.
- Watch TV Shows: What?!? There is a God! Yes, there is evidence that contradicts popular belief that TV turns viewers into drooling zombies, and one study found that kids who watched more TV early in life did slightly better on standardized tests. Of course, it largely depends on what is being watched, so don’t expect those hours of Knight Rider reruns to turn you into a genius. The good news is that nowadays, you don’t even have to have a TV to watch TV, as networks put more and more content on their websites and on general sites like the Internet Movie Database.
- Read an E-Book: This is a no-brainer (pun intended), but reading is good for your brain. Reading not only helps you learn and boosts your vocabulary, but it also trains your brain to become more focused, increasing your memory and ability to reason. You can download free books at sites like Project Gutenberg, the Internet Archive and Google, or you can use e-book readers like Amazon.com’s Kindle if you’re on the go. (I hear Oprah loves it.)
- Be Optimistic: According to recent studies, the power of positive thought could be the real deal, with optimistic people suffering fewer strokes and recovering more quickly than pessimists. Browse the myriad of motivational, inspirational and self-improvement sites on the Web and find one that strikes a chord with you.
- Laugh: Laughing stimulates the brain and other organs (insert joke here), so do it more by frequenting sites like The Onion, Funny or Die or C-SPAN (Funny is in the eye of the beholder.).
- Take a Quiz: It’s a fact: nerds live longer. Have you ever seen a burly, athletic 90-year-old? Tap into your inner nerd by acing online trivia quizzes on sites like triviaplaza.com and funtrivia.com, then laugh at all the jocks who will die young.
- Stimulate Yourself: It all comes down to stimulation. Practically anything that stimulates the brain is a good thing, and Lord knows there’s plenty of stimulation on the Internet. One of the keys is to avoid a stagnant routine. Learn a new language, visit new sites, pick up new hobbies, study new topics. Just don’t limit yourself to your usual bookmarked sites (Sorry, Stuff On My Cat.).