The Best Ways to Keep Your Mind Sharp

To keep your mind in peak working condition, you'll need to exercise your brain and follow some basic tips that increase your odds of maintaining a sharp mind for longer.


Keeping your mind sharp is one of the best ways to boost your creativity, stay on top of your career, and also on top of aging and memory problems.   

Our brains should be thought of as a muscle. Like any other muscle, we have to exercise it to keep our mind fit and active.

I'm sure you’ve suffered from those moments where you forget, say, where your glasses are and you’re wearing them. Or, you went into a room and forget why you had gone there. These are subtle cues you need to exercise your mind to keep it fit.

When you exercise your brain and keep your mind sharp, it can reduce embarrassing moments such as these.


Best Ways to Exercise the Brain and Keep Your Mind Sharp


To increase your odds of maintaining a healthy brain, do the following key things that'll keep your brain in peak working condition:


1. Learn new things


You’re never too old to start learning new things. When you are learning new skills, your brain is kept engaged as it is being challenged. This helps to create new neural pathways and improves your cognitive function.

Learning something new doesn’t mean you have to go back to school. It can be anything from learning a new language, starting a new hobby or playing new and mentally challenging games like chess wherever suitable.

Reading and writing is also a great way to keep your mental cogs turning.


2. Don’t cram


Cramming information and stories you want to remember isn’t the best way to learn and keep your mind sharp. Instead of cramming things, create time to really study and understand those things. Spread out this learning time throughout the day.

Set aside at least an hour each day to give your brain a chance to process new information. This way you’ll retain more information and it won’t get pushed out of your mind as soon as you get it. Spacing out learning improves your recall and mental sharpness much more than trying to cram.


3. Read, repeat, and write


“When you’re trying to remember something, a great method is to read it, repeat it out loud and then write it down,” advises Joseph Kolar, editor at content writing and marketing websites Draftbeyond and Writinity. “You can repeat this process as many times as you need to,” he says. “It will help to build the connections in your brain for that particular thing you’re trying to learn, and also support your memory on a whole.

So, don’t worry if you need to ask for something to be repeated, or if you need to repeat it yourself a few times before you get it. It’s normal and the whole time you are repeating things, you are building those pathways to make your mind fit and sharp.


4. Take notes


Even if you’re not trying to remember something, writing down notes is a good way to keep your brain in gear. Take notes to see things more clearly and get those creative juices flowing. Notes support your memory, too.

If you are trying to remember something, writing it down as briefly as possible will help to strengthen that pathway in your brain. Mnemonic methods such as creating acronyms and rhymes are always a fantastic way to get the brain going.

Use pen and paper instead of laptops to take notes as it boosts memory and the ability to retain and understand concepts, per a study in the journal Psychological Science. Note taking will help you remember any difficult topics and brilliant ideas you encounter.  


5. Flex your senses


The more senses you use in your work and learning, the more of your brain will be involved in the process. This makes it easier to recall and come up with novel ideas.

Think of when you’re reading a book; many authors try to squeeze in as many of the human senses as possible to help build a better picture in readers’ mind and make the story memorable.  

“It’s the same in real life when recalling a memory,” says blogger Phyllis Romaine, “if you’ve got more senses to work from the picture you build will be clearer.”

Romaine, author at Last Minute Writing, adds, “Challenge your senses; use the ones you might not think you actively use that often and you'll create powerful memories.”


6. Eat healthy brain foods


Eating a healthy, balanced diet is vital for the good health of your body and mind. Eating brain healthy food starts with avoiding alcohol and foods high in fat that can cause fatigue, making your brain feel far less sharp. Other dumb and dumber foods like commercial muffins, citrus & diet sodas, and donuts are also bad for your brain, according to EatThis.   

Instead, eat fatty fish like salmon, trout and sardines, nuts and seeds like walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds, whole grains like oatmeal and brown rice, freshly brewed tea, dark chocolate, pomegranate juice, avocados, blueberries, and other brain-boosting “superfoods.” These are all essential for brain function and bolstering brainpower, says experts at WebMed.  

Don’t forget to exercise often and get enough sleep each night (7 to 9 hours of shuteye every night). This will help to revitalize your mind and body, keeping them fit and healthy. Also, take power naps during the day and you will be a healthier and happier person.

Anne Mary Nelson is an editor and content writer with more than 12 years’ experience in the book publishing industry. Her clients include major book publishers, authors, illustrators, theatre directors, and personal historians.