How to Stimulate Your Brain

Puzzles stimulate brain activity.
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Your brain needs interaction to learn and grow. According to The Franklin Institute, stimulation not only boosts your brain function but also helps prevent cognitive decline. Although disease can impair brain activity, getting older doesn't, as long as you keep challenging yourself.

Switch it up

Change your routine. Take a different route to work, try a new recipe for dinner, or get involved in a challenging activity like ballroom dancing. New activities keep your brain cells guessing. Studies have shown that stimulated brain cells generate new cells.

Figure it Out

Do crossword puzzles, sudoku or word problems. Don't get discouraged if you get stuck on a problem. Brain scans have shown that when you get stuck on a problem, it helps your brain grow because it has to try harder.

Discuss, Debate, Decide

Get engaged in a conversation or debate, do more in-depth searching online or try anything that requires you to learn about a topic and make an informed decision.

Get Active

Not only does exercise release endorphins — which make you feel good — but it also helps to keep your synapses stable. John Ratey, Ph.D., a clinical associate professor of psychiatry, told MSNBC: "Exercise in many ways optimizes your brain to learn." Both cardio and light weightlifting are great choices.

Learn a New Skill

Take classes or teach yourself by picking up a new language or musical instrument. These can be particularly good challenges as you get older.

Travel the World

Travel to unknown places. You're more relaxed at home, and traveling pushes you to be more aware. You also encounter new people and foods, and learn about interesting cultures and their history. Traveling also kicks in your survival skills.

Expand Your Knowledge

Attend a class or lecture on a subject you're are interested in. Sign up for school and finish a degree. It will give you a sense of accomplishment and stimulate your brain at the same time.

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