You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
True or false?
If you’re talking about my stubborn maltipoo, then I’ll go ahead and say true. When it comes to people, though, I think it’s all about your mentality: fixed mindset vs growth mindset. It’s never too late to make positive changes, never too late to learn new things, and never too late to start another New Year’s resolution – even a week and a half later.
These exercises are simple and take little time out of your day, so you won’t have to sweat any overwhelming feelings. With purposeful focus, you’ll keep your mind stimulated and functioning like a young spirited and sharp dog. I mean, human…
1. Word of the Day
The Oxford English Dictionary contains entries for 171,476 words in current use. Research shows that native English-speaking Americans know an average of at least 42,000 words by age 20. I like to pause reading to search for the definition of a word I come across and don’t know. But if I don’t actively use that word, I’ll quickly forget the meaning. Conscious and apt use of a new word per day will widen your vocabulary and it’s such an easy thing to tack on to your day. Merriam-Webster dictionary shares a different word on their website every day and you can even download an app to your phone!
2. Daily Reading
Reading is the all-purpose mind medicine. Reading sharpens memory, improves the ability to empathize, relieves stress, and increases attention span. Studies show that reading even enhances brain connectivity which improves brain function. So read more books, poems, blogs, articles, whatever you can get your hands on. Good thing you’ve got this blog to read!
3. Drawing from Memory
I always joke about how poor my memory is. I’m currently binging Criminal Minds and, compared to the eidetic memory of Doctor Spencer Reid, I have the memory of a potato. Drawing something from memory challenges your mind to remember the details that you’d normally overlook. Try out some of these drawing exercises of varying challenge levels to improve your memory.
According to researcher Catherine Kerr, those who meditate are “able to adjust the brain wave that screens out distractions and increase their productivity” (Belle Cooper). This could explain “their superior ability to rapidly remember and incorporate new facts.” Daily meditation can help improve focus, decrease stress, increase creativity, sharpen memory, and, in turn, strengthen your mind.
5. Puzzle Nights
They don’t call them brain teasers for nothing! The great thing about this exercise is that you can puzzle solo daily or you can puzzle in groups. Challenge your mind and get your family or friends involved in weekly puzzle nights, playing mind-stimulating board or card games. And since escape rooms are full of puzzles and mind-improving benefits, you can come to visit us every once in a while for an even greater challenge!
Make it a point to keep your mind sharp and growing towards further improvement this year. Even if you already have a resolution and you’re working hard to keep it, it won’t be too taxing to add another. Challenge yourself to keep moving forward because there’s always room to grow!