10 Ways to Exercise and Improve Your Mind
When we reach a certain moment in our personal development, we realize that in order to understand ourselves and what is around us, it is essential to have control and knowledge over what happens in our minds. If we do not regulate what happens ‘up there’, we could say that our ship is rudderless, drifting at the mercy of whatever it may encounter.
Our mind is cluttered with things
When we begin to meditate, we become aware that many thoughts, beliefs, images, ideas, etc. coexist within our minds. All these things start at will in our minds without us being able to do anything. When you least expect it, something appears in your mind that has nothing to do with what you are living at that moment and sneaks in with complete freedom, making you lose concentration and, in the worst cases, staining the present moment with worry or anguish.
Fortunately, with meditation, we gradually correct this predominance of the autonomy of unwanted thoughts. In addition, outside of meditation, we can bring that awareness to situations where it is necessary.
Few people are routinely aware of the mental dysfunction that governs our lives. We have become accustomed to not being present in our mind and we do not realize what is happening there. Fortunately, in addition to meditation, numerous techniques and tools lead us to find a way to be able to control the material that enters our brain. All of them help us decide where we want to focus our attention by choosing, therefore, the thoughts that we allow affect us.
Given the need to put a little control in our mind, let us see some simple exercises, with which we will achieve great improvements in self-control if we practice them with some perseverance.
1. Practice meditation
Spend 15 to 20 minutes a day in inner silence or meditation. You do not need, in principle, any specific technique. It is only necessary that you be able to observe those thoughts that make an appearance in your mind.
Sit comfortably and after taking several deep breaths, get ready to wait for the next thought to come to your mind. Wait, it will not take long to come. When it arrives, become aware that it is there and observe it. For example, if a thought comes up about the meeting that you will have later at work; say, “Here it is! The meeting at work!” Watch, and let it go. Then prepare to wait for the next one. When it comes, watch it and let it go. At the same time, be aware of the spaces that exist between those thoughts.
In this way, you will become the witness of the game of your mind and you will have left the state of unconscious living.
2. Put all your attention on one thing
This exercise consists of fixing all our attention only on one of the thoughts that our mind contains. It is necessary to maintain attention for at least five minutes. It is normal that at the beginning, the concentration-time is very short but, if you remain constant, the time will increase progressively. We could say that exercising requires practicing, just like physical exercise, it requires regular exercise to obtain visible results.
3. Get away from the TV or Social media
Many of us watch TV for more than four hours and consume a lot of content on social media. These could be addictive and get in the way of your relationships, personal goals, and other important areas of your life. So, turn your TV off and put your phone on offline mode to get more free time to exercise your mind and body.
4. Exercise for physical fitness
It is said that a healthy mind lives in a healthy body. This is backed by the research that has repeatedly shown that people who take care of their bodies and work out often are less susceptible to cognitive decline associated with the aging process.
The studies have also shown that regular exercise can increase the formation of new cells in the brain in the hippocampus area. So, get out and go for a walk, start eating healthy and control unhealthy diet habits such as smoking, liquor, junk food, and even overeating.
5. Don’t think about anything
I only recommend this exercise when you have already achieved some skill with the first two. It is about blocking the entry of thoughts into the mind. At first, you will only be able to do it for a few moments but, as we have said before, little by little you will be able to stay longer, thus managing to be the owner and lord of your own head.
If you manage to combine the three previous exercises with the little tricks that I propose below, I assure you that, in addition to improving control over your mind, you will provide great help to your brain to wake up and activate certain areas that, until now, were asleep.
6. Practice mind games
If you regularly practice mind games such as Sudoku or crossword puzzles, you will be able to improve and start your activity and brain agility. Likewise, it will improve your ability to concentrate. You do not have to practice it for more than 15 or 20 minutes.
7. Change hands
Change the hand with which you perform certain activities. Brush your teeth with the opposite hand, or change the hand with which you carry the shopping bag. This will allow your brain to establish new connections.
8. Learn something new
The act of learning something new gets different areas of the brain going. Try to learn a language, read other types of books or learn to skate, anything will do. You will activate your memory and, again, your ability to concentrate will increase.
9. Memorize phone numbers
Currently, with the use of mobile phones, we no longer need to memorize almost anything. The phone does it for us while our brain takes advantage of it to atrophy. Try to memorize several phone numbers every day, your brain needs material to exercise memory.
10. Make lists of different things
You can make lists of very different things; for example, the places you visited, people you met while taking a course, the best moments of your life or what you like to eat the most. These lists help increase brain activity and make data associations.
If, in addition to practicing these little tricks, you pamper your brain by supplying it with the oxygen it needs, thanks to good breathing and the right nutrients through food, you will notice multiple benefits. It has been proven in various studies that fatty acids omega 3 and omega 6 are essential for the brain; include them in your diet and forget about saturated fats.
However, do not be in a hurry, do not obsess, and, calmly, try to include some of these exercises in your day today, and you will see how little by little your life begins to change completely. When you become the owner of your mind, you will be able to decide for yourself and nothing and no one will have the ability to influence how you feel or how you decide.
In addition, you can combine these exercises with meditation, and make your way to mindfulness. For this, you can connect with Personal Mastery for help, which will not only guide you in mindfulness but also in the goal of achieving a mental balance and an active life.
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