Stretch your mental muscles

April 1, 2010

January 1 seems such a long time ago – remember that was the day you promised yourself you’d start working on a number of things? The annual resolutions to eat healthier, exercise more, drink less …

Most people I know are gung-ho the first month with the excitement and motivation fizzling a little by the end of February.

Come March, the New Year smell starts fading and life starts coming in the way of keeping those resolutions. The really resolute ones power on.

A simple Google search shows the following five recurring resolutions topping the lists:

  • Lose weight
  • Quit smoking
  • Spend more time with family and friends
  • Drink less alcohol
  • Travel

While many people vow to get in shape physically, not many commit to exercising their mental muscles. brain detox2 Stretch your mental muscles

What does exercising your mental muscles even mean?

It means expanding your horizons, opening new doors, looking at different possibilities, stretching your mind…It will help you grow as a person. Give you a new outlook on life. And set you on a path to feeling a little more fulfilled. For isn’t that the ultimate goal of any resolution? A sense of accomplishment. Pride. Satisfaction.

There are three simple things you can do to ensure a robust, active, open mind:

  1. Read something new – If you’ve always been a fiction lover, pick up a non-fiction book today. Give it a try. And don’t just read … digest it.confidencequote2 Stretch your mental muscles Think about it. Look up what you don’t understand. We process different writing styles differently – the premise of fiction is it’s not real; and when it isn’t real it doesn’t really matter that much, does it? It’s entertaining. Non-fiction tends to be more thought-provoking. If, on the other hand, you enjoy the grit and the drama of real life, lap up all the news you can, and read every journal, take the weekend off to indulge in some fantasies. Let your mind embark on a new voyage. Get out of your comfort zone – let those neurons snap new connections.

  2. Change sides – Believe in something staunchly? Ready to debate it to death? Try reversing roles – take the opposite side. I’ve found that the best way to really understand an issue is to be objective and put myself in the adversary’s shoes. Research the subject, gather the information, arm yourself with the various viewpoints, and then figure it out. You might still continue to believe what you originally did, maybe even more strongly, but it’s after you’ve analyzed all aspects of the issue. Go ahead try it – it’ll feel like you’re feasting on an intellectual buffet.

  3. Observe people – there are so many things you can learn about your own behavior simply by observing – notobserve2 Stretch your mental muscles judging – other people. Eye movements, body language, frowns, smiles, laughter, posture. Notice how they converse, the inflections in their voice, the tone, the pitch. See if they’re really paying attention or feigning it. Put yourself under the microscope. Hold a mirror. See through the exterior. Maybe you’ll learn something new about yourself. It’ll give you some food for thought and perhaps even be a good source of entertainment the next time you’re sitting by yourself outside a coffee shop.

It doesn’t cost any (or much) money. It’s easy. And it’s fun.

Just as it’s important to keep your body fit, it’s equally important, if not more so, to keep your mind limber.

Don’t resolve to do it.

Just do it.

Got other tips to broaden your mind and give those muscles a workout?

Do share.

16081BD1A60533E0F1173D28DE4F0D3F Stretch your mental muscles

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7 Responses to Stretch your mental muscles

  1. AnahidNo Gravatar on April 2, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    I made one too many resolutions but there’s only one I haven’t broken yet, thankfully. I liked the examples you gave. Great post!

  2. Mansi BhatiaNo Gravatar on April 2, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    Thanks, Anahid! :-)

  3. ajayNo Gravatar on April 3, 2010 at 4:53 am

    nice write-up . Loved it.

    • Mansi BhatiaNo Gravatar on April 7, 2010 at 2:05 am

      Thanks, Ajay.

  4. Living well | First Impressions on April 14, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    [...] Be intelligent — Don’t be too fast to judge. Learn from people that have preceded you and peers that inform you. Teach yourself to learn. To not just absorb and react, but to think and choose well. Engage your mental faculties; stretch your brain. [...]

  5. R.PNo Gravatar on April 17, 2010 at 6:54 am

    I am learning a new language - German and the grammar is stretching my mental muscles wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy too much! ;-) Doing something different initially seems like a HUGE thing for me and then it is so much easier. :-)

  6. Live long, live healthy | First Impressions on June 4, 2010 at 9:01 am

    [...] Don’t forget, it’s important to stretch those mental muscles as [...]

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