It’s hard to stay focused in this day and age.

Between social media and constant streams of videos, our attention spans just aren’t what they used to be.

And let’s not forget about stress. Everything we do causes stress: work, relationships, traffic, shopping, finances. Too much cortisol (the stress hormone) and negative emotions can wreak havoc on basic brain tasks like attention and cognitive skill.

Fortunately, you can train your brain to become more resilient by utilizing these simple brain exercises.

Brain exercises for focus, memory, and well-rounded mental health

Just like the rest of your muscles, your brain craves change and activity. The best brain exercises provide both of these.

Our lives are so repetitious. It’s important to seek out new ways to challenge our brains.

Fortunately, it’s easy to make small changes that reap huge benefits including improved problem solving, focus, memory, cognitive function, and overall mental wellbeing.

Clench your fist

Looking for a simple and instant way to improve your memory? Clench your fist. Studies suggest that clenching your right fist improves memory retention while squeezing your left benefits memory recall.

Draw or doodle

Although doodling may seem like a distraction, it can actually help improve memory and focus. Keep a blank notepad handy to doodle while you listen to the radio. Try drawing geometric objects to give your brain an extra boost.

Learn a new language

Learning a new language boosts creativity, IQ, and reshapes the brain. Does becoming fluent in Italian or Arabic seem daunting? No problem. The benefits come from the process of learning – not understanding the entire language. Even learning just a few words a day can help.

Switch hands

If you’re right handed, you probably use that hand to do almost everything. Switch it up. Try brushing your teeth or holding your fork with your nondominant hand to boost brain activity.

Keep a journal

As we go about our daily lives, it’s easy to lose track of things that are important. This leads to negative emotions and unnecessary stress. Keep a journal: write down key events or come up with two things you are grateful for every day.

Play a board game

Jobs are repetitive and our brains need different activities to stay in shape. Board games require unique problem solving, memory, and cognitive skills.

Make small changes

Take a different route to work or try to do daily tasks with your eyes closed. Read about topics you know nothing about. Making small changes can help your brain grow.

Hands-on activities

Using your hands is directly linked to brain development. Think about how you use your hands each day: holding your phone, driving, typing. Try something new like origami, tying knots, or chopping up veggies to cook a new meal.

Use a weird font

Believe it or not, those people who switch to strange curly fonts on their phone might be onto something. Researchers have found that reading text in a weird font actually improves memory retention.

Try something new

Most people think of learning as a means to an end. When testing out a new hobby, you’ll probably hear a lot of people asking “why” or what you hope to accomplish with a new skill. The truth is, the very act of learning boosts focus, memory, problem solving, cognitive function, and overall mental health.

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