strategies for keeping your brain active

How To Keep Your Brain Active After College

by guest blogger Kastle Huffaker

The real world is a tough world. Jobs aren’t easy to find, and you keep struggling to be as qualified as your competitors. Where do you go from here? How do you keep your head up above the rest? Here are a few ways that I’ve discovered to help keep my mind active and strong.

 

1. Pocket That Knowledge.

“Pocket” is this amazingly handy tool that lets you save articles, videos, and images you find as you are scrolling online. A lot of us come across something we want to read, but we don’t have the time. This is where you can “Pocket” that interesting article, or video you know you want to watch, and it saves it all. Then, you can come back later and checkmark it off your list. I use Pocket almost every day. I’ll pull up an article I want to read on my phone, and it will voice the article out loud to me as I’m doing other things.

Pocket comes in all shapes and sizes.

The best part – you can access your “Pocket” anywhere. I have the app on my phone. I use the Google Chrome extension on two different computers so I can save stuff continually throughout the day not just on my work desktop, but on my personal laptop. Building this archive of knowledge is like a mini extension of your brain, and it helps you stay aware and constantly learning. Or saving urls, and links to the places you know you want to learn more about.

 

2. Less TV, More Reading.

The average person spends over 5 hours A DAY watching television and/or Netflix according to a recent study from the NY Times. That is just crazy. Do you know how much you could accomplish in 5 hours? You could do yoga for an hour, cook up a nice homemade meal, spend a couple hours talking and reaching out to your friends, and even have time left over to read a book. The point is, TV wastes so much of your life and your time.

Don’t be what everyone else is.

If the majority of the world is spending 35+ hours on the couch watching a show, do something different. Like, when was the last time you read a book? For me, the last time I had read an actual book was from my Nicholas Sparks collection THREE YEARS AGO. That blew my mind. I wanted to change that. So, I decided to join the Online Book Club. Not only did I get to be a part of a bigger community, I also got to make a little extra cash reading and reviewing as many books as I would like. I used an hour of the time I spent watching TV into reading a book. Since I’ve done that, my brain has been more focused and my vocabulary has expanded. This is just one example of what can put you one more step ahead of everyone else.

3. Keep Connecting.

The biggest mistake I made was not keeping connections after college. I found myself lost in a world where I didn’t really know anyone who knew someone who could push me in the right direction of a great job. So connect! Connect with like minded people who work in the same industry or job as you. Collaborate and share ideas. If you are a software engineer, connect with more engineers. If you are a web designer, find other web designers. But if you hate where you work, search out what your dream job is. Then find the people who are already living that dream, and just talk with them. Figure out how they got to where they are now, and start learning what they have learned!

Leverage yourself.

The brightest and best resource that everyone keeps talking about is LinkedIn. This is your go-to online world to network and speak with people you can’t meet in person. Join groups, comment on posts, start discussions. The more you put yourself out there, the better feedback you will get. Plus, LinkedIn is your online profile and resume. Once you start continually showing value in what you say, and who you talk to, people will start to notice. Recruiters are on LinkedIn for that very reason, to find someone like you. What do you have to lose?

 

Keep your brain alert and alive by learning and growing. Be a better version of who you want to be.

Kastle Huffaker is a 25 year old cancer survivor who loves blue and is all about positivity. She runs a small photography business and does graphics & website management for a local tractor company. She is also starting up her new business Virtual Kastle.

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Exercise: It Does a Body and Brain Good!

What gets your heart pumping?  A sprint in the early morning dew? The latest thriller from your favorite author? Tackling an impossible puzzle?  Turns out getting your heart pumping can also build your brain!

So move over couch potato book worm, if you really want to build your intellect, start building you muscles!


Water bouncy castle

Exercising Your Brain

Like your muscles, your brain needs to be stretched to stay in top form and to grow.  Reading, learning something new, practicing a skill, and playing intellectual games all help to stimulate your brain and make new connections.

Neuron pathways and synapse connections are how your brain builds and stays elastic. Keeping it healthy and strong.

The Workout Brain Connection

Your brain does not just need intellectual stimulation, it also thrives on physical activity. Our brains are ever growing and changing. Exercise induces the most critical part of this process, neurogenesis or the creation of neuron stem cells.

Guess what? Neurons do grow back — by the thousands — through a process called neurogenesis. They divide and propagate like cells in the rest of the body. Neurons are born as blank-slate stem cells, and they go through a developmental process in which they need to find something to do in order to survive. Most of them don’t. It takes about 28 days for a fledgling cell to plug into a network. If we don’t use the newborn neurons, we lose them. Exercise spawns neurons, and the environmental enrichment helps those cells survive. (source)

In addition to the creation of neuron stem cells, physical exercise increases the flow of oxygen to the brain, aiding brain function.  Along with oxygen, hormone levels that govern various facets of brain development increase, while stress hormones decrease.  Both facilitating brain growth and positive emotional development.

That’s not all! The exercise brain connection also fuels corrective processes that actually heal the brain.  All of this is good news, it means our brains do not have to simply wither as we age, and brain damage has hope of repair through mental exercises and physical therapy.

What Exercises Are Best?

Ready to exercise your way to a healthier, smarter you?  You may be wondering which exercises are best.  Basically, if it is good for your heart, it will also be good for your brain.

Aerobic exercises, especially because of the increased oxygen in take, are a great place to start. These are easy to do and usually require no special equipment. Walking, running, swimming, and biking are examples of common aerobic exercises.

Kick your brain workout up a notch by choosing exercises that cross the mid-line of your body.  Cross lateral activity gets both sides of the brain communicating, stimulating greater growth and stronger connections. These exercises can be as simple as touching your left hand to your right toe.  A series of cross lateral stretches in the morning will have your brain awake and ready to learn something new.

 

Never Stop Growing, Just Keep Learning

At Global Learn Day, we celebrate the gift of learning at all ages, and promote life long learning as a foundational habit for everyone. As One Planet, One People lets support each others’ brain quest by providing encouragement and resources to keep our bodies and minds fit!

How will you exercise your brain today?

To learn more, please check out:
https://blog.brainbalance.com/blog/2016/06/crossing-midline-learning-differences
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201102/get-out-and-walk-your-brain-will-thank-you
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18286387

 

 

 

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