We've gone over ideas like why writing by hand improves your thinking, the importance of habits, and why processes like brainwriting can lead to better solutions.
But there is one thing that is absolutely fundamental to better thinking. In fact, it's the most fundamental element of all.
Better thinking is not even possible without it. In fact, taken to the extreme, no thinking at all is possible without it.
It's something that is easy to take for granted, but something that we all should be extra vigilant about ... especially as get older.
Do you see where I'm going with this?
More specifically, your brain's health.
This week, let's take a step back from strategies for better thinking and get even more fundamental.
What can we do on a regular basis to build and maintain the health of our brains?
Here are three resources that you should definitely spend some time with.
The power of pen and paper
Writing by hand may also improve a person’s memory for new information.
A 2017 study in the journal Frontiers in Psychology found that brain regions associated with learning are more active when people completed a task by hand, as opposed to on a keyboard.
The authors of that study say writing by hand may promote “deep encoding” of new information in ways that keyboard writing does not. And other researchers have argued that writing by hand promotes learning and cognitive development in ways keyboard writing can’t match.
Read: Bring Back Handwriting: It's Good for Your Brain (The Nuance)
Habits and exercises proven to improve brain health
When you're in your 40s or 50s, the accepted notion is that we're on the way to losing a step in the mental department. Sure … you can't find your car keys, and why did you just walk in that room anyway?
But don't give in to the popular cliches. Your brain is not only capable of improvement at midlife, I'd say it's job number one as we head into a new decade that promises to be wackier than the one we just left behind.
Read: Enhance Your Brain to Deal with the Next Decade (Further)
Do brain games actually work?
While these activities are mentally stimulating, their long-term benefits are still being debated. Some studies have found they may help delay dementia or slow its progression, while other research has found no connection.
The more convincing evidence is that brain games may help sharpen certain thinking skills that tend to wane with age, such as processing speed, planning skills, reaction time, decision making, and short-term memory, according to a study in the November 2016 International Psychogeriatrics.
Read: The thinking on brain games (Harvard Health)
Quote of the week
"The brain is highly structured, but it is also extremely flexible. It's not a blank slate, but it isn't written in stone, either."
-- Alison Gopnick
Chief Creative Thinker
Photo by Josh Riemer on Unsplash