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Mental Agility: Be More at Ease!

In the turbulent times in which we live, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s important, whether it’s for us, for the people we love, or for the world at large. While we spend most of our time securing the most comfortable lives possible for our families, we tend to neglect what allows it to happen in the first place - our minds.

Over a period of time, our minds get accustomed to doing the same things over and over again. For those of us who love routine, this is a great thing! But as a result of this, we start to get acclimatized to one way of perceiving and understanding things - and consequently, our minds start to lose their edge.

Nothing untoward happens on the surface: our daily lives continue the way they always have. But as we keep growing older, we become more susceptible to anxiety, depression, and brain fog. Of course, it’s also true that these are all symptoms which can be caused by factors other than brain functioning - but isn’t it always better to be prepared for a situation, rather than testing your luck to see if it arrives in the first place?

These days, brain fitness is no longer optional. If you have to be at your functional best at all times, the health of the mind is just as important as that of the body.

There are only two basic principles to brain fitness: curiosity and change. When anything you do becomes as easy as intuition, almost like a second nature - that’s when you know you need to add a bit of variety in your life. Moreover, if you seem to know everything there is to know about the world around you, you should start reading about topics you usually prefer not to.

With these fundamental principles in mind, let’s understand how to be mentally agile.

1. Play Mentally Stimulating Games

One of the ways to keep your mind fit is to make it think in unique ways. You could play Sudoku every day for at least 15 minutes, or you could even play Connect Four with a friend! The basic idea is to think spontaneously, and in so doing, discover new paths of thinking. You could even try solving the crossword or try solving jumbled words. Basically, anything that allows you to have fun while you’re racking your brain.

2. Learn a New Skill/Language

When we start something new, areas of our brain which we don’t normally use on a daily basis get activated. Think about it: when was the last time you felt like you learned something new, which had a practical relevance to your daily life? The matter at hand is simple - the more you tap into your brain, the fitter it stays! This is even more true for those who are learning a new language! Most of us learn our mother tongues when we’re really young, and acquire language subconsciously. Attempting to learn a new language, however, keeps our mind on its precariously perched toes!

3. Engage in Physical Exercise

While it may seem counterintuitive to mention physical exercise in an article that’s dedicated to mental agility, the truth is that the mind and the body exist on a continuum in which one can’t be separated from the other. So, whenever you feel like your mind is slowing down, it’s definitely a good idea to get some exercise - in whichever form you prefer - to give your mind the jolt it needs to function even better!

4. Read Something (New)

If you haven’t already been a voracious reader, then you should definitely start reading right away! Reading does an indispensable variety of things for the mind, the least of which is keeping it fit. But on the other hand, if you’ve been reading on a regular basis, but it’s restricted to one subject - or a variation on it - then expanding your reading interests will do wonders for your mind. If you get exposed to different forms of thought, you’ll mind will also have to contend with it in ways unfamiliar to it, and in the process you will learn something new!

In Conclusion: New is Good!

The bottomline is simple: the more discoveries you make, the fitter your mind stays! You can do this either through approaching familiar tasks and activities in new ways - through playing challenging games, for instance. Or you can learn a new skill or language, which will help you expand your horizons. Whether it’s discovering a new way for your body to handle oxygen through vigorous physical exercise, or through contending with an entirely unprecedented philosophical viewpoint, you’re basically expanding yourself as an individual - and in the process, growing your mind as well.

AN Oct 51/18

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