10 Steps to Training Your Brain for Peak Performance

Written by Peter Jones

You can get the greatest job in the world and be set up to have the greatest career you’ve always dreamed of. Think you’re done? Well, you could be. You could rest on your laurels and coast for the rest of your working days. Or you could stay sharp, keep learning, and put yourself in the path for even bigger things.

How to do that? Simple. Whether you’re trying to stay sharp to get ahead or just trying to improve your memory and general mental performance, here are a few strategies to train your brain.

1. Feed it well.

There is such a thing as brain food. What we eat does affect our memory and function. Get your neural circuits set up for success by eating fish high in omega fatty acids, cut back on the sugar, and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Taking a handful of vitamin supplements won’t hurt either. Try B-vitamins, C, E, omegas, choline, and other antioxidants.

2. Exercise daily.

Exercise increases blood flow and oxygen and nutrients to the brain. Twenty minutes of walking, cycling, swimming, or dancing a day can really improve your cognitive capacity. Plus it makes you look and feel better!

3. Play games.

Strategy, role-playing, and verbal games, even challenging crossword puzzles or Sudoku can engage your prefrontal cortex and help you build memory, self-awareness, incentive and reward processing.

4. Practice meditation.

Meditation can be a magic reset button for the brain. Awaken your cells and focus your mind and find yourself better prepared to face the day. Even 15 minutes a day can really make a difference.

5. Get enough sleep.

Getting enough rest is absolutely crucial to peak function. If you’re not sleeping enough, you’re compromising your ability to assimilate new information. Give yourself and your brain a chance to rest. Shoot for a minimum of 7 hours a night.

6. Keep learning.

The day you stop learning is the day you stagnate. Start with things that interest you most, then read up as much as you can. Seek out online or in-person lectures, or resources on television or the internet. And read a good book! Even one you don’t expect to be as interested in. You’ll never know where it might take you!

7. Trigger your memories

Thumb through old pictures and try to recall what you were doing, eating, wearing, as well as the names of all the people. Digging back for details like these can really stimulate your memory apparatus.

8. Turn off the GPS.

Remember the good old days of having to write out directions and then find your way to your destination without a voice in your ear telling you to “Turn right” in 100 feet? It’s actually very useful exercise to let your brain figure out on its own how to get from point A to B. And you’ll figure out your bearings that much faster in a new place.

9. Memorize something.

Whether a poem or a favorite song, expanding your brain by memorizing something can really help get your brain back in shape. It will also help you to build your vocabulary.

10. Lay off the booze.

Drinking in moderation is fine, but alcohol is a depressant and can slow down mental functions. If you need to be at top form, put down the martinis for a day or two. You’ll likely sleep and think much better!

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About the author

Peter Jones

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