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The individual who wants to give their brain the sort of workout that it craves has endless options each day to do just that. Of course we know about the wonderful brain games that are online and offline – these are wonderful, wonderful, wonderful ways to stimulate your mind, improve your memory, and keep your mental faculties sharp and ready!
There are also other little “tricks” we can do to stay sharp and improve our memory:
- Periodically, challenge yourself to spell a word that you hear forward AND backward.
- When you have a mathematical problem to solve, try it first without the calculator (or even pen and paper). Then, move to pen and paper to see if you got it right, mentally. THEN, the final test – check yourself with a calculator. If you erred somewhere along the way, go back and see where you messed up.
- Listen to 80’s music (and/or 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 90’s – depending upon your generation). The music, itself, won’t perk up sleeping brain cells but this will: See how fast you can identify the title of each song, the artist, and the year the song came out. When it comes to the year, give yourself a 2 year leeway – if you’re within 2 years, you did exceptionally well. If you can’t come up with the artist (or year) while the song’s playing – think about it for the rest of the day. Believe me, your brain loves this sort of workout! Try to picture a music video, the artist singing the song, or the album cover. Resort to Google only as a last result – when you feel as though your head may explode. Tip: Searching for the song title and/or part of the lyrics can lead you to the artist.
- Take different routes to the store, to work, or just to ride around town. Be sure you have gas, though – and allow plenty of time for wrong turns.
- Brush your teeth with the hand you never use for the task. Eat with your opposing hand as well. The brain loves it when you mix things up and catch it off guard.
- Eat a healthy diet. What’s good for your heart and body is also good for your mind. Read through the articles here on Out of Bounds to find food that experts recommend for a healthy mind (blueberries, fish, spinach, walnuts….).
In addition to these brain games and mentally stimulating tricks, there’s something else you can do to sharpen your mind: Become a DEEPER thinker. Don’t let your thoughts just skim the surface – make them go much deeper.
If you want to be a deep thinker you have to get in the habit of asking deep questions. Ask them about everything. But how can we say if one question is “deeper” than another? A couple examples will help make that clear.
Deep thinking looks beyond (deeper) than the obvious and searches for reasons, explanations, answers, and true meaning. Here’s an example. My husband and I were recently checking out at a favorite grocery store. The young girl working the cash register was so completely off of her game that I wanted to just hug her… then send her home. Sadly, it wasn’t my place to do the first and I didn’t have the power to do the second, so my husband and I both just smiled at her and hoped that our combined thoughts of “It’ll get better, sweetie..” reached her.
99 percent of people would have gotten extremely annoyed at the girl, herself. Most would have stormed off grumbling things about her, personally. However, as we walked away my husband’s beef was with the “higher ups.” He pointed out how unfair it was to put a young girl (or anyone, for that matter) into a situation they hadn’t been properly trained for. He wondered why someone wasn’t near her, helping answer her questions and showing her what needed to be done – rather than just abandoning her in her misery and confusion.
That’s an example of “DEEP thinking” – looking past the surface… past the so-called obvious that everyone can see.
Start digging deeper with your thoughts. Look for meanings behind situations, reasons “why,” and solutions to problems -whether they’re your own problems or someone else’s.
Below are some of my favorite subjects and situations to wrap my mind around. Not only can they stimulate deeper thinking, they’re great conversation bait as well.
- Why are reality shows so popular?
- Why did John McCain choose Sarah Palin as his running mate?
- Did the choice of Mrs. Palin lead to John McCain’s loss?
- How serious IS global warming?
- What could other organizations learn from PETA – things that could lead to THEIR organizations becoming household names as well.
- What could a small business learn from Survivor?
- Will “Race” ever be a non-issue?
- Should the Bible be allowed in school rooms and in the school curriculum?
- Should prayer be allowed and even encouraged in school?
- What are the pros and cons of the new Health Care Reform?
- Should the government pay for college?
- Why is Twitter so popular?
- Are texting, twitter, facebook, and MySpace affecting our young people positively or negatively? How?
- How could adults keep technology from being a negative influence in their children’s lives?
- Do you believe in ESP?
- Why are some people afraid of clowns?
- Is the term “cougars” a bad thing, good thing, or somewhere in between?
- If the government had proof of life on another planet, do you think they’d divulge the information?
- Has American Idol ran its course?
Here’s something that’s worth extra points: If you stand, firmly, on one side of a situation or controversy – force yourself over to the other side and, literally, defend it! More likely than not, you’ll return to the side you started out on – but you’ll do so a more rounded, informed, and educated individual. You’ll also be a deeper thinker.
I’d love for you to share your opinions about deep thinking in the comments, below. Let us know how you try to practice deep thinking in your own life. Also, feel free to tackle any of the questions above. I’d love to see deep conversations develop and brain cells stimulated!
Make each moment count double,