“The mind is everything. What you think you become.” – Buddha
The human mind is extremely powerful.
We often underestimate the importance of mental training and cognitive function in favor of improving physical prowess.
The reality is that a strong body will be limited if the mind is week.
So, the focus of this post is to give you some simple and practical ways to build a stronger mind and enhance your cognitive function so that you can perform at your full potential.
Let’s get to it.
It’s astonishing how much benefit you can get from sitting on your ass quietly. Meditation is great for stress-relief, and it’s the perfect tool to clear your mind of all the craziness you may experience throughout the course of a day.
Along with the proven effects meditation has shown to have on brain and immune function, meditating earlier in the day seems to help one stay relaxed and calm throughout the day.
If you want to enhance your experience, binaural beats are the way to go.
Give it a shot. Just five minutes a day can make a huge difference.
2. You Become What You Think About
I’ve come away with many life lessons from listening to self-improvement tapes from the likes of Brian Tracy and Earl Nightengale among others, but the most important lesson I’ve learned is that you become what you think about.
Profound, huh? You can literally shape your future and your environment based on what you think about. For example, if you want to be successful (whatever that means to you), thinking about the person you want to become and having the mindset that you’ve already met your goal has a huge impact on whether or not you actually achieve what you’re striving for.
Constantly think of the person you want to become, and you will see it come to life before your eyes.
3. Read, Read, Read
Nothing trains the mind better than reading. Whether you’re reading for education or just for pleasure, there’s something powerful about words on paper.
Don’t let your mind go to waste. Read, read, read.
4. Exercise Regularly
There’s evidence that exercise may be crucial in the regulation and preservation of cognitive function as we age.
Besides, there’s no reason to not exercise, as it’s benefits reach far beyond cognitive function.
5. Get off of the Computer (But Not Now)
I’m on the computer a lot. Whether I’m writing, reading, interacting on social media, forums, etc., I’m constantly engaged in the interwebz.
I find that days I’m on the computer less, I sleep better at night and I feel more clear-headed throughout the day. Of course, this is just my personal anecdote, but less time on the computer means less time sitting, and more time moving around, and these are always good things.
6. Get Adequate Omega 3’s
They aren’t called essential for nothin’. If you’re not consuming enough fatty fish, supplementing with fish oil should be a priority.
Omega 3’s are great for promoting joint health along with other physiological functions.
7. Learn Something New
If you feel like you’re at a standstill and you don’t know what’s next for you in life, commit to learning something new. Pick up a book you’ve been interested in or do some research on a topic you’re intrigued by. This can be a great way to get the mind revving and moving in the right direction.
Seriously, all I have to say is: coffee. Life is incomplete without it.
I love the saying, “Sleep is a result of caffeine deprivation.” In my case, it’s probably true.
9. Drink Plenty of Water
Don’t really need to say much else. If you’re dehydrated, you’re going to feel like crap and not be able to function at your full potential.
If you’re caffeine deprived, I guess you could make room for some sleep.
Sleep is crucial for immune function and memory consolidation among millions of other benefits. Get your 8 hours.
11. Laugh and Smile as Much as Possible
Pretty self-explanatory. It’s difficult to genuinely laugh and smile and be sad at the same time. Cheer up, buttercup.
Something I like to do throughout the day is to watch comedy shows on Youtube. It just puts me in a better overall mood. Try it out if you’re looking for a pick-me-up. My favorite comedians are Louis C.K. (don’t click if you’re easily offended, seriously, you’ve been warned) and Kevin Hart.
I don’t know why, but it helps me clear my mind. And it makes me more attractive to the ladies, ya feel me?
Even if you suck at cooking, practice makes perfect. If all you can cook is Spaghetti O’s, it’s time to get to work.
13. Watch Inception
Blows my mind every time.
14. Play Some Chess
Smart people play chess, therefore chess makes you smart (perfectly logical, right?).
Seriously though, I find chess to be a relaxing way to be competitive and use that thing between my ears at the same time.
15. Relax and Focus on Your Breathing
If you’re stressed, sometimes you just need to take a step back and breathe. See tip #1.
16. Do Something Fun
Don’t let your entire life be about work and serious business. Have some fun and act like a child from time to time. This will keep you in a positive mindset.
17. Try to Make Every Situation a Positive
It can be difficult, but remember, you become what you think about. If you’re constantly a Negative Nancy, positive situations are going to be hard to come by. Try to extract the positive out of everything, no matter how hard it may be.
18. See Failure as an Opportunity for Growth
Often times, failure is the only way to move forward.
If you’re not putting yourself out there, how will you reach your full potential? I like the idea of failing forward. Realize that you’re going to fail, and that it’s okay when you do, you just have to come back stronger next time.
19. Write Down Your Long-Term and Short-Term Goals
You have to know where you’re going in order to get there. Goals change over time, but it’s good to have a sort of road map. Also, writing down your goals engraves them into your subconscious, making it easier to move a step closer to achieving them on a daily basis.
I recommend reading Goals by Brian Tracy. It’s all about, you guessed it, setting goals.
20. Watch Some Motivational Stuff
Sometimes you just need to get pumped up. Eric Thomas and Ray Lewis are two of the best motivational speakers I’ve come across. If you want to get fired up about anything, start with them, you likely won’t have to look anywhere else.
21. Be Social
Interaction keeps you sane.
If you’re an introvert like me, this can be difficult, but people skills are essential, so don’t neglect pure human to human contact. No, Facebook and Twitter don’t really count.
22. Don’t Be Obsessive
Obsession can be good and bad. It’s good to be obsessed with becoming a better person and loving your friends and family, but it’s bad to be obsessed with something that can control your life and leave you a worried mess.
For example, it’s good to be obsessed with Jennifer Aniston’s hotness (don’t even think about it, she’s mine), but it’s bad to be obsessed with cyberstalking her and trying to find out where she lives.
I use the example of diet in this post, and it can apply to other things as well. Be careful with where your obsessions lie.
23. Be Yourself
The worst thing you can do for yourself mentally is to try to be someone you’re not. It’s not worth it.
It’s cliché, but who cares? Be yourself.