People Who Love Expanding Their Minds Do These 13 Things — Do You?

By Sarah Winfrey on 13 October 2014 2 comments

There are those out there who refuse to let their brain get into a rut. The intellectually stimulated, the cranially curious, the people who love expanding their minds. (See also: 13 Easy Ways to Improve Your Brain)

Are you one of them? If so, you just may engage in one or more of these 13 pursuits on a daily basis.

1. Doing Puzzles

Whatever their favorite sort of puzzle, whether it's a jigsaw puzzle, Sudoku, a crossword, or a logic game, people who love expanding their minds know that it's good for your brain. You'll learn to concentrate better, have overall higher brain activity, remember better, and have improved sleep. Puzzles can also be quite a lot of fun, so solving them won't feel like work. Instead, you'll be helping your mind and having fun at the same time.

2. Writing by Hand

If you value expanding your mind, chances are you value having a lot of creative ideas and being able to communicate them to others. As it turns out, people who write out their thoughts and ideas on an actual piece of paper, not a computer screen, have more active minds and express more ideas than people who only type. Try writing by hand for a few minutes every day, and see what changes you notice.

3. Learning Math

Math may not be your favorite, but people who want to expand their minds know that if you want your brain to fluidly process letters and numbers and to have greater facility in your first language and others, you should spend some time studying math. It turns out that the areas of your brain that understand mathematical concepts and process numbers are related to the areas that do these other things, too. (See also: 11 Genius Math Tricks That Are Actually Easy)

4. Exercising

Exercise doesn't just make us happier, it makes our brains work better. People who love expanding their minds know that they are better at focusing, solving problems, and even reasoning after they have exercised. While it can take a lot of energy to get off the couch and out the door, even a quick walk boosts the brain's overall performance.

5. Studying a New Language

Learning a new language literally makes your brain grow. Sure, language learning can be hard work. But it's so good for your brain, and it helps your mind learn to make new connections, too, so fans of expanding the mind will put in the effort.

When your brain makes new connections you will become more creative, and you'll be able to communicate with a greater portion of the world. You can even study online, with Duolingo and other resources. There's not much more fun than taking a trip to a place where you know the language because you've studied hard. Maybe you can set a vacation as a goal after all your study!

6. Reading Novels

Reading a novel seems to raise the connectivity in your brain and cause other positive neurological changes for up to five days after you finish your book. Anyone who loves expanding their mind could tell you that if you'd like your brain to work smoother and more efficiently, pick up your favorite page-turner. You don't have to read a classic work or anything like that. In fact, it seems like the important factor is that the book is written well enough that you feel you're in the main character's place.

7. Practicing Meditation

Meditation can help enhance your brain function in areas that tie to learning, memory, taking different perspectives, regulating your emotions, and more. People who want to expand their minds know that, if you want your mind to work better, it's worthwhile to learn meditation.

It's easy to be intimidated by the prospect of meditating. We tend to think that it is something that gurus do, or only enlightened people. Fortunately, it doesn't have to be hard at all. There are many easy ways to incorporate meditation into your busy daily life.

8. Playing Board Games

People who grow their minds often play board games. Different games have different benefits, but overall you can improve your linguistic intelligence, improve your math and reasoning skills, improve how you negotiate and work with people, and improve your critical thinking. Try a lot of different games, and you could greatly improve your brain's capacity to work on a lot of different levels.

9. Listening to Music

Listening to music has all sorts of benefits, but notable among these is that it improves cognitive functioning, eases stress, and helps you perform better in difficult situations. And people who want better functioning brains know that it's easy, too — just play music from your phone in the car or carry headphones if you commute by transit.

Expand your mind even more by listening to music that isn't familiar to you. Do this with someone who loves the music and understands it, so you can ask questions about what you're hearing and have them help you understand it. This will help you in taking on new and different perspectives, too.

10. Reading Poetry

Poetry can be intimidating. It only takes one bad memory from high school English class to put you off it for a long, long time. However, people who want better brains make the effort anyway, because reading poems expands your mind in some interesting and important ways. To understand most poems, you have to be able to look at things as both simple and complex. It also enhances the parts of your brain that think empathically, and help you become more creative, because it teaches you how to make connections between seemingly unrelated things.

11. Overcoming Fears

When you're afraid of something, you shut yourself off to that thing and anything that might lead to it or spring from it. For instance, if you're afraid of flying, it's easy to become shut off from travel and everything you can learn by doing that. You never get to experience new cultures, new foods, or the different perspectives that people in other cultures have. When you overcome your fears, you open yourself not only to the thing you're afraid of, but to everything that comes with that, too.

Overcoming fears can be hard work, especially if they are deeply entrenched, but people who love expanding their minds love the benefits they reap when they make the effort. It will help you to identify what you're afraid of and where that fear comes from. However, you may need to work with a therapist to overcome particularly difficult fears.

12. Mind Mapping… Anything

When you make a mind map, you're giving your mind free range, at least within certain parameters. A mind map is basically a way of organizing information visually. You put your main idea in the center, then draw lines to show how it connects to other ideas. This can be as complicated of as simple as it needs to be to help you think.

It can also help you see the connections between different ideas, and possibly between things that you might never have connected otherwise. Proponents of mind mapping for brain expansion say that it helps them understand their problems and solutions, organize their thoughts, make these new connections, and communicate with other people.

13. Getting Some Sleep

People who love expanding their minds know that getting plenty of sleep cannot possibly be overrated. They may not always want to go to bed on time, but they know one simple fact: when you sleep, your mind works better. You learn better and recall what you've learned faster and easier. In fact, you may not be able to expand your mind in the other ways mentioned on this list if you're not getting enough sleep.

While there's not a magic number of hours of sleep that will work for everyone, it's good to aim for 7-9 hours every night. Use some trial and error and commit to figuring out what works for you, and your brain will be better off.

How do you expand your mind? How do you fit it into your busy schedule?

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Jeffrey Schultz

Notice how watching TV or Playing video games was not on the list.

Guest's picture
Guest

Good article, I know no one who does all of these things though. Can you imagine the stress this person is under? Learn Maths, Learn a new language, solve puzzles whilst playing games, writing by hand, listening to music, meditating and then trying to find time to sleep. The only person described here is someone in no form of relationship what so ever and has no job.