Enhancing mental function is possible at any age due to the malleable capabilities of the human brain. Mental and physical exercise can stimulate the growth of new branches between brain cells, a process called neuroplasticity. According to behavioral neuroscientist Edward Taub, Ph.D., at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, the claim that we use only 10 percent of our brain is incorrect. In fact, the brain has tremendous plasticity and 100 percent is utilized. Certain exercise can make the brain more ambidextrous.
Lift your right knee and touch it with your left elbow and repeat five times, then reverse and do the same with the opposite elbow and knee. Moving opposite limbs across the body requires the left and right hemispheres of the brain to work together, according to educator and author Jean Feldman Ph.D. Do the windmill for another brain integrating exercise. Stand with your feet a comfortable distance apart, then bend over and touch your right foot with the left hand, stand and switch sides.
According to Lawrence Katz, Ph.D. and Manning Rubin, authors of “Keep Your Brain Alive,” exercises or activities that engage multiple senses among sight, smell, touch, hearing and taste have a neurobic effect, stimulating new neural activity throughout the brain. Learn to play the piano for a multi-sensory experience, or try cooking a new dish from a different culture while listening to new music from that same culture. Use your imagination to find novel ways to cross-stimulate your senses and enhance your brain activity.
Brain Integration Technique
Consider trying the Brain Integration Technique, or BIT, to overcome learning challenges related to Attention Deficit Syndrome, or ADD, dyslexia and lack of coordination among others. Physiologist Susan Crosswell, founder of BIT, says in an October 18, 2004 article in the online magazine Healthwell that combining kinesiology and acupressure can facilitate the integration of critical connections that unite the right and left hemispheres of the brain. BIT uses gentle and relaxing methods to assist the brain in developing new neural pathways at a deep level in the brain, without the use of medication. This can typically be accomplished in eight to 12 hours.
Transendental Meditation Technique
Think relaxation and increased cognitive function verses religion or philosophy when considering the transcendental meditation technique, known as TM. When practiced for 20 minutes each day, this form of quieting the mind does not require concentration, but may enhance cognitive function in the brain through a state of restful alertness, according to a study published by Arizona State University in the volume 10, 2008 edition of its journal Current Issues in Education. The article cites the TM technique as capable of activating the frontal and parietal regions of the brain which are responsible for attention, executive function, and emotional stability, in effect integrating the brain in ways that may enhance an individual’s ability to tap into working memory and other functions of the brain’s so-called executive control area.
- Amercian Medical Association: Steps to a Nimble Mind- Physical and Mental Exercise Help Keep the Brain Fit
- Dr. Jean: Brain Exercises
- “Keep Your Brain Alive”; Lawrence Katz, Ph.D. and Manning Rubin; 1999
- Healthwell: Looking For Answers
- “Current Issues in Education”: Use of the Transcendental Meditation Technique to Reduce Symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) by Reducing Stress and Anxiety