Have you ever tried body stretching? It helps to relax muscles and keeps your body in shape. Exercising improves not only your physical, but also mental health. It releases stress and supports you in dealing with all kind of emotions. It is good to know that training your brain works exactly the same and is equally important. Why? Read the article and start the mind-stretching right away!
Text and picture by Joanna Wróblewska
When you are tired, not motivated, and your head feels heavy, maybe you should consider training your brain on a daily basis? Mind stretching is possible and can be extremely helpful in the process of self-development. It will teach you to be open-minded, increase your creativity and help to discover how talented you are. Moreover, thanks to mind stretching you will most likely realize, that you have an enormous potential that waits to be discovered. Training the brain costs nothing, but a little bit of time and believe me, it is addictive.
Mindfulness and presence will help you to focus on things that are essential for your self-development. I also strongly encourage you to train an attitude of gratitude. It is important to be grateful for both good and bad life experiences: they all taught you or will teach you something valuable. According to UCLA Mindful Awareness Center, an attitude of gratitude changes the molecular structure of the brain in a way, that we become not only happier, but also healthier. On top of that, accepting life as it is and learning to adopt will both boost your imagination and reduce stress.
Exercising awareness will also allow you to notice a negative self-talk and change it into a positive one. Controlling the inner critic takes time and practice, but it is worth the effort! After all, a harmful self-talk is one of the most toxic mental activities, and it does not bring us any profit.
Try new things
Is there anything more frustrating than using the same templates for years? Do not narrow your thinking and activities to the good old and well-known patterns! People who like to learn new things have much more energy, think innovative and have a positive attitude. They stay mentally healthy and active for a long time. Trying out new things and building understanding of diverse, abstract ideas stimulates the brain so that it creates new neuronal connections. So do something that you have never done before! Travel, read about distant cultures and take the effort to understand them. Subscribe for dance classes, start to play drums, go to a classical music concert or visit a contemporary art center. I bet that you will feel inspired after doing something new, pleasant and refreshing. It is fun to break the routine! Also at the SAE you can easily find interesting activities: subscribe for a photography workshop, join a blogging course or book a studio to make some music. Maybe one of these activities will become your passion? I started blogging just for fun, and now I do it almost every day.
Are you bilingual? If so, you are lucky! Bilingualism stimulates the brain and fights dementia. If you are monolingual, you still can learn languages. Challenge yourself and start learning French or subscribe for Chinese classes. Nowadays, there are many digital resources allowing to master a language. Online education platforms like coursera.org or alison.com offer a variety of language courses that are available for everybody. Personally, I prefer to learn on Skype. It is easy, quick and allows to connect and collaborate with people around the world. My Spanish teacher lives in Uruguay while I am currently in Canada. Amazing, isn’t it?
Finally, do not forget that math or music are languages too. Painting is a language, the same as poetry and dance. Remember, that people express in many different ways. Take the time to learn new things, because without doing so you will probably never find out what you like or appreciate. New experiences are for your brain like a refreshing rain bringing life to a meadow. Let them soak into your neurons and build a different perspective.
Last but not least, do not forget that regular mind stretching increases creativity. Why? Because it helps to unleash the great potential hidden deep inside one’s mind.
It is never too late to learn.
Your mind will not get tired of learning new things.
You are creative!