Boost Your Mind Power In 7 Steps

Words: Dr Ryan N HARRISON

Research is constantly uncovering the relationship between an active mind and the reduced risk of several debilitating conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, or cognitive decline. A lifetime of mental activity is evidenced to be the best protection against mental decline in old age. 

  1. Make time to relax. Not only does stress sap your energy, affect your immune system negatively and lead to chronic physical problems, it also steals your attention, exhausts your inner reserves, and keeps you involved in negative thought patterns.

Stress may be hard to dodge in our fast-moving world, but you can take steps to relax and recover each day. One important rule is to allow yourself at least ten minutes between stressful tasks, whether at home, work, or even in your spare time. This gives your mind the opportunity to unwind before you launch into yet another potentially stressful endeavour. During your ten minutes of calm, try gentle, or deep breathing techniques, muscle relaxation exercises, visualisation, stretching, or any combination you’d like. The more often you take time to relax, the better you will get at it and the better it will work for you.

  1. Laugh out loud. Read funny books, watch movies or TV shows that make you laugh, share funny stories, or jokes with good friends, or even ‘fake it until you make it,’ by forcing yourself to laugh until it ‘takes.’ Laughing is a powerful stress-buster that helps the mind to relax. Research has shown that it has amazing health benefits. It gives the immune system a boost and reduces the levels of stress hormones that lead to premature aging. Deep laughter — straight from the belly — can have a truly cathartic effect, releasing pent up emotions and frustrations. It can also serve to distract you from focusing on feelings of anger, guilt, or stress. Studies have also shown that laughter improves creativity, thinking ability, problem-solving, memory, recall and learning.

NB: Laughter therapy is a new and exciting tool you can use to tap into the power of laughter. Typically practiced in a group setting, it helps reduce inhibition, increase self-confidence, and even develop leadership qualities among participants. Visit LaughterTherapy, for more information on the innovative, fun and therapeutic experience.

  1. Challenge yourself. While physical exercise is certainly good for the brain as it maintains good blood flow and helps prevent the death of brain cells, mental exercise is just as important. It takes some effort to build a strong mind, but the results are certainly worth the exertion.

Research is constantly uncovering the relationship between an active mind and reduced risk of several debilitating conditions including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. A lifetime of mental activity is the best protection against mental decline in old age. However, it’s never too late to put your mind to use. Simple and fun things like crossword puzzles and number games, such as Sudoku, help keep your mind sharp. For more exploratory people, studying a foreign language and learning a musical instrument have proven effective at keeping the mind in top condition.

  1. Stretch your spirit. Holistic health involves not only the body and mind, but the spirit as well. Human beings are more than their physical bodies, thoughts, and feelings. They are also spiritual beings. Refining your spiritual energies can help round out your life, improving your health and relationships, as well as your outlook.
  1. Discover your inner landscape. Do you know who you really are? It is common to set up a mental list of what you like, what you don’t, what your strengths and weaknesses are, and how you think life is meant to unfold for you. What if there is more to you than you give yourself the credit for?

Spiritual teachers have always encouraged plumbing the depths of our inner selves. Engaging regularly in practices, such as meditation, journalling, and visual and kinaesthetic arts can unlock parts of yourself that you didn’t even know existed. The better, or truer, your understanding of yourself, the more freely you can live your life.

  1. Encourage connection. It is easy to live a solitary life. In an age of unprecedented global communication, it is ironic that people are feeling increasingly lonely. This trend towards isolationism is an unfortunate cultural development. Yet, the truth is, in the words of metaphysical poet John Donne, “No man is an island.” Mystics and scientists alike have confirmed that we are intrinsically connected to everyone around us in a variety of ways —from the energetic and subatomic to larger relations involving cultures and societies.

Honouring and valuing the connection you have around you can help create happiness in your own life and in the lives of others. When you share time, thoughts, hopes, dreams, heartbreaks and joys with the people you care about, you open yourself up to a rich world of relationships. Whether sharing deeply and intimately with a partner, or spouse, or building community with others of like mind and values, what you gain is the opportunity to experience the fullness and vibrant energy of love that comes from being part of something larger than yourself.

  1. Serve others. Giving your time and energy to good causes that you believe in can deepen your sense of self-worth, broaden your faith in and understanding of humanity, and energise your own spiritual growth. It is important to serve for the right reasons. However, serving others because you think you should, or because you feel obligated to will only drain and exhaust you. Genuine, or authentic, service, on the other hand, is a natural human propensity. We are hardwired to spontaneously feel drawn to do service that engages our hearts and minds. This kind of service, a natural outpouring of the human heart manifests in the work of our hands, and actually nourishes the one who is giving as much as the one who is receiving.
Dr RYAN HARRISON, PsyD, MA, BCIH, EFT-ADV, HHP, NC, MH, QTP, LWM, HSM, is a holistic health educator and consultant in private practice. He also holds a post-graduate degree in transpersonal psychology and certifications as a nutritional consultant, holistic health practitioner, spiritual counsellor, and quantum-touch. Aside from being an advanced practitioner of EFT [Emotional Freedom Techniques], Harrison teaches and lectures in conventional and online forums. He lives in California, US. 

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