Recently I wrote an article about using meditation to improve your concentration and brain power. Today I'd like to briefly outline a few other ways you can help improve your brainpower.
Use your off hand
You've probably heard about this already, but if you're right-handed, learn to use your left hand. Brush your teeth with your other hand, write with your other hand, basically reverse everything in your life as your hands go. You'll be amazed at the difference.
Learn about design
Assuming you're a programmer, learn about design. Read this great book by Robin Williams about design, and learn to apply the techniques she describes.
Take an art or music class
You might think taking an art class sounds pretty funny, but did you know that Richard Feynman, one of the smartest people of the 20th century, played the bongos and was also a painter? Stretch your mind.
Learn more about programming
Still assuming that you're a computer programmer, learn a new programming language. Better yet, learn several new languages. Learn more about object-oriented programming, study design patterns. All of these fields are good for your brain and your career.
Read, don't watch tv
One of the most valuable lessons I ever learned was to turn off the tv. Better yet, throw your television out. All you're doing is watching other people become famous, and wasting your mind. Relaxation is certainly fine some times, but as an owner of a brain, you're much better off reading a book.
Again, throw out your television set, and play some games. Play sudoku, crossword puzzles, or board games with your friends. Invest in your brain -- you won't regret it!
I've already written about meditation, so I won't add much more here, other than to repeat the mantra, "meditation leads to better concentration."
The steroids and HGH of the brain?
Scientists are working very hard to figure out what makes the brain tick, and what can make it tick better. Nutrients that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids like flax oil and fish oil are all the rage. Vitamins are good. Your brain also needs protein. Research this field, experiment, and see what works best for you.
Finally, get plenty of sleep. One experienced teacher I know says that eight or more hours of sleep every night is much better than anything caffeine can ever do for you. I also witnessed the rapid deterioration of skills in one of my former colleagues right after he and his wife had their first baby, so I can assure you that sleep deprivation does nothing positive for your brain.