Exercising your brain, Part 2: Do different (updated)

Like my last post on exercising your brain by learning a new language, here’s another worthwhile endeavor to exercise your brain: Do something different every day.

Every time you do something different your brain takes note. It’s given new stimuli, it has new things to think about, and see and do.
Because of all this new stuff, it has to work a bit harder and make more connections, and that’s good exercise. The more new connections it has to make, the richer your brain becomes, and the better off you will be now and as you age.

It’s also good practice for dealing with change, which is inevitable.

So what should you do differently? Here are some ideas:

  • take a random route to work, or to the store, or wherever you are driving.
  • go for a walk down different streets in your neighborhood.
  • cook a new recipe
  • read a genre of book you don’t usually read
  • add a new exercise to your routine.
    For me, I realized that doing 100 crunches and 30 pushups were becoming routine, so over the last week I’ve increased them to 120 and 35. now I feel more challenged.
  • travel
  • pick something from a Sark poster and do it, like “invite someone dangerous for tea”
  • tie your shoelaces differently, see Ian’s Shoelace Site [via Seth Godin’s blog]
    Seth says he ties his shoelaces in a different way to, “reject the status quo.” While that’s a good enough end in itself, looking one level deeper you might see that a worthwhile life is one of constant change, constantly rejecting the status quo in favor of dealing with what is happening on a moment-to-moment basis. That is, the “status quo” is about what was, not what is.
  • tie your tie in a different way. Did you know that there are 85 possible ways to tie a tie?
  • Update: Peel your banana from the other end. (I’m still tickled by this one every time I do it.)

In general, be aware of the ruts that you are in, and climb out of them. The view is much better up there.

What sorts of things can you do differently?

Some apropos quotes from my Worthwhile quote database (you see a random quote from this database on the top of the main page.):

  • “If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we are not really living. Growth demands a temporary surrender of security.” — Gail Sheehy
  • “Security can only be achieved through constant change, through discarding old ideas that have outlived their usefulness and adapting others to current facts.” -— William O. Douglas, American jurist, Supreme Court justice (1898-1980)
  • “If you do nothing unexpected, nothing unexpected happens” — Fay Weldon

    Sark Poster

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