4 ways to optimise mental performance

Young professionals, whether office-based or athletic, are required to stay mentally sharp and ready to tackle whatever their day throws at them.

After all, nobody wants to stroll into the office kitchen to find that that they’ve forgotten the boss’ name, arrive half an hour late for an important meeting with the board of directors, or even forget the line-out call during rugby try outs.

Staying mentally sharp not only helps young professionals avoid devastating embarrassment, but can also help them succeed at what they do best.

It’s important to remember that cognitive decline doesn’t only come into play in the senior years.

Much like the body, which needs to be kept in shape, failing to exercise the brain and keeping it active can lead to mental unfitness too.

Below are some tips, exercises and advice from Red bull to help make staying mentally fit easier than ever.

Jogging your memory

As mentioned earlier, the brain needs to be exercised in much the same way the human body does.

That doesn’t mean doing brain curls using weights every morning, but rather finding ways to stimulate brain activity and build neural pathways.

Reading and writing are great ways to do just that.

The Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience states that pen and paper activities can stimulate several brain regions responsible for execution, imagery and observation of actions.

Learning through reading not only boosts brainpower but also opens the mind to entirely new ways of thinking.

It’s okay to play mind games

Thanks to the internet, brain games are easy to come by and can be played in between meetings or sports practice.

Games like chess, sudoku and crossword puzzles are a fun and engaging way to boost brainpower.

Great news for e-sport fanatics, video games have also proven to be brain muscle builders.

Studies have found that action-packed video games may increase perceptual and attentional abilities, improve reaction time as well as task-switching ability.

It’s good to know that beating the final level boss won’t only level up the character, but the brain, too!

Remember to take a mental chill pill

Much like the body needs a breather to recover after a demanding workout, the brain also needs an occasional break.

Taking a few minutes every day to relax the mind is just as important as a mental exercise.

Without these breaks, the mind would have no time to recuperate and absorb all the information it’s been exposed to.

Keeping both body and mind fit

Hitting the gym or going for a run helps increase blood flow throughout the body, which pumps more oxygen to the brain.

These cardio activities also release vital chemicals that stimulate brain cell growth, learning and emotional regulation.

This process also releases dopamine and norepinephrine, which helps with focus and mood. It’s a win-win for both physical and mental fitness.