Instagram users are loving these simple hacks to improve brain efficiency

Ever feel like your brain just doesn’t work like it used to? There are a number of factors that affect our brain health, from age to hormonal changes like those caused by the menopause and premenstrual syndrome. But as the brain is an organ, it needs to be exercised and looked after throughout life just like the rest of your body.

Playing puzzle games like Sudoku and doing crosswords can feel like a brain exercise themselves – if you’re as addicted to playing Wordle as we are, you’ll understand the struggle! But there are also some other simple hacks you can do daily to maintain – or even improve – brain efficiency.

brain running on treadmill
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Nawal, aka ‘The Brain Coach’, has amassed 844k followers on Instagram from sharing her top tips on how to look after and improve your brain. Nawal, who has an MA in neuropsychology, says: ‘The brain is one of the most essential organs in our body as it controls pretty much everything that we do every day. That said, the brain may sometimes need to be stimulated now and then to maintain or improve its power.’

Earlier this year, she compiled research from leading neuroscientists to share a handy list of five things we can do to improve brain efficiency – and they’re not as time-consuming as you might think.

Hacks to improve brain efficiency

1. Develop a growth mindset

The first suggestion ’emphasises the importance of focusing on change and growth instead of your current abilities’. It’s important to believe there’s always more to learn every day, and Nawal says ‘researchers have found that if you think that your brain can grow, your actions change in that direction.’

2. Associate memories together

Struggle to remember and retain new information? A tip is to associate it with a previous memory. Say you’re trying to remember a number or sum – associate it with a special date that may be similar, for example.

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3. Match your environment with your needs

Clear desk, clear head, right? Well, Nawal cites research from Dr Gabe Murphy at the Allen Institute, who says our space depends on our needs. Their research found ‘participants in a messy room had more novel insights about a product than those in a cleaner space’. A good excuse if you’re the untidy one in your house.

4. Place objects in unusual spaces to remind yourself to do something

We’re forever walking into a room only to forget why we went in there in the first place. But if you put an object somewhere you don’t usually, it may trigger a mental reminder to you to do something.

5. Meditate regularly

We know meditation can be challenging, but it’s ‘one of the best ways to boost your brain’s power’. Not only does meditation regulate the flow of information to our brains, but it also expands the regions linked to focus and information processing.

Nawal added to the post: ‘There are other hacks that you can try that work for you, like exercising or lowering expectations. Everyone’s experience is unique, so some strategies/tools might not be relevant to your specific situation.’

YOU’s lifestyle columnist Susannah Taylor also has some helpful tips on how to exercise your brain here.