Staying fit means more than just hitting the gym. For a well-rounded approach to wellness, we partnered with Target C9 to bring you an entire month of easy ways to keep your mind and body in tip-top shape.
Don't let yourself get stuck in a rut — keep your brain active and in top shape with easy ways that keep your noggin stimulated. Just like your body, your brain needs a regular workout too. No need for expensive apps or discouraging tests — these no-brainer ways to challenge yourself daily are actually pretty fun. Here are 31 smart ideas so you can make a big difference even in one month.
- Do a crossword puzzle: Sitting down with a crossword is a really smart way to encourage your brain to get thinking. You can find crossword puzzle apps for a quick fix, or do the one found in your local paper. Just remember they start out easy and get tougher during the week!
- Listen to the news in a different language: Instead of watching your regular news, turn to a foreign channel to find out what's breaking. Your brain will be stimulated while listening to something different.
- Use your opposite hand: For a quick boost, try using your opposite hand while brushing your teeth or eating breakfast.
- Take the stairs: Give your body a shot of energy, and take the stairs. Just the basic coordination of walking up or down a flight of stairs gets your brain thinking.
- Have a conversation IRL instead of texting: Having a conversation is a skill, and doing it in person as often as possible encourages personal development and conversational skills. So stop texting, and have a real chat.
- Talk with a stranger: Along with talking to your favorite people, start up a conversation while waiting in line. You might feel a bit awkward at first, but chatting with people around you creates connections and builds your self-confidence.
- Take a picture every day: Encourage your creativity, and take a picture every day. From a quick snap of your commute to an artful picture of the sunset, challenging yourself to take one picture daily reminds you of all the things you're grateful for.
- Give yourself an honest compliment: Look at yourself in the mirror, and say something nice. It's a great way to build your confidence and develop inner happiness.
- Give someone you know an honest compliment: Just like complimenting yourself, give a friend some solid positive praise. You'll feel great — and so will someone else.
- Cook one meal daily: Even if you aren't a master chef, cooking one meal daily is a great way to try something different and learn new skills.
- Draw a picture: Next time you find yourself with nothing to do, grab a pencil and start doodling. Sketch something you see around you, or create a unique logo for yourself. Drawing encourages the lesser-used right side of the brain, keeping things balanced in your noggin.
- Read a book: When's the last time you took the time to read a book? Reading for fun keeps your head sharp — and gives your imagination a chance to have some fun.
- Put down your phone: Yes, we all love our phones, but putting it down gives your brain a break. When you find yourself reaching for your phone to kill time or if you're feeling uncomfortable when in the elevator with others, stop checking for texts, put down your phone, and make conversation with others.
- Make eye contact while walking on the street: OK, if you're walking and looking at your phone, you really need to stash it away! Instead of potentially running into someone, make eye contact while walking on the street. And, hey, a smile doesn't hurt either.
- Write in a journal: Keeping a daily journal is a great way to keep track of accomplishments and document frustrations. Writing is a great challenge for your brain and helps keeps your mental state in a good way.
- Answer questions honestly: Yes, we all tell white lies here and there, but telling the truth is a quality we should all strive for.
- Don't complain: Ranting and raving about stuff builds drama and is also a sign of weakness. Instead of sharing complaints with others, write them down. You'll feel instantly better without being labeled as a downer.
- Set a daily goal: From drinking eight glasses of water to striking up a conversation with your crush, set a goal for yourself daily and reach for it. You'll feel awesome once you have accomplished it!
- Do things by hand: We have so many shortcuts that make our lives easier, but doing things by hand, such as fixing a busted hem or ironing, keeps your brain active in a way it might not be used to. And you might pick up a new skill or two!
- Push yourself harder: Yesterday you hit your daily goal, so today push yourself a little bit harder.
- Get over one fear: Afraid of spiders? Spend some time researching the little critters, and get over your fear. Being brave is awesome.
- Smile even if you're not feeling it: Smiling actually releases endorphins that instantly elevate your mood. And learning how to turn that frown upside down is a great skill.
- Quit a bad habit: Bite your nails? Still sneaking smokes? Quitting a bad habit is a true challenge for your brain.
- Study something you're interested in: Always intrigued with ancient Rome? Dedicate a certain amount of time daily or weekly to study a topic of intrigue.
- Tackle chores: No one wants to tackle chores first thing in the morning, but if you take care of one item on your to-do list first thing, you'll have more time to relax at the end of the day.
- Walk the line: Really, literally. Balancing is great for mind-body connection and coordination, so walk the line of the sidewalk or balance along the curb, and you're boosting your brain.
- Meditate: Spending some time on your own meditating is a smart way to give your brain a break and recharge.
- Play a board game with friends: Board games are anything but boring when you play with friends. And getting together to play is a social way to keep your brain active and have fun.
- Play an instrument: Learning how to play an instrument or making time to play one you love hones your hand-eye coordination and relieves stress. And playing and listening to music actually stimulates your brain and increases memory.
- Turn off the TV: That's right. Turn off the TV, and get outdoors. Television is totally entertaining, but watching hours upon hours turns brains into mush. Challenge yourself to watch less television and read more — or invite your friends over for an exciting game of Pictionary.
- Exercise: Along with staying physically fit, working out is a stimulating way to keep your brain in shape. Commit to a weekly workout plan, and you'll love the results.
More From Target®:
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