It’s important to warm up the body prior to undertaking any rigorous physical activity. In the same way that we stretch before going for a run or hitting the gym, it can also help to warm up the mind before starting work.
How focused and alert we are can vary throughout the day. Mental agility exercises can help to tune the mind in to the task at hand, improving concentration and ensuring that each task receives the attention it deserves. They are all about keeping the brain alert.
Why not start each day with these five mental agility exercises and then assess the impact on your professional translation work after a couple of weeks?
Getting dressed is something that most of us do daily, but try doing it with your eyes closed and suddenly the process is a whole new experience. Start by sitting down until you’ve mastered not falling over while doing it, then try it standing up for more of a challenge.
Getting dressed without seeing what you’re doing means that your mind will work overtime in mentally mapping distances, and enhancing the way that the left and right sides of your brain interact.
Play with words
Completing a crossword while you sip your morning cup of tea can get those neurons firing and ensure that your brain is fully engaged before you start work. If crosswords aren’t your thing, try Sudoku, riddles or even reading something challenging – all will serve to boost your brain and set you up for a focused morning’s work.
Walking two miles per day has been shown to reduce the risk of dementia by up to 60%. Scientists believe that walking these kind of distances trigger our brains to release growth factors, which essentially allows connections between cells to develop more easily. The idea is that, as animals, we walk longer distances when we need to find a new source of food or flee from a predator. Thus the brain gears up to cope with the new situation and the new data it needs to receive, even as the exercise provides it with additional nutrients and oxygen.
Flex your memory muscles in order to keep your brain in top condition. Memorizing things helps to fine tune the mind and ensure that it continues to function at its best. It’s also a way to impress your friends and family with the knowledge stored away in your head!
Do something new
Whether it’s learning a new language, practising a new dance or simply turning your routine on its head, keep your mind stimulated by avoiding dull repetition. A mentally agile mind is one that experiences new sensations and considers new concepts on a regular basis. Creativity and freedom are key here – ditch predictability and embrace new experiences in order to keep your mind as alert as possible.
There are countless other ways to improve your mental agility, from keeping a journal to engaging with mental agility apps. Doing so can not only improve the quality of your work and how efficiently you tackle it, but can also be really fun. Mix and match a range of mental agility exercises to get the most out of the process and be sure to enjoy each new experience to the full. Mindfulness is great for mental agility too, so focus closely on the feeling and sensations of what you’re doing for even greater benefit.
What are you preferred mental agility activities? How often do you undertake them and what benefits have you seen as a result, either in your work or in other areas of your life? Share your experiences by leaving a comment below.