As fathers, it’s important for us to keep our minds sharp. Having to deal with questions from our kids such as – Why is the sky blue? What is the meaning of life? or Who would win a fight between the Incredible Hulk and Superman (I pick the Hulk, BTW)? – forces us to keep our brains functioning at high levels. Add in a few doses of 7th grade math homework and keeping up with social media and advances in technology, and you’re in for a serious mental workout.
While it’s important to improve our brain functions for the sake of our kids, it is equally important for our personal health and well-being. Age-related brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s can start forming as early as your 40s.
If you want to boost your dad brain power, impress curious kids, and counteract health issues, here are a few things you can do right now.
Train Your Brain
Just as you train your body to remain physically fit, you have to train your brain to keep in shape mentally. Read books and magazines, do challenging puzzles, solve math problems (middle school algebra is a good place to start), and work on your memory. Websites such as Lumosity offer personalized brain training programs. I like to challenge myself by building unusual LEGO creations with my son.
Be more observant
Being observant helps to boost your brain power because it forces you to pay closer attention to the world around you. Listen more closely when your children talk to. Savor your meals instead of devouring them. Look away from your phone periodically and enjoy the beauty that surrounds you. You will be rewarded with more acute senses, better relationships, and a sharper mind.
View the world from your child’s perspective
Seeing the world through the eyes of a children has made me a better father. I’m often amazed by their ability to make the most difficult problems seem simple. Their innocence, creativity, and enthusiasm make me view the world in differently, and as a consequence I can understand and relate to them more easily. I encourage dads to view the world from their children’s point-of-view. You will gain incredible insight that will help to be more creative and carefree.
Seek the wisdom of elders
I try to spend time with older men as much as I can. Their wisdom helps me to sort through my contemporary problems. Talking to more seasoned dads has helped me to become a better parent and a better husband. Their experiences teach me more than I could ever learn from a book.
Do something you’re bad at
I’m a terrible ice skater. I spend more time holding on to the rails than actually skating. However, I keep doing it because I want to get better. I know that I will never have the speed and power of Wayne Gretzky or the grace of Charlie White and Meryl Davis; however, I learn something new each time I lace up my skates. Doing things that are difficult for you will not only make your brain work harder, but it will also help you to confront your fears and insecurities.
Learn something new
When I turned 40, I decided to take guitar lessons. Learning this instrument has been challenging and interesting because I have no natural musical talent. Playing the guitar forced me to stop relying on my logic so much and allow my creative side to surface. You’ve probably wanted to learn a new skill. Don’t wait. Now is the time to do it. Find something that you’re interested in and dive in.
Take a break
Stress can affect memory, learning, and other brain functions. To keep your brain functioning at optimal levels, you need to take regular breaks to recharge. Although a trip to Hawaii will do trick, you don’t have to do anything that elaborate. All it takes is a few minutes of quiet meditation, a good night’s sleep, or a relaxing massage.
Join the conversation: How do you keep your mind sharp?
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