The neurons in our brain have little branches called dendrites. And whenever the brain is stimulated by a new experience, new dendrites form. So here are ways to help stimulate dendrite growth – and energize your brain. This comes from the Bottom Line Personal.

  • Switch hands. Most of us use our dominant hand for daily activities – like brushing our teeth or combing our hair. But research shows that doing these things with your non-dominant hand can increase the number of circuits in your brain. So if you’re right-handed, practice brushing your teeth with your LEFT hand. And vice-versa if you’re left-handed. Also, try writing with your non-dominant hand. Doing this helps you develop speech abilities in the non-dominant side of your brain, which could help you recover more quickly in the event of a stroke.
  • “Lose a sense.” Studies show that blind people develop their other senses – like taste and touch – to a much higher level than people who have their sight. That’s because new neural pathways form when you use your senses in ways you normally don’t. So try using your other senses in ways you usually wouldn’t. For example, turn off the sound on the TV, and try to follow the plot of the show you’re watching. Or get dressed with your eyes closed – and use touch to pick your outfit.
  • Make small changes. Even the tiniest changes in your daily routine activate your brain to create new neural pathways. So try reorganizing your desk – and put everything in a different place. Or take a different route to work. Or simply do things out of order – like eating breakfast for dinner and dinner for breakfast.

So let’s review: If you want to strengthen your mind, use your non-dominant hand, “lose” one of your senses, and make small changes to your daily routine. You’re getting smarter already!