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We all want to operate at our best right? Especially when it comes to brain power. This week’s column brings you several valuable tips to help improve your mental function.

Here are 10 tips to help boost your cranial power.

1. Sniff some cinnamon.  Studies have shown repeatedly that simply inhaling cinnamon aroma sharpens the senses and increases mental acuity. Other studies have demonstrated that consuming cinnamon on a regular basis (as a nutritional supplement) can improve blood sugar regulation and increase mental function even more.

2. Drink more water. Even mild dehydration can impair mental function significantly. 

3. Move. Stretch, twist, contract, relax, bend, reach. Whatever kind of movement is appropriate for your circumstances. If you feel your mind beginning to drift slowly toward inertness, snap out of it by engaging in some form of movement. 

4. Ask questions. Engage your curiosity by reaching past simple awareness of your circumstances to ask who, what, when, where, why, or why not kinds of questions. Who started this? What would happen if? Why do we do something the way we do? Why not change the order of events? You get the idea.

5. Make a note. Making even simple notations about events, thoughts, people or other daily items kicks your brain into a different gear. Writing things down improves memory even if you never refer to your notes. The fact that your brain engages to create symbols (words) to represent ideas makes connections within your memory that will improve recall.

6. Sing. Even if you just sing to yourself, musical patterns improve brain function. That is part of the reason we can all recall song lyrics better than we can other lines.

7. Be silly. One thing that practically every graduate student learns when memorizing lists or other disjointed material is that silly associations make items easier to recall. For example, if you want to remember a grocery list, think of an animal that begins with the same letter of each item.  Marshmallows start with m; so does monkey. If you picture a monkey holding a bag of marshmallows, you’ll probably recall that item.

8. Phone a friend. Research has shown that people that connect with more friends and associates have sharper mental functioning than those that prefer a hermit lifestyle. Other people force you to interpret outside input and create responses. 

9. Meet a friend for lunch or coffee. Even more effective than a phone call is a personal visit with other people. This is true especially if you vary the meeting place. 

10. Change your routine habits occasionally. Take a different path to work. Try using your other hand for brushing your teeth. 

Murfreesboro Post Bonus: (We always try to deliver more than expected!) Become an artist.  You don’t need artistic skill to become an artist. You don’t even need expensive oil paints and canvas. Start doodling a little during odd moments. Stack stones or sticks in interesting patterns along the Greenway or in your back yard. (You don’t have to have a Japanese Zen garden to enjoy raking pebbles in patterns.) Grab a box of crayons and draw a horsey or piggy. Shape your mashed potatoes into an image of Homer Simpson. Trim your shrubbery to look like a six-foot rabbit. Any kind of creative expression that you choose will expand your mental capacity. 

Dr. Mark Kestner is a chiropractor in Murfreesboro. His office is at 1435 NW Broad St. Contact him at mkestner@DrKestner.com

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