5 Ways to Boost Your Brain Power: Befriend It
Experiments reveal that if animals are kept in a low-stimulation environment, their brains actually weigh less than those interacting in an enriched environment. Interestingly, increasing the number of toys and other stimulating objects does not do as much to develop brain density (the number of dendritic connections between neurons) as does increasing the number of other animals with which to interact. There is little reason to think that the same would not be true for humans.
Having a sense of being connected therefore not only increases feelings of contentedness and self-esteem, but can actually make you smarter! Build social networks you can trust and spend quality time with family and friends. If you are shy and feel you have trouble making friends, some of the following tips might work for you.
a walking group
an online community (e.g. chat groups or dating websites)
a meditation group
a book club
a cooking / language class
a martial arts class
a sport team
a park or coffee shop and “people watch”
art / food / fashion / design exhibitions
political party meetings / demonstrations
music concerts / recitals
as a museum guide
for amnesty international
at an animal shelter
for an environmental group
at a homeless shelter
at an old age home
at a hospital
Sonja Lyubomirsky, professor of psychology at the University of California, who has spent years studying human happiness, suggests the following approaches to enhance feelings of wellbeing and happiness:
Count your blessings. Express gratitude for what you have (privately through journaling or contemplation, or publicly to someone close to you).
Nurture relationships. Pick a relationship in need of strengthening, and invest time and energy in cultivating it.
Do more activities that truly engage you. Increase the number of experiences in which you “lose” yourself.
Perform acts of kindness. Do something kind for someone at least once a week. It doesn’t matter how big or small it is.
Savour life’s joys. Pay close attention to momentary pleasures.
Learn to forgive. Let go of anger, resentment and revenge.