Stimulating Your Brain

2015-0706 Tree Frog

I have shared several posts about games in the Torture or Teacher series. Games such a Sudoku, Mind Benders, cryptograms, and word ladders were crucial to my recovery, but I understand games are not ideal for everybody. As such, I compiled a short list of activities, other than games, that might help your cognitive recovery. Just as with games, the following tips are not dependent on how or why your brain is not working as well as you would like.

Please keep in mind I am not a physician, neurologist, or cognitive therapist. The list is based on my personal experiences.

1. Learn to be a better photographer

Many cameras today take good pictures with little or no thought on the part of the photographer. If you want to improve your cognitive processes, learn to take pictures without the assistance of the “auto” setting. Whether you learn it in school, in a group, or on your own, the practice and study of photography provide a great exercise for your brain. You could photograph things that have always interested you or pick a new specialization such as people, animals, plants, architecture, or nature. Perhaps, you want to study micro, macro, aerial, or  underwater photography.

2. Study music, art, and/or architecture appreciation

Although there are many cognitive exercises you can perform on your own, it is difficult, but not impossible, to study any type of appreciation on your own. As such, you not only learn to notice differences that were not previously apparent, you also learn skills of interaction and imagination. What musical genres helped shape a nation and why? What was the mindset of the culture when the art was created? What motivated people to switch from one architectural style to another?

3. Learn a new language

When many people think of the phrase, “learn a language,” they often assume it means “foreign language.” You could learn braille, sign language, Morse code, or semaphore. The cognitive skills you could learn from studying non-verbal communication are just as good for your brain as studying a foreign language. Best of all, you don’t need to become an expert in one language before switching to a different language.

4. Reward yourself with travel

Travel is a great way the practice photography; enhance your appreciation of music, art, architecture; and build skills in the language you have chosen to study. Additional benefits of travel include improving you mindset, interacting with people, and enjoying a different perspective. Travel can be a simple and inexpensive as going to a different city for the day or as complex as flying to a different country.

There is no reason why you cannot try one or more, then make changes that are better suited to you. The goal is to try something new if what you are currently doing is not producing the results you desire.


  1. Scott these are all great ideas. Sara and I want to spend some time in Europe when I retire, so we got the Rosetta Stone Spanish for Sara and French for me (we each studied these in high school). Wish us luck!

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