Most people would agree that playing mind games with your loved ones causes nothing but heartache.
However, playing these kind of mind games with yourself can actually strengthen your mind and even make you smarter!
1. Switch Hands
Have you ever wanted to be ambidextrous? People who can use both hands equally well are known as ambidextrous.
If you aren't naturally able to switch between both hands, learning how to use your non-dominant hand can result in increased brain activity.
Switch your computer mouse to the other side, start brushing your teeth and eating with your other hand. It can be tricky at first, but it will give your brain a great workout!
2. Eat With Chopsticks
If you've never mastered the art of eating with chopsticks, this technique should definitely be on your list of brain-developing activities.
Teaching yourself how to eat mindfully not only helps you to focus on the details, but it also helps with digestion and calorie consumption.
3. Do Chores With Your Eyes Closed
This one should be done carefully - especially if you aren't particularly good on your feet. Start by closing your eyes while you take a shower, or fold laundry.
This kind of activity forces your brain to use new neural pathways and stimulates your other senses such as touch and smell.
Developmental psychologists will tell you that the best way to strengthen your mind and increase your intelligence is to challenge yourself with new mind-body activities.
Here are a few more things you can do to challenge your cranium!
4. Do Things Upside Down Or Backwards
Just like doing things with your non-dominant hand, backwards and upside down activities can stimulate new neural pathways and challenge your brain.
Start by wearing your watch upside down to force you to really think about the time when you glance at your wrist.
Practice writing backwards like Leonardo da Vinci and you too could be a master of mirror writing!
5. Read Books Aloud
One way to increase memory retention is to use more than one sense. Stimulate your brain by alternating between reading a book out loud and listening to audiobooks.
Three distinct brain regions will be stimulated when you read a word, when you speak it and when you hear it.
6. Take New Routes
Practice your problem solving skills by taking a new route on your drive home. Oftentimes, with routines, it's easy for our brains to switch to autopilot.
Stimulate the cortex and hippocampus by taking an unfamiliar route and challenging yourself to navigate without a GPS!
If you don't drive, take new routes when you walk, bike or ride the bus.
7. Use All Your Senses At Once
New activities that simultaneously engage all of your senses help to strengthen the connections between hemispheres of your brain.
Traveling, camping and gardening are all great ways to use all of your senses in new ways. Close your eyes and practicing mindfulness as you walk barefoot through the grass and listen to sounds around you. Take a deep breath in and try to identify all the different smells.