Get Off Autopilot! Tips to Challenge Your Brain

Sometimes we go on autopilot, am I right? We mundanely move through the day, doing our routines, running the errands, attending meetings and responding to emails. It can be easy to turn off your brain and move through the “To-Do” list. We easily lose touch with our thought processes, body tension and attitude. By the time you hit the pillow at night you’re exhausted, irritable and seemingly not looking forward to doing it all over again the next day. Who wants to live like that?!

Below you’ll find some quick tips and resources to help “wake your brain up!”

Tips to Challenge Your Brain

  • Consider your Well Being. Take a gander at the Well Being Wizard Program (*It’s Free!!!*) Create a personal profile (free) and you’ll have access to Well Being Surveys, Questionnaires and daily tips and challenges. This program can help you quickly rate your overall well being (areas like Body, Mind, Mood, Social, Style & Goals). 
  • GO OUTSIDE. Get out of the office and off the couch. A recent Harvard study has shown that going outside is a prescription for better health. This study shows that your Vitamin D levels will go up, you’ll get more exercise, you’ll be happier, your concentration will improve and you may actually start to heal faster. Natural light has been proven to improve mood and healing. Don’t have time for outdoors? Check into supplemental “Happy Bulbs” that emit natural light that simply screw into your lamp. 

    Taken at Beaver Dam Recreation Area at Falls Lake, NC. Photo property of S. Miller.
    Get out and try something new! Taken at Beaver Dam Recreation Area at Falls Lake, NC. Photo property of S. Miller.
  • Do something out of the ordinary. Break up your routine, change your daily pattern or simply do something for yourself. Your brain is used to functioning in a certain order after a while. Breaking up your routine will actually challenge your thought process.
  • Omega-3. Grab some salmon for dinner & take omega-3 fish oil or krill oil. Intake of omega-3 has proven verbal fluency and actually helps produce brain tissue.
  • Be Active. Of course we all can’t do the recommended 30 minutes of exercise every day. If you can, great! Instead of thinking about mundanely exercising, challenge your brain to look for other ways to be active. Maybe once a week go to the local park or if you’re daring maybe rent a kayak and take a stroll in the local lake.
  • Auto-Pilot Challenge. While you’re waiting in line for your coffee, at the doctor’s office, or watching the kids at the playground- grab a crossword or Sudoku. Logic games and puzzles help with concentration and coordination. Your brain is begging for some exercise! Dr. Oz suggests a Memory Matrix game.  Don’t forget to carry a puzzle or novel with you in your back pocket or purse!
    Got 30 seconds? Keep a Sudoku or crossword puzzle in your pocket or get an app on your phone. 
  • Sleep & Rest. Not only does sleep help regenerate your physicality, but it also helps to “reset” your brain. Sleep helps your brain get out of “rut” and resets it have better problem solving skills from a different perspective.
  • Meet New People. Most of the time we get stuck with the same circle of friends and loved ones. Conversing with new people will not only help your listening skills but also boost your confidence. Check out MeetUp to find local events, groups and outings in a safe environment.

~Author: Sarah A. Miller, MA for Miller Counseling Services, PC


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