6 ways to improve your brain


Olivia Silvey

Discover out-of-the-box ideas on how to keep your mind sharp and ready for anything.

As high schoolers, keeping our brains healthy might be the last thing on our minds (no pun intended). Clubs, sports, friends and homework are first priority, so there’s not much time to worry about the squishy gray and white matter inside our skull. However, keeping your brain healthy is important. It’s a muscle, and it needs exercise just as much as cross country runners need to run or soccer players need to kick the ball. You can find the usual advice, such as a better diet, a good night’s sleep and daily physical activity, but I’m here to give you some other ideas. Whether you want to keep your brain sharp for the future or simply get your homework done faster, here are some interesting ways to enhance your mind. 


1. Join an improv class.

The idea of improv, which usually means getting up in front of people and acting on the fly, terrifies people (myself included). But Mrs. Schnider, speech and improv teacher, provides KHS with this very important class. Participating in improv is shown to improve quick thinking and creativity, forming more connections in the brain.  Go down to your guidance counselor and add an improv class to your schedule.


2. Memorize (anything).

Although it may seem pointless, memorization can help your brain work more efficiently. This can be quotes, song lyrics, phone numbers or passages of a book, and it doesn’t have to be for any specific purpose. The simple act of memorization increases your brain’s capacity to hold information and complete tasks faster, helping you with homework or other activities— it’s also pretty cool to start spouting Legally Blonde quotes. 


3. Play brain games.

This might be the most obvious one, but I’m talking about more than just Sudoku. Brain games force your brain to think in new ways as well as strengthen memory and concentration. I’m going to vouch for one of the best brain games invented: Tetris. This quick game reinforces spatial thinking. You can find the link for unblocked Tetris here, and the next time your teacher catches you playing, just tell them you’re enhancing your brain. 


4. Write by hand.

Around seven years ago, Kirkwood introduced technology — first iPads, then laptops — to each student. Almost all classes involve it, but I’m here to advocate for the old-school technique of writing by hand. Using pencil and paper helps you remember what you wrote much better than using your laptop. If your classes require technology, write for fun. Buy a cute notebook (here is my favorite) and some nice writing utensils (prepare for some hand cramps). 


5. Change up your routine.

This might be easier for certain people. Some tend to follow an organized day, doing the same things in the same order. For example, you may always brush your teeth before you make your lunch in the morning. This is beneficial in some ways, but changing your routine can spark new ideas in your brain. Some examples include writing with your nondominant hand, taking a different route to school or doing your homework in a new setting.


6. Power nap.

As a busy teen, it may be difficult to fit a nap into your day. It might even be a struggle to get enough sleep at night. However, the best naps don’t last for hours. Small chunks of sleep still provide you with the advantage of a nap without causing grumpiness and more exhaustion when you wake up. Even just a 20 minute nap a few days a week improves memory and alertness. So put aside a small chunk of time, find a pillow and catch some shut eye.