25 Ways To Enrich Your Brain Experience

by Stephen Mills on April 16, 2009

Enrich Your Brain

One of the best things you can do for your brain is to provide it with new experiences and new things to learn.  If you do the same thing in the same way every time then you are not stimulating new growth.  Even those things you most love to do should be done with variety.  Variety is the spice of life and a fertilizer for the brain.

Make sure you include physical activities because  much of your brain is dedicated to control of your body.  Here are my top 25 ways to enrich your brain experience.  Please help me come up with 25 more.  Leave a comment with your favorite ways to enrich your brain.  I’m sure I missed some important ones.

  1. Practice Creativity – Use it or lose it.  When you use it you gain more.  Please practice creative thinking and grow your mind.  The Imaginative Mind: Mental Creativity and Creativity Techniques.
  2. Walk Backwards – Seriously!  These types of unusual experiences are super brain stimulators.  Getting your body involved stimulates different parts of your brain.
  3. Become Ambidextrous – Use your non-dominant hand to to everything you can.  Eat with it draw with it, brush your hair with it, whatever.  This is a powerful tip!
  4. Read Upside Down – You can do it.  It’s not that hard.  Try it.
  5. Love Someone – Find and nurture that special relationship that will fertilize your brain for the rest of your life.  And that’s just a beneficial side-effect!
  6. Vary Your Routes – When you walk or run, travel a new route.  The more varied the better.  Take as many different routes on your commute as you can find.  When you are walking or riding don’t stare straight ahead.  Look to the sides and take in as much as you can.  Vary what you pay attention when making different trips on the same route.
  7. Vary Your Other Habits – Whatever habits you have or whatever things you like to do repetitively; vary them.  Introduce new experiences into them.  If you like to read then read widely varying types of books.  Read books you disagree with.  Go to a different church every week.  Go to a different supermarket.  Go to a different restaurant.  The more varied the better.
  8. Travel to New Places – Every time you can go someplace you haven’t been before, you are stimulating your brain.  You are strengthening existing pathways and creating brand new ones.
  9. Go Foreign – Travelling or living in a different culture is fantastic.  Your brain will be challenged constantly.  If you can pull this one off then do it!  Watch foreign language films.
  10. Vary Your Exercise Routine – I hope you’re getting the picture now!  Do something different.  Habit is easy, novel is good for your brain.
  11. Dance – Dancing is a great mind / body experience for your brain. Stimulate some new neurons.
  12. Beat Boredom7 Ways to Beat the Boredom Blues Boredom is the enemy of an active and growing brain.
  13. Learn a New Language – Fantastic and challenging exercise for your brain.
  14. Do Brain Exercises – Some companies have come up with specific programs for brain stimulation.  I like “nerogizers” from Mark Joyner.  It’s $4.95 per month with a 7 day free trial.
  15. Step Outside Your Comfort Zone – This is tremendous for your brain.  Do something that stretches you and makes you somewhat uncomfortable.  This practice has other incredible benefits which will be the subject of a future article.
  16. Try New Foods – First of all savor and experience your food.  Secondly, eat a wide variety of healthy foods.  Get into cooking and create a lot of different dishes.  You will use all of your senses by becoming your own chef.
  17. Solve Games and Puzzles – Solve crosswords, Sudoku, etc.
  18. Do Brain TeasersCheck out this site.
  19. Draw Pictures – Use that underutilized right brain and draw.  You don’t have to be good.  Just draw and doodle to your heart’s content.  Boost this one by drawing with your non-dominate hand occasionally.
  20. Write in Longhand – Stop typing on the computer all of the time.  A perfect way to write is to keep a journal.
  21. Play Video Games – OK, I hate this one and I hate them.  However, stop worrying about your children.  Unless they are violent, some exposure to video games are good for their brain and yours.  Try it yourself.  But play different games and not the same one over and over.
  22. Meditate – Meditation is a powerful brain booster.  Here are some meditation techniques.
  23. Stimulate All of Your Senses – Stop and smell the roses – literally!  When you are walking stop and touch the flowers, tough the trees, lay down in the grass and drink in the aroma.  Listen to the birds, the traffic, whatever.  Open your senses to the incredible world that is happening around you.
  24. Listen to a Variety of Music Styles – Whatever you listen to, change it up sometimes.  Classical music is great.
  25. Form New Relationships – Experience people in all their magnificent diversity.  Make new friends and connections constantly.

Add your tips in the comments.  Subscribe to The Rat Race Trap by Email here or to a reader in the top left sidebar.  I would love to have you aboard.

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Resources - April 2009 | Learn This
May 1, 2009 at 11:15 pm

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Alik Levin | PracticeThis.com April 16, 2009 at 5:44 am

OK! You convinced me – #21 is a winner! 😉

I was once addicted to Duke Nukem …ehm 10 years ago… Since then the most exciting computer game for me is Microsoft Word. HAHA. Thank you for the encouragement, partner! I am back – “Damn, those alien bastards are gonna pay for shooting up my ride! ” – LOL!

Good stuff, Stephen! Sorry for my sense of humor 😉 . On a serious note #15 is really it. Stretching and getting out of the comfort zone is a good way to train brain muscles and more


Dennis Dalton April 16, 2009 at 6:02 am

Good idea for an article! Form new realtionships and meditate are the two I would like to work on, but they should all bee addressed regularly. Its easy to fall into habitual, non-stimulating living.


Roger | A Content Life April 16, 2009 at 7:44 am


Excellent ideas! I imagine that the more awkward you are trying the idea, the better it is for your brain.

Here are a couple of more:

1. Try a completely new form of exercise like Yoga.
2. Learn to play a musical instrument.


Mike King April 16, 2009 at 8:16 am

A Few more to change your regular routine and break the patterns:

3. Brush your teeth with the opposite hand. (And get good at it!)
4. Use your computer mouse with the opposite hand.
5. Learn a new keyboard layout for typing (Dvorak)
6. Do common tasks blindfolder
7. Have a conversation without speaking
8. Smile and introduce yourself to strangers (Brain is triggered by faces and associations)


Robin Easton April 16, 2009 at 10:32 am

Hi dear Stephen, what a wonderfully creative and fun list. Excellent!! I am touched by and love your #5. “Love Someone.” Soooo amazing. YES!! and it needn’t be a personal “life mate”. It could be an elder in a nursing home, a child we take under our wing that is not even our own child, a homeless person…anyone.

I also enjoyed Mike King’s #7 “Have a conversation without speaking”. His #8 is something I do on a daily basis. People laugh at me because I’ll talk with/introduce myself to people everywhere I go. Lol!! I’ve nothing to lose! 🙂

Your list is already very full. The only other thing I might add to it is: “Face what you fear.” From my own personal experience facing fear is one of the MOST powerful things we can do. Talk about expand the brain…Wow!! Facing fear uplifts us, heals our entire being and allows us to live in perpetual altered states of awareness. I hate even using “altered” as I believe it is our natural state and potential to be fully aware and fearless. Thereafter using fear only as a guide to warn or make choices. Fear can cripple and “bridle” our entire being, especially the mind. It’s a bit like being in a straight-jacket and trying to use your arms. When we don’t face what we fear our entire brain, body and being has to work very hard to keep the fear shoved down, buried and at bay. This not only requires GREAT amounts of energy, but when we shut down or shove down our fear, we not only shove the fear down we shove everything else with it. It is very hard to selectively “shut down”. A part of our brain is continually being used to carry out the “shut down” or “bury it” function. So we are are not only draining our brains but we are drawing away capacity that could be used for other functions. I hope this makes sense and is at least somewhat clear. Lol!! :))

Once again you have inspired me and given me fodder for my own writing. I think I’ll use this for a post. : ) Thank you my very good friend for being such an inspiration. Robin :))


Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills April 16, 2009 at 11:46 am

Way to mix it up Stephen,

Walking backwards (#2) might sound weird but I can tell you from experience that it throws your brain a curve. My driveway is about 700 feet long, uphill with curves. A couple of years ago I started walking (and jogging) up it backwards as a brain exercise. I don’t allow myself to look where I am going which means navigating by seeing where I’ve been and trying to stay centered on the road. It’s a simple exercise that also is slightly outside the comfort zone (#15). Going uphill backwards also recruits an entirely different set of motor nerves and requires an unfamiliar posture. Just one example of how a simple deviation from the norm can arouse a whole new set of neural pathways. Great list!


Stephen - Rat Race Trap April 16, 2009 at 7:18 pm

@Alik, Thanks for your thoughts as usual. You are right, the brain first tries to keep you in your comfort zone to keep you safe, but it improves by getting out of that zone.

@Dennis, You’re right. It’s very easy to stay with your non-stimulating habits!

@Roger, great one! I can’t believe I left off playing a musical instrument.

@Mike, fantastic adds! I like 6, 7, and 8 particularly. I’m going to start introducing myself to everyone!

@Robin, WOW! Thank you friend and I can’t wait to read your new article. That’s a tremendous comment. Mike’s idea and your example make me really want to go find some strangers to meet. 🙂

@Jonathan, yes walking backwards and reading upside down sounded weird to me when I first encountered them. I only read upside down for a while and then I flip it back and go for speed! I’m afraid if I tried to run backwards, somebody would find my brain outside my head somewhere. 🙂 Thanks for the great comment and for “jogging” our brains.


Tracy April 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm

Hi Stephen! Just like the ways to take good care of your brain, the ways to exercise it are all things that almost all of us feel better after doing.


Andrew April 17, 2009 at 8:16 pm


I agree with your points about going to a foreign country and learning a foreign language, and having spent the last four years living and working in Korea, I can personally attest to the benefits of such a move.

That said, if you stay in one country too long (like I have), even a foreign country, you are stimulated at first but then you settle into a rut again (like I have).

One suggestion – learn a new musical instrument. You could even compose your own song!


Stephen - Rat Race Trap April 17, 2009 at 9:17 pm

@Tracy, yes our body tells us the story. Except maybe for reading upside down 🙂

@Andrew, thanks for joining us. Yes, your brain gets bored fast so you have to keep changing it up!


Dan Hutching June 5, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Thanks John I’ll maintain them that way!


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vince August 11, 2015 at 8:11 am

nice ideas there. it will help me alot. But i really think i should have been doing some of these things in earlier stages of my life and to start this things now would make it difficult for me to develop those good qualities those exercises are meant to synthesize for. Its just that, i think when you achieve those qualites , then it’s already too late for you to properly use those abilites for any o those things you desire to achieve.


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