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3 Tips for Becoming Mentally Sharper


There’s plenty of information to be found in magazines, on the Internet, and in your local fitness centre, about how to become physically fitter in a variety of different ways.

There is, however, less information out there about how to become mentally sharp – and out of the suggestions that do exist, a lot of them are pretty speculative and don’t have much objective basis.

All the same, having a sharp mind generally takes you a lot further in life than having a good VO2 max or shredded abs, in and of themselves.

Here are a few tips for becoming mentally sharp (that may actually work.)


Get some good old-fashioned physical exercise in

Alright, so it’s pretty ironic to promote exercise after just mentioning how mental sharpness is more beneficial than physical fitness. In fact, though, getting physically fit is actually one of the best ways of getting mentally sharp, too.

Research has consistently found that when people regularly work out and maintain good physical condition, they score better on problem-solving tasks, appear to have a better working memory, and are just more mentally “on point” as a rule.

Exercise that gets your heart rate up seems to be the most beneficial here – meaning that “aerobics” and “cardio” might generally be more fruitful avenues to explore than certain types of weight training.

Then again, there are certainly plenty of resistance training systems that will help you to get bigger biceps, will also leaving you completely out of breath.

Ultimately, you should pick some type of exercise that you enjoy and can stick with. But in any case, be sure to get some good old-fashioned physical exercise in. Sleep well, too. That’s a major factor in fitness and mental performance alike.


Try out mental puzzles and pattern recognition games when killing time

There is, unfortunately, a good degree of data out there suggesting that “brain training” games don’t really do what they say they’ll do, in terms of improving your overall mental performance.

Nonetheless, it might still help you out indirectly to do some mental puzzles and pattern recognition games when you’re killing time. Think along the lines of a game of sudoku, or playing around with anagrams, with the help of a word unscrambler.

While these kinds of mental puzzles may not make you “smarter” per se, they may nonetheless improve your pattern recognition skills, and make you more comfortable with problem-solving on the fly.


Develop a wide range of hobbies and interests, and keep trying new things

In the book, “The Brain That Changes Itself,” author Norman Doidge looks a lot of remarkable case studies in which people’s brains restructure themselves in ways previously thought impossible.

In one case, Doidge looks at the example of an elderly man who is remarkably mentally sharp for his age – and points out that the man in question practices a habit of always having some active “passion” or hobby going at any one moment. Equally as important is that he changes out each hobby after a couple of years.

There’s some evidence that committing to life-long learning, and the exploration of new fields and disciplines, helps keep the brain limber and healthy later into life.

So, pick up some hobbies.

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