Last updated: Jun 03, 2008

You know that your morning cup of coffee or afternoon soda can do wonders for perking you up.

But did you know that becoming emotionally involved in an issue can make you sharper too, sans the caffeine? “When youre engaged in something, your brain forms new neural connections—and the more and longer you get involved, the more those changes occur,” says John Roache, PhD, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Texas Health Center in San Antonio. “Its a use-it-or-lose-it situation,” he says. “The brain is always changing, turning over, and getting rid of unused neural circuits and tracks.” There is even some existing evidence that being actively engaged in something long-term can ward off dementia.

Get more brain power by giving in to your inner political junkie. If you only casually keep up with politics, for example, go ahead and dive in. Theres enough controversy and debate to make your head reel (and your brain work overtime).


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