Last updated: Mar 15, 2009
Mixing up your routine in these simple ways can do wonders for your brain, mood, and future.


Switch hands
Use your nondominant hand to do daily tasks like brushing your teeth or clicking the computer mouse. This simple change promotes the growth of neurons in the brain, which can sharpen memory and thinking.

“Itll give your brain the regular workout it needs to stay healthy,” says life coach and Health columnist M. J. Ryan, author of AdaptAbility: How to Survive Change You Didnt Ask For (in bookstores in May).

Engage your senses
Get dressed with your eyes closed. One night at dinner, communicate only nonverbally (thats right, no
words). By relying on different senses, you create more neurons in your brain and get more creative.

Try something fresh
It doesnt have to be anything big—a free class at a dance center, a new recipe. You begin to think, I can do this! And that can lead to even greater accomplishments. When you learn a new skill, your brain actually builds new circuitry.

“Think of it as mental cross-training,” Ryan says.

Ask: Whats right about this?
“How you frame something can change everything,” Ryan says. Try to consider the sunny side of a situation rather than focusing on whats wrong with it. So if its pouring rain, instead of stressing about getting drenched, think
of the good it will do for your garden.

The result: A more optimistic and inventive you who can take on just about anything.