For most, the early years of life are dedicated to study. They spend time learning about the world around them, pick a course for the future, and get the education they need. Once graduation day comes, however, many are left wondering how to keep themselves sharp. While the lure wasted time can be tempting, it’s important to keep your brain sharp even once you’re out of school. Below are four ways you can keep your brain working once you’ve walked across the graduation stage, four methods that will help you to stay mentally flexible and alert as you get older.
Practice an Instrument
Want to keep your mind sharp? If so, you can turn to music for help. Playing any sort of instrument is a great way to keep the synapses firing, and doing so will allow you to be creative long after you’ve gotten your diploma. Music not only allows you to get your creative juices flowing, but the process of writing new music can help to stimulate your mathematical abilities at the same time. While you may not ever be a symphonic superstar, working on your instrument can help you to keep your mind sharp.
Perhaps the best way to keep your faculties at their peak is to continue learning after graduation. While you might have bought into the idea that the end result of learning is supposed to be a piece of paper, learning is great for its own sake. Challenge yourself to learn one new skill every year, or to master one simple activity. Going through the motions of learning something new will have the same impact as academic study, and it might even be the pathway to making your life a little more exciting. Your brain will always stay sharp as long as you keep learning.
Undertake New Challenges
Learning is one thing – doing is another. One of the best ways to keep a sharp mind is to challenge yourself to do something new. Don’t let yourself get into a rut – get out there and accept new challenges. For some, this might mean climbing a mountain. For others, it might mean looking into new financial opportunities (reviews for Success Path, for example, are promising). Novelty is a huge motivator when it comes to learning so don’t limit yourself to the things with which you are comfortable. If you can put yourself out there, you will be able to improve yourself while you learn.
There’s no better food for the mind than a good book. Unfortunately, many people stop reading after they realize they won’t be assigned homework. Doing this will only hurt you, of course, and it will keep you forever separated from a fantastic source of inspiration and education. Challenge yourself to read one book a month (or a week, if you’re daring) to really throw yourself into the world of books. A good book can become a life-long companion, and might ignite the spark that is necessary to get your brain back into a learning mode after graduation.
If nothing else, it should be clear that the key to staying sharp after graduation is to be in a constant process of doing. While you may not be graded on your activities, your life will suffer or prosper based on how you use your time. Whether you are learning a skill, undertaking a challenge or just sitting down to read, you’ll be able to change the way your mind works and keep your mind flexible. Don’t be fooled into thinking the simplicity of these activities makes them less important – if anything, they may become the defining features of your life.
Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max. Find Kara on Facebook.