Brain Health Mental Exercises Simple Tricks to Exercise Your Brain By Mark Stibich, PhD Mark Stibich, PhD Mark Stibich, PhD, FIDSA, is a behavior change expert with experience helping individuals make lasting lifestyle improvements. Learn about our editorial process Updated on April 10, 2020 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Shaheen Lakhan, MD, PhD, FAAN Medically reviewed by Shaheen Lakhan, MD, PhD, FAAN Shaheen Lakhan, MD, PhD, is an award-winning physician-scientist and clinical development specialist. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print Your brain's fitness depends on how much it is used. Every time you do something new or different, you create new neural pathways. These simple tricks will help give your brain a workout. 1 Use Your Opposite Hand Thanasis Zovoilis / Getty Images Spend the day doing things with your non-dominant hand. If you are left-handed, open doors with your right hand. If you are right-handed, try using your keys with your left. This simple task will cause your brain to lay down some new pathways and rethink daily tasks. Wear your watch on the opposite hand to remind you to switch. 2 Only Use Lists as Backup ColorBlind / Getty Images Lists are great, but we can become too reliant on them. Make your grocery list, but then try to shop without it. Use the list once you have put every item you can think of in your cart. Do the same with your "to do" lists. 3 Learn Phone Numbers Image Source / Getty Images Our modern phones remember every number that calls them. No one memorizes phone numbers anymore, but it is a great memory skill. Learn a new phone number every day. 4 Prepare One Story Every Day Portra Images / Getty Images Each morning think up one story that you will have ready to tell people. The story can be about something recent or from your past. Try to figure out the most entertaining way to tell the story. If someone calls or stops by, you will have something to talk with them about. It will make you more interesting while exercising your memory. 5 Observation Games Uwe Umstaetter / Getty Images Each day pick a specific thing to observe. You may decide to pay attention to what people are wearing one day. Everywhere you go, and on TV, note how people dress and think about why certain people dress the way they do. Give your brain something to think about. The next day, choose something else to observe. 6 Go a Different Way vm / Getty images Drive or walk a different way to wherever you go. A little change in routine helps the brain practice spacial memory and directions. Try different side streets, go through stores in a different order—anything to change your route. 7 Break the Routine Arnold Media / Getty Images Do something in a different order. Eat breakfast for dinner. Do your errands first thing in the morning. Drink coffee in the afternoon. Do your daily tasks in a new order. Notice how the change feels and what is good or bad about the new order. 8 Solve a Problem Hero Images / Getty Images Pretend you are starting a business and think about how you would solve a problem. What would you sell and to whom would you sell it? Who are your competitors and how would you beat them? Give your brain something to chew on. The next day, pretend you are starting an organization to fight hunger—what new ideas can you come up with? Have fun with problem-solving to make new connections in the brain. 9 Make Lists PhotoAlto / Odilon Dimier / Getty Images Lists are wonderful. Making lists helps us to associate items with one another. Make a list of all the places you have traveled to. Make a list of the most disgusting foods you have eaten. Make a list of the best presents you have been given. Make one list every day to jog your memory and make new connections. 10 Read a Book DreamPictures / Getty Images Pick a book on an entirely new subject. Read a novel set in India. Learn about economics. There are many excellent popular non-fiction books that do a great job entertaining you while teaching about a subject. Become an expert in something new each week. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist Online Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.