5 Ways to Refresh Your Mind

Spring always feels like such a time of renewal and awakening. People often use it as a reason to “spring clean” their homes—to tidy up and make things feel fresh and new. Reorganizing all your closets, cupboards, and drawers can help you feel re-energized, but doing a cleanup of your mind and brain can really help you feel like you are starting the season with a clean slate.

If you are looking for a fresh start, why not begin by doing a little spring cleaning on your mind?


Get a Good Night’s Sleep

woman with eyes closed asleep in bed
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A good night’s sleep can certainly leave you feeling refreshed, but getting regular sleep is actually critical to your brain’s health. Sleep has been shown to improve memory, and one study even found that sleeping after you learn something new results in actual changes in the brain and better retention. Some other important benefits of sleep?

Research has shown that sleep-deprived people handle stress less effectively and that chronic lack of sleep might even contribute to obesity. One study even found that sleep deprivation might even result in serious and lasting brain damage, killing off cells in important regions of the brain.

So, if you are trying to refresh your brain, start by getting a good night’s rest.



A young woman with smartphone in an arm band standing outdoors in the city, stretching.
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Exercise obviously has a wide range of benefits, but research is increasingly demonstrating that being physically fit is vital to your brain’s current and future health.

One study found that being fit early in life at age 25 is linked to better cognitive abilities during middle age. Another study revealed that people who were in poor physical shape in middle age experienced a greater loss of brain volume in older age than did those who were very fit at age 40.

Studies have also demonstrated that exercise can indeed make people smarter. Those who exercise do better on mental tests, have better memories and are better at paying attention.


Eat Right

Grain Bowl with Peanut Sauce
Enrique Díaz / 7cero / Getty Images

A healthy diet can also help contribute to a healthy mind. Certain nutritional deficiencies can lead to mental confusion and memory problems, such as vitamin B-12 deficiency.

Fatty acids are also essential for proper brain function since they help protect the brain and aid in oxygenation. Fish, nuts, and seeds are good sources of these fatty acids.



Young woman sitting on couch at home meditating
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While people sometimes make the mistake of thinking meditation is just for relaxation, there has been plenty of research to demonstrate the powerful impact that meditating can have on the mind and body.

Studies have found a huge range of benefits including lowering stress, improving memory, better sleep, and better attention. One study found that the brain is able to process certain types of information better during meditation and that letting your mind wander during meditation may be one of the best ways to reduce stress and increase concentration.

If you want to reap some of these many advantages, consider becoming one of the more than 45 million people in the United States who practice meditation. Mindfulness meditation is one of the most effective types of mediation.


Manage Your Stress

A man listening to music with his eyes closed.

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Stress can wreak havoc on both your mind and body. It can impede your memory, suppress your immune system, and make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. Fortunately, there are things that you can do to help keep your stress levels in check and better manage the daily stresses you have to deal with.

Start by developing a stress relief plan that suits your life. Identify your sources of stress and think about some of the things you can do to minimize or cope with such pressure. You can also explore some quick stress relief techniques such as breathing exercises and meditation.

These are just a few things you can do to help keep your brain in tip-top shape.

11 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  3. Zhao Z, Zhao X, Veasey SC. Neural Consequences of Chronic Short Sleep: Reversible or Lasting?. Front Neurol. 2017;8:235.  doi:10.3389/fneur.2017.00235

  4. Zhu N, Jacobs DR, Schreiner PJ, et al. Cardiorespiratory fitness and cognitive function in middle age: the CARDIA study. Neurology. 2014;82(15):1339-46.  doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000000310

  5. Spartano NL, Himali JJ, Beiser AS, et al. Midlife exercise blood pressure, heart rate, and fitness relate to brain volume 2 decades later. Neurology. 2016;86(14):1313-1319.  doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000002415

  6. Ten brinke LF, Bolandzadeh N, Nagamatsu LS, et al. Aerobic exercise increases hippocampal volume in older women with probable mild cognitive impairment: a 6-month randomised controlled trial. Br J Sports Med. 2015;49(4):248-54.  doi:10.1136/bjsports-2013-093184

  7. Skerrett P. Vitamin B12 deficiency can be sneaky, harmful. Harvard Medical School. January 2013.

  8. Sharma H. Meditation: Process and effects. Ayu. 2015;36(3):233-7.  doi:10.4103/0974-8520.182756

  9. Vago DR, Zeidan F. The brain on silent: mind wandering, mindful awareness, and states of mental tranquility. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2016;1373(1):96-113.  doi:10.1111/nyas.13171

  10. Use of Yoga and Meditation Becoming More Popular in U.S.. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. November 2018.

  11. 5 Things You Should Know About Stress. National Institutes of Health.

By Kendra Cherry
Kendra Cherry, MS, is the author of the "Everything Psychology Book (2nd Edition)" and has written thousands of articles on diverse psychology topics. Kendra holds a Master of Science degree in education from Boise State University with a primary research interest in educational psychology and a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Idaho State University with additional coursework in substance use and case management.