Challenging your mind is as important as taking care of any other part of your body. Whether you are working to keep your brain active and nimble or you have a need to teach yourself a new skill, you should push yourself to make mental exercises a regular part of your routine.

There are a number of fun ways that you can engage your mind. Take a look at the following for some excellent ideas of how you can train your brain and challenge yourself mentally.

Learn a new language

Have you ever wanted to learn a new language? If you can’t decide which language to study, then think about all the places that you would like to visit. Also consider which language might be most useful in your life, based on languages spoken where you live. Taking on a new language requires memorization, and if you practice with a native speaker regularly, it helps you retain the information better.

Play games

Games that involve strategy and thinking several steps ahead are known for flexing your brain. For most people, it is about finding the right game to play and sticking with it. Play any game long enough and you will probably learn the ins and outs.

If you want to challenge yourself by developing strategies at a game with the chance to win money, then you might like to play the lottery. People who win the lottery often develop a pattern to help choose numbers; for experienced players, these lottery strategies can increase the odds of winning big.

There are plenty of board games that involve a bit of strategy also. Card games that require math skills, counting and the process of elimination can be stimulating as well.

Do puzzles

If you are great at noticing details, then you might like to try putting together a jigsaw puzzle. This brainteaser requires you to piece together parts of images to make up the resulting full scene that is depicted on the box. Jigsaw puzzles are great for individuals or small groups. Today, you can even find a variety of three-dimensional puzzle games.

Learn a new skill

Consider learning a new skill or picking up a new hobby. Choose something that is not what you do at work all day, so it can be different and invigorating. With a little Internet research, you might find that you can teach yourself just about anything, but if not, there are many classes for common hobbies.

Learn to cook and enjoy the benefits of healthy food at home. Try gardening or sprucing up your home for fun, exercise and a stunning home as a reward. Take up painting or pottery making so you can create artwork for friends and family. If you become really good at your hobby, you might be able to sell your goods for money, and do-it-yourself projects can save you money, since you won’t have to hire professionals to complete the task.

Build emotional strength

Set your brain up for success by doing an emotional makeover. If you experience serious stress or other negative emotions, then you are much less likely to achieve the goals that you have set. Make a plan to pay attention to your inner monologue and make an effort to reframe negative and downward-spiraling thoughts to more positive thinking.

Spend time making social connections. Even the most introverted or shy person will find that positive social connections with others feeds our brain’s need for companionship. If you want to meet new friends, then seek out a social club or group. Choose a cause that is important to you, and check if there is a group for it in the nearest city by searching the Internet.

Don’t forget to dedicate time to yourself, whether it is quiet time before bed or simply every morning while brushing your teeth, to remind yourself of the positive things in your life and focus on the good. Banish any negativity during this time.

Exercise

Getting exercise is an excellent way to feed your mind. When you get your blood pumping, you will relieve stress, release tension, sleep better and improve your memory. These are all key factors to maintaining your brain health as well.

You can begin slowly with a home-based workout or you might like to join a gym. Many gyms offer classes, from yoga to aerobics. Taking an exercise class also feeds your emotional need for social interaction with others.

Keeping your mind active is essential and should be part of your routine, just as much as brushing your teeth or any other personal hygiene. Remember to have fun and select enjoyable hobbies as a way to challenge your mind.