“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future concentrate the mind on the present moment.” Novel is a very simple way to stimulate brain for a normal person who has no much time to spend on exercises. Recent studies reveal much more about Novel.
Dr.Arnold Scheibel, a neuroscientist, believes firmly that novel tasks stimulate brainpower. Challenge the brain with anything new and different. He advise people to do things they have never done before. He recently took up sculpture. Novelty is very biologically stimulating to the brain. The Novelex program calls for providing the brain with the novel, unique and different experiences on a day- to-day basis. They shpuld constitute non-routine and unexpected experiences using various combinationa of your physical senses vision, hearing, taste, smell and touch. It differs from other types of brain exercises, such as solving puzzles, riddles, magic squares, mathematical/accounting problems and memory activity. Novelex makes use of the five senses in novel ways to develop the brains natural drive to form associations between different types of information.
In the book Keep Your Brain Alive, authors Lawrence C Katz and Manning Rubin make use of the word Neurobics to describe the exercises referred to here as Novelex. I prefer to use the word Novelex as all the exercises given below are based on the principle of novelty.
Adults frequently go through life in remarkably fixed routines. Most of their actions are utterly predictable and free from surprises. The result is that our brain’s ability to make new associatations declines. Usual behavior is almost subconscious in nature and performed using a minimum of brain energy. Thus the brain gets a little exercise. The power of the cortex to create new associations is, therefore, not properly utulised. The human brain hunger for novelty. It is designed to respond to new information coming from the outside world. The brain gets stimulated when novel and unexpected stimuli are presented. It is what turns the brain on. In response to novelty, cortical activity is increased in more and varied brain areas, This strengthens synaptic connections, links different areas together in new patterns, and pumps up the production of neurotrophins.
Novelex is neither passive nor routine. It uses the senses in novel ways to break out of everyday routines. The latest brain imaging studies have clearly established that novel tasks activate large areas of the cortex, indicating increased levels of brain activity in sevetal distinct areas. Of the five senses with which we establish contact with the outside world, we mostly rely on only the two senses of vision and hearing. The other senses of taste, amell and touch are rarely used. Novelex makes use of all the senses.
Any exercise program demands time. One should be highly motivated to set aside a particular time slot to make up a physical training program. Fortunately, Novelex programs are designed in such a way that they fit into what you do routinely, without taking extra time. They are recommended as a lifestyle choice, not as a crash course or a quick fix. Simply by making small changes in your daily habits, you can turn daily routines into ‘mind-building’ exercise. However, Novelex exercisr should not become a regular affair.
a) Involve one or more of your senses in a novel way. We regularly use the sense of vision for most of our regular activities. When the feeling of vision is blocked, you are forced to use other senses. For example, get dressed for office with your eyes closed.
b) Have a bath with the eyes closed. All the activities relating to bathing should be done with the eyes closed. Your hands will probably notice varied textures of your brain g on your own body, which you were not aware of earlier.
c) Make liberal use of your non-dominant hand. If you are right handed, start using your left hand for most routine work like brushing your teeth, buttoning clothed, opening the doors, turning on switches, etc. A variety of things can be done using your left hand. When you use your left hand, your right brain is stimulated, which we rarely stimulate.
d) If you are habituated to use ball pen, use pencil or ink pen
e) Take a different route to your office/school or college. When you go on your regular route, your brain gets on automatic pilot. When anything is done automatically without any awareness, the brain is not stimulated at all. When you take a new route, all your senses must be alert while you drive.
f) If you want to read fast, silent reading is recommended. But if you want t
o Stimulate the brain reading aloud helps. You may ask a friend to read you. When you read aloud or listen to someone read, you use very different circuits than when you read silently. Brain imaging clearly showed three distinct brain regions lighting up when the same word was read, spoken or heard. For example, listening to words activated two different areas in the left and right hemispheres of the cortex, while speaking words enabled in the motor cortex on both sides of the brain as well as the cerebellum. Just looking at the phrase enables only one area of the cortex in the left hemisphere.
g) If you are a South Indian occasionally try North Indian dishes
h) You may also change the order of eating, say, start with dessert. Your brain will thank you for such a change.
i) Try to identify the items of food on your plate only through the sense of smell.
j) When you go for a walk in the morning, try to change the route every day. If you walk in a park, try to walk with eyes closed.
k) If you plan a vacation, visit new places and interact with new people. The mor e you travel the more would be the brainpower. Travel broadens the vision and perception and also stimulates
the brain. Travelling is something novelex for the senses.
l) Write something creative. Creative activity stimulates the brain.
m) Learn sign language. This would not only help you communicate with the challenged people comfortably, but stimulate the brain because of the novel way of communicating.
n) In office or at home, once in a way, reposition the furniture and furnishings.
o) Learn new language, acquire new skills and also try to understand and operate a new gadgets.
p) Constantly change the pattern of what ever you are doing.
All these techniques are useful for common people, Anyone can practice some of these in normal life. If you are interested you can suggest some.
commands are welcome