What would a person hope to find if he was trying to refresh his mind? Some kind of meditation exercises? A recipe for peppermint tea? Maybe a Sudoku puzzle or Mensa quiz? Or maybe the opposite of that—maybe something mindless that disengages one’s mind and thus, theoretically, refreshes it?
I’ve been thinking about it on and off for a while, because my web host’s analysis page tells me that this search often turns up. I keep thinking about those weary people looking for ways to refresh their overtaxed, overloaded minds.
Refresh your mind…how could they truly refresh their minds? How do I refresh my mind?
Six Ways to Refresh Your Mind
Here are six ways I’ve discovered to refresh the mind—six ideas to offer mental or intellectual refreshment. Some of them would work better for someone who needs the refreshment of a little intellectual stimulation, while others would work better for someone whose mind is on overload and needs to find some intellectual rest.
- Music. I know that the Mozart Effect has been debated and by some experts claiming faulty research procedures, debunked. Still, how do you feel after listening to Mozart? Or Brahms? Or how about James Taylor? If you need more stimulation, one guy recommended marches. If you need less, find a mellow musician and let those sounds soothe your mental resources. Combine music with exercise (see #3) and you may experience even more enhanced cognitive benefits. They say that making music is extremely beneficial to the mind, as well. Pull out that old piano primer or dust off your guitar. Do-re-mi and all that.
- Recreation. This article from the National Park and Recreation website talks about how recreation can offer mental restoration. I’m partial to combining recreation with being outdoors, which makes me a perfect blogger to promote the National Park and Recreation website, as I just did. Try hiking, if you’re physically capable. Go biking or canoeing. Take the kids to the park and walk a trail. Toss pebbles in the stream. Compare tree bark and identify a leaf or two. Yes, I’m a nature lover.
- Physical exercise. Hey, this is a good segue from #2. Lots of articles in everything from Prevention magazine to Modern Maturity explain how physical exercise benefits not only our bodies, but also our minds. This one offers a nice overview. I know that when I go jogging, my mind clears. When a few days pass with no aerobic exercise, I get a little fuzzy. Sometimes the fuzz thickens to a fog. Or would a fog thicken to fuzz? See? I can’t even think. Anyway, they say that physical exertion seems to stimulate and refresh my mind in addition to all its other benefits. Cool. As you may have read in an old essay of mine, my mom-mind can use all the help it can get.
- Mental exercise. With increased interest in health and wellness for an aging population, research into slowing dementia and Alzheimer’s has resulted in tons of tips for mental stimulation. This article in The Washington Post reviews websites with games purporting increased mental stimulation. (This other article from The Washington Post talks about both physical and mental exercise.) Happy Neuron seems to have consolidated some interesting games. Look around. You’re sure to find some fascinating activities–even the search itself might count for a bit of mental exercise.
- Reading deserves special treatment as a mental exercise. Stay tuned for another blog entry focusing on reading as a means to refresh the mind.
- Find a friend. Or two, or three. Human interaction seems to keep our minds refreshed. I’m a writer–a rather solitary pursuit. I find that my night out with friends keeps me mentally alert–those are the evenings I often generate new ideas for books and articles. They ask good questions and get me thinking. There’s a lot of research out there about people…needing people. I sense a song coming on, so let’s move on to the single most important aspect to refreshing the mind.
- Prayer and Bible study. This is not an obligatory entry included simply because I’m a believer in Jesus Christ. I am convinced that regular Bible reading and study refreshes my mind in a way that no other reading or resource can. Prayer that is grounded in scriptural truth and directed to the Most High God through Jesus Christ offers me a deep, lasting, soul-level refreshment that fills the mind with rich treasures of God’s reality and truth. “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things,” Paul wrote to the Colossians (3:2).
In fact, any other attempt to find peace and refreshment for the mind must begin here, in Christ Himself and in the written Word, to combat the messages that the rest of the world bombards us with. Check out this verse from Romans: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will” (12:2).
I’m on the lookout to discover God’s good, pleasing and perfect will. That sounds like true refreshment, filled with meaning.
That may or may not be what those folks were looking for when they were Googling “refresh your mind.” But it’s a start.