Our mind is a lot like any other muscle in our body. The more we use it, the stronger it gets. Just as your muscles expand when you exercise regularly, your mind can expand the more you train it. Only in this case, expansion doesn’t refer to an increase in size, but in your ability to think big.
When it comes to the mind, expansion refers to increased knowledge, understanding, and perception. It refers to an enhanced ability to solve problems and to think critically and creatively. This makes us more adaptable, resilient, and innovative and enables us to live a more successful and fulfilling life.
Fortunately, there are many practical and effective ways you can do so. Let’s check out some of them below:
1) Read Books Outside Your Favorite Genres
Do you ever wonder why some of the most successful people on the planet have a common habit of reading books? These people know that books are one of the best ways to expand your mind. And so, they make it a point to read every single day.
Reading is one of the surest ways to expand your knowledge and develop a powerful understanding of the world. It can take you on intellectual journeys and give you different perspectives on countless topics. By reading, you occupy your mind with introspection and contemplation, as well as increasing and diversifying your vocabulary. Reading can also help sharpen our minds while stimulating mental growth—allowing us to form unique opinions and see life from various angles.
Go ahead and try different genres and formats to keep things interesting. This could range from novels and short story collections, literary magazines or comic books. If you don’t have the time to read an actual book, Audible is an excellent choice. With its user-friendly app and library of audiobook titles that range from world-renowned authors to emerging voices, there will never be a lack of compelling stories to choose from. Now you can “read” books when you’re cooking, getting ready for the day, commuting, or cleaning.
2) Learn A New Skill
Learning a new skill is quite exciting, don’t you agree? It’s literally like upgrading yourself. When you learn a new skill, it challenges your brain and helps you expand your thinking. Your brain rewires itself to grasp what you’re learning.
Also, what’s nice is that you don’t necessarily have to learn a complex new skill. There are many approaches you can take to gain new skills, such as:
- Attend a conference
- Basic home repairs
- Batch cooking
- Build a campfire
- DIY projects
- How to change a tire
- How to (finally) fold a fitted sheet
- Learn a new language
- Play the guitar
- Take a course
When you learn something new, your self-esteem increases, and you get a sense of accomplishment. You also begin to understand the skills and abilities that go into different jobs. This, too, can help you see the world in a new way.
3) Travel To New Places
Traveling is one of the best ways to expand your mind. And millions of people have experienced this firsthand. When you travel to new places, you are exposed to different traditions, people, cultures, food, ways of life, ideas, art, music, and a lot more. It’s like stepping into a completely different world and challenging your existing notions.
Naturally, this gives a lot of raw data to your mind to process. And you eventually gain a much deeper understanding of the world and its people. Also, you don’t necessarily have to go to far-off places to reap these benefits. Sometimes, just traveling to a different city or state can do the trick. And if you can’t do that, you can simply go to a nearby weekend getaway every time you get a chance. The moment you step out of your home, you start learning!
4) Engage In Debates
Engaging in healthy (and respectful) debates is another great way of gaining new perspectives, challenging your existing beliefs, learning new things, and gaining new insights.
Also, debating can help develop your critical thinking skills. For example, when someone points out a flaw in one of your beliefs, you need to think hard about how you can counter that point. This teaches you how to evaluate arguments and evidence.
Debating also makes you a better listener. You need to understand what the other person is trying to say so that you can present an effective argument. This development of listening skills expands your mind and makes you a more understanding person.
5) Watch Documentaries and TED Talks
Anyone who has watched an eye-opening documentary, or a TED talk knows how effective they can be at challenging your beliefs and instilling new perspectives into your mind. They also happen to be some of the best sources of knowledge and wisdom! This is probably why millions of people in the world have integrated these two into their daily lives.
Also, documentaries and TED talks cover a whole range of topics and so, you can learn anything from physics and history to cultures and social issues. There are tons upon tons of choices available for even the pickiest of learners.
What’s great about documentaries and TED talks is that the information is presented in a really engaging format. Documentaries have become even more amazing in recent times thanks to advancements in computer graphics and video editing.
6) Practice Mindfulness
Expanding your mind is not only about filling your brain with knowledge. It’s also about enhancing your awareness so that you have a better understanding of the things, people, and situations in your life. This is where mindfulness comes in.
This ancient practice involves paying attention to your thoughts, feelings, and surroundings in the present moment. When you get into the habit of doing this, it naturally improves your focus and increases your awareness. It also helps you think more clearly and creatively.
By practicing mindfulness, you can also improve your concentration, memory, and overall cognitive function. These practices can also help you develop a greater sense of compassion and understanding for yourself and others.
Begin Expanding Your Mind or Thinking Today
From challenging yourself through physical activities, to exercising mindfulness in everyday life, and furthering your knowledge through education; each of these can help contribute to personal growth. Ultimately, expanding your mind is a journey that will never fully reach an endpoint. Constant growth and development lead to forming new perspectives, which can be vital for us all in the ever-evolving world we live in today. This is why it’s important to find a way of learning that’s unique to you—one that pushes limits but is also comfortable enough for you to remain consistent. Take the time out of your schedule to give back to yourself today—you never know what you may uncover.