How can I check my brain efficiency

If you want to improve your brain performance, there is one thing you should stop doing

To be able to fully develop and use all areas of our brain - that is still pure science fiction. Still, many people dream of reaching their full potential.

While we wait for the dream to become a reality at some point, we can take action ourselves. The brain is a complex and fascinating organ that we can train like a muscle. Those who do this not only have some advantages in their professional and private life, but also protect themselves against diseases.

In a study, scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital examined so-called "superagers", people older than 65 years but with the brain power of their mid-twenties. The aim of the study was to find out if there was a visible difference between the brains of the "superagers" and normal brains of their peers, Lisa Feldman Barrett, one of the study's authors, told the New York Times.

For exceptional performance, you need to train certain areas of your brain

The researchers actually found it: While certain areas of the “Superager” brain had thickened areas, the normal brains did not show this anomaly. However, the affected brain regions were not, as one might suspect, those responsible for cognitive processes that can be trained using crossword puzzles and brain teasers (such as the lateral prefrontal cortex). Rather, those areas that are associated with strong emotions (such as the anterior cingulate cortex and the islet cortex) were particularly pronounced in the test subjects.

Unfortunately, that doesn't mean for you that you only have to watch a dramatic film every now and then, which really presses on the lacrimal gland in order to increase your brain performance for life. You have to work on something. Work very hard. So if you want to increase your brain power, there is one thing you shouldn't do anymore: give up!

What you absolutely have to do: leave comfort zones. The trick is to keep facing new challenges. Challenges of the order of magnitude that make you feel bad at first - that frustrate, tire you, push you to your limits; whether physically or mentally does not matter.

Also read: "A neuroscientist explains a trick that will make you learn skills twice as quickly"

The US Navy has a motto that serves as a good summary of the principle: "Pain is weakness leaving the body". The unpleasant part of the exertion later turns into something positive: more discipline, greater fitness, better brain performance.

That means: Don't be satisfied so quickly. Pleasant memory and puzzle games like Sudoku are not enough to make you a "superager". Learn a new language or instrument, train for a marathon, take an online college course, practice singing, drama, or dance for the stage. "You have to exert yourself enough to feel a little disgust," writes Feldman Barrett.

So don't give up when things get difficult. Keep going until it hurts. And then a little more. You will be rewarded!

This article was published by Business Insider in November 2019. It has now been reviewed and updated.