ways to increase your mental flexibility

Change the context. Take a vacation. Take a walk around the block. Take a coffee break. Change the context or your environment and you’ll feel your mind shift. Exercise offers another great mental boost.

Try something new. Learn to dance, pick up a new language or cook a new recipe. In a study led by Koutstaal, older adults who participated in a variety of novel and stimulating activities over a three-month period showed a significant gain in creativity, problem-solving abilities and other markers of “fluid intelligence” when compared to a control group. Mental flexibility is aided by novelty, and that contributes to brain growth and development throughout a lifetime.

Question your thoughts and words. Become aware of what you’re thinking and saying. Don’t attach to or lock into one way of thinking, Maisel says. Also, notice your language. Dispute those thoughts and words that don’t serve you. Then, substitute them with more productive ideas and phrases.
Plan to be spontaneous. Change up your regular routine. If you’re like Koutstaal and take an evening walk, occasionally venture along a new route. Once in a while alter the order of your day.