Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Out of the Box Holiday Gifts: 5 Tips for the Brain

Sometimes the best gifts don't come in a box when it comes to helping a person improve their brain. Frequently, the best thing we can give is a brain exercise or workout. Do you have a friend or a relative that could use a good workout? Here are some out of the box gifts for them.
1. Give them an electronic puzzle that challenges their mathematical reasoning and numeracy. Sudoku games are frequently free to download to your computer or other digital device. If the person you are giving this gift to isn't that familiar with the technology, offer to download the Sudoku program onto their reader (computer or hand held).
2. Introduce them to a new card game. Does your friend know how to play bridge? Do they know the solitaire game Klondike? Learn how to play these games ahead of time, then sit down with your gift recipient and teach the game to them. Learning anything new and productive can be helpful to the brain.
3. Design a new menu for the home kitchen. Are there foods that you eat over and over again? Perhaps it is time to shake things up. Design a menu specifically to improve brain function. Typically, for most people this will involve more fiber and less sugar in their diet. But feel free to customize things as you see fit. There are a wide range of healthy diets. Adopt one that your family will enjoy and have fun with.
4. Sometimes the best thing you can give to help someone's brain is the gift of a good book. There are lots of free electronic books available. A good topic would be something outside of the person's comfort zone. Be sure that you have read the book. Then, give them the electronic version, and discuss the book together a few weeks later. Really get into the deepest meanings in the book. Find that gem of great wisdom, then discuss how you both can apply it to modern society.
5. Learn several jokes by memory, then tell your gift recipient all of them in a row, building up (hopefully) to a big and hearty laugh session. Then do it again a week later. Repeat frequently.
These out of the box gifts can be the perfect thing for holiday gift exchanges whether it be with family, with friends, or with your coworkers. These gifts all do not involve material items, but rather are gifts of pure thought and love. 
Published by Tom Heston MD
Tom Heston MD is a Johns Hopkins trained physician who practices clinical medicine in the Pacific Northwest.