If you’re anything like most of the world’s population, you probably spend more time than you would like in front of some screen or another. From our work PCs to our mobile phones, the internet dominates much of our daily lives, but did you know internet usage could actually be beneficial for the health of your brain?
Just like any of the modern-day tools that are at our disposal, it’s how we use the internet that determines whether or not we get the benefit. If you regularly use it for procrastination, it will never be more than a distraction. However, if you choose to use it with a specific goal or purpose in mind, it can be one of your most powerful tools for self-improvement, and boost your brain in the process.
Here are 5 simple ways to use the internet to keep your brain in shape.
Social media apps and websites are ubiquitous, but have you ever stopped and considered how you’re using these platforms? Far from being a source of distraction, platforms like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram can help you build new, meaningful social connections. If you find yourself scrolling through the same newsfeeds over and over again, try joining some groups based on your hobbies or interests, or follow some local organizations that interest you – they can be a great catalyst for making new social connections.
Take advantage of free video chat software like Skype or Zoom to stay in contact with friends and relatives, especially those who live in other locations. Maintaining a strong social network can have a positive effect on both mood and mental function, and if you aren’t able to meet in the real world, meeting virtually is the next best thing.
One of the main benefits of using social media is that you can easily stay in contact with a lot of people. In that matter, you can maintain many friendships with people who moved to other cities or even countries. Besides that, there are many groups and pages on social networks where you can find people with similar opinions, and you can contact them. Moreover, you can share your thoughts, some important moments, photos, videos, and get appreciated by many of your followers.
2. Play some challenging games
As a plastic organ, the brain needs to be challenged and stimulated on a regular basis. Just like you take care of your physical body by participating in regular exercise, you can give your brain a good workout by playing online games.
You may already be a fan of playing video games online, but if you really want to reap the benefits it’s time to switch your focus to something a bit more old school. Traditional games like chess and poker, and logic puzzles like sudoku are much more challenging than most modern games, and you can easily log on to play online versions at platforms like Chess 24, PokerStars, and Sudoku.com.
Besides the positive effects on your cognitive functions, many of these video games can also improve your coordination, memory, multitasking ability, problem-solving, and social skills. Also, even some popular video games could help you to develop or improve some of your skills.
3. Learn a new language
Being able to communicate in a new language can open up all sorts of opportunities, and it can also have a profound effect on brain health. Numerous studies have been conducted that suggest bilingualism can positively impact neurological structures and processes, leading to improved memory and even an increase in grey matter volume. And one of the best ways to learn a new language is to get online.
The worldwide web offers up plenty of options. From Duolingo to Memrise, there is a wealth of free platforms that can be used to get a basic understanding of new languages. Then there are more in-depth, premium courses that can be taken online, as well as distance-learning language degrees from the likes of Oregon State University for US students and Manchester Metropolitan University for UK residents.
Also, you should know that learning other languages has many advantages besides improved communication skills, such as better memory, improved brain functions, sharper mind, better academic performances, multitasking skills, and much more. You can go to study in some other country, and prepare much easier for that move if you know their language. Also, you will enjoy much more in your traveling adventures when you can communicate with local people.
4. Research your favorite topics
A well-respected study into internet usage concluded that regularly using the internet to conduct research can stimulate brain function. Carrying out structured research, not just mindlessly searching or scrolling through websites, can trigger key centers in the brain that govern both decision making and reasoning. So, the next time you’re tempted to head down a YouTube spiral, open up Google instead and get researching your favorite topics.
You can use the internet for both entertainment and education. A lot of people are missing the second one and spend the most time while watching funny videos or playing video games. However, there are numerous sources related to any topic you find interesting. For example, if you are interested in sport, you can find detailed analyses about sports clubs, their history, current team, transfers, rumors, achievements, and more. Besides research, you can find a lot of new stuff as well, and improve your knowledge.
5.Upgrade your soft skills
More than ever we are called upon to use important soft skills like problem-solving, adaptability, critical observation, communication, and leadership, and not just in our professional lives either. Soft skills are vital for navigating all the challenges that life likes to throw our way, and there are all sorts of online courses on the world wide web that can give yours an upgrade.
Platforms like Udemy and study.com offer a range of courses aimed at developing emotional intelligence, decision making, and interpersonal skills. Meanwhile, the Open University has some useful free resources covering key topics like personal branding, diversity, and leadership.
The main advantage of the internet is that it represents an unlimited source of information, and you can always find something you did not know before. With the proper use of the online platform, you can develop new skills. Maybe you will find something that will amaze you, but you never knew that it is so interesting to you.
Building soft skills can help you in any area of life. You can become much more successful at work, but also in private life. For example, you will learn how to deal with issues or conflicts. Moreover, creating friendships or finding a partner will become easier as well. Nevertheless, you can improve or develop many other skills such as cooking, working out, repairing stuff, and more.
As you can see, there are many more possibilities on the internet than just simple entertainment. With the proper use of it, you can develop many skills, improve the brain functions, meet new people, stay in contact with your friends and family, and a lot more.
We can see the important advantage of the internet during 2020, where many people had to stay at home during the lockdown, and online platforms provided us with the ability to work from home, which saved a lot of people from losing their jobs. Also, kids can attend online classes, which reduces the risks of getting infected by the coronavirus. The most important about the internet is to learn how to use all of the benefits it can provide.