Developing new habits can jumpstart our creativity and even help us grow new brain cells, reports the New York Times. Research by authors Dawna Markova and M. J. Ryan suggests that stretching—but not stressing—yourself can develop your mind and creative skills.
"Getting into the stretch zone is good for you," Ms. Ryan says [...]"It helps keep your brain healthy. It turns out that unless we continue to learn new things, which challenges our brains to create new pathways, they literally begin to atrophy, which may result in dementia, Alzheimer's and other brain diseases. Continuously stretching ourselves will even help us lose weight, according to one study. Researchers who asked folks to do something different every day—listen to a new radio station, for instance—found that they lost and kept off weight. No one is sure why, but scientists speculate that getting out of routines makes us more aware in general."
The article recommends making continuous but small improvements by practicing a Japanese technique called kaizen to stay in the sweet spot of stretching but not stressing yourself. See also how guest author Jason Thomas practices his personal kaizen. If you're a kaizen practitioner or just a believer in continuous improvement and habit-developing, let's hear how you stay sharp in the comments.