Want to train your mind to achieve your highest potential? Want to know the real mind training techniques, the stuff that actually works?

You’re in for a treat.

In this top ten list, I’m about to reveal the most powerful mental power training exercises of all time.

As a meditation teacher, many of my students ask me, “How do I train my mind”? Meditation is definitely one of the best ways to train your mind, but there are many more. 

For instance, thousands of THE DAILY MEDITATION’s readers have used my guide to subconscious power techniques. Subconscious exercises are certainly a fantastic method for unlocking your mind’s full potential.

Then there are the conventional ways, like exercising, nutrition, learning something new, using your non-dominant hand (the now famous method of neurobiologist Lawrence Katz) and so on.

But I’m not going to discuss those here because you already know about them. And I’m certainly not going to discuss brain training games, with have at best mixed scientific validity. I’d rather discuss alternative ways how to improve mind power; techniques you may have never heard about.  

The following methods will improve your attention span, increase positive thinking, boost your cognitive abilities, and strengthen your brain. 

These methods have the power to strengthen neural pathways and networks and are some of the best forms of cognitive training.

Top 10 Mind Training Techniques Of All Time

The mind is a muscle. Here’s how you make it stronger. Just like when you’re doing yoga and trying to get stronger, the more you exercise your mind, the more cognitive load you will be able to carry. 

Set a goal to do one of these mental workouts each day for a minimum of ten minutes

1: Meditation

woman meditating with dog
woman meditating with dog

Doubtlessly, one of the most powerful mind-training techniques of all time is meditation.

There are many meditation mind training techniques. Each of them trains the mind in different ways. So whether you’re looking to build up willpower, heighten your voluntary attention, or fire-up your motivation, meditation will help.

Some meditations have seriously huge effects, and different types of meditation have various benefits. For instance, Metta, which is the Buddhist method of “Loving-Kindness”, trains the mind to be more loving and compassionate. Vipassana, on the other hand, trains the mind to be more aware of thoughts and feelings (and more in control). And Third Eye Meditation trains the mind to be more intuitive and insightful.  

A lot of people want to know how to train the mind to think positively, and honestly, meditative exercises are one of the best methods. 

2: Mindfulness

old woman doing mindfulness in living room
old woman doing mindfulness in living room

Mindfulness is often confused with meditation, but there are critical difference between the two practices.

Mindfulness means living in the moment. It is about focusing on now, not on your thoughts. It’s a method advocated by everyone from spiritual gurus to business leaders to positive psychologists. 

Often, people are stuck in their thoughts and feelings. They do not focus on the present moment but instead on mental phenomena such as internal dialogue. When we live in the moment, we naturally relax and our happiness increases rapidly. Plus, being present-moment minded means we are more focused on what are doing, which ultimately means we have higher concentration, are more productive and more likely to be successful.

Mindfulness can work as a sort of mind toughness training, by which it means it strengthens the mind and makes us less reactive to negative stimuli. It also enhances the brain.

A study by Lutz, Dunne & Davidson (2008) revealed that mindfulness strengthens the amygdala, which is the region of the brain associate with emotional processing. Mindfulness also strengthens the hippocampus, which is the region of the brain associate with memory, according to research from Goldin & Gross (2010). These and countless other studies reveal that mindfulness is one of the most powerful mind-training techniques in the world.

It’s actually very simple to train the mind with mindfulness. Simply find a few activities that you can do while focusing your mind 100% on that activity (examples include showering and exercising).

Mindfulness is also one of the best mind training techniques for studying because it helps the brain to learn faster and to remember. So if you’re studying for that exam and need to memorize tons of information, mindfulness will help.

3: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

cognitive behavioral therapy
cognitive behavioral therapy

Just ignore the fact that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has the word therapy in it because CBT isn’t just about curing problems. You can also use it to train your mind to be more powerful.

CBT is a cognitive therapy method that uses a variety of exercises to improve mental health and reduce mental health complications like anxiety and depression [1]

There are many effective CBT exercise. All of them involve working with your thoughts. For instance, one activity is to notice when you keep thinking recurring negative thoughts. You then challenge that thought in various ways, such as by reminding yourself that it is just a thought, or by creating alternative, healthier thoughts.

Many people ask me how to train the mind to think differently, and in my experience CBT is the most effective method.   The National Institute of Health calls CBT the “gold-standard of psychotherapy”. When it comes to developing mind power, you really cannot beat CBT.

4: Mantras And Affirmations

positive affirmation qoute
positive affirmation qoute

Have you ever wanted to train your mind to have certain qualities (like being confident, for instance)? If so, you should seriously consider mantras and affirmations.

Mantras and affirmations are recited words or phrases. The range from sacred Sanskrit words like “Om” (which is the universal sound in Buddhism) to English phrases such as “I am confident and in control”.

Some mantras have spiritual properties and are many thousands of years old. Sacred texts state that these mantras will gift specific powers to the practitioner.

Affirmations, on the other hand, are mostly positive statements that we repeat in our heads to encourage the development of new positive thoughts. There are many different ways how to train the mind with mantras.

5: Pratyahara Yoga 

You probably already know that if you do yoga, you will improve your mind, right? There are many excellent mental health benefits of yoga. Yoga can reduce mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, and can boost happiness levels.

What you probably don’t know is that the best mind training exercise from yoga is not physical exercise. It’s Pratyahara Yoga.

Pratyahara is a mind training technique in which you withdraw from your senses. This removes you from external stimuli, so you create a psychic defence shield around you.

To practice this, ask yourself what sources of negativity there are in your life, and then replaces them with sources of positivity.

Pratyahara is also a fabulous way of overcoming distractions so you can get through your to-do list quicker.

6: Peak Training While Forcing Positivity

woman running on road in the morning
woman running on road in the morning

Inevitably in this list of mind strengthening techniques we would come to physical exercise. There is an undeniable connection between the body and the brain. A strong body is a strong mind. 

My go to is a twist on peak training,

Peak interval training is a form of physical exercise in which we drive our heart-rate to its highest healthy level. We then reduce the intensity of the workout to relax before pushing again.

When you’re working at your peak fitness level, your mind starts to react. You naturally think about quitting exercising. You begin to come up with reasons why you should stop. For example, you might think, “I’m not that fit so I might as well just stop.” You will naturally bring up some of your negative thoughts. This makes it a perfect opportunity to change those negative thoughts. While you’re working out, observe any negative thoughts and replace them with positive thoughts. This will train you to power through negativity. Then, the next time you think “I can’t…” you will automatically replace it with “Oh yes I can!”

Physical exercise is essential. Research shows that physical exercise helps us to power through distractions, and that students who workout before an exam perform better.

2013 research on the effects of exercise in mice also suggests that exercise increases neurogenesis, the formation of new brain cells, in the hippocampus. 

7:  Imagination

imagination
imagination

One of the best ways how to train your mind is by working on your imagination

Since about the time man started painted on caves, the number one mind training technique for the imagination has been art.

All arts train the imagination. As a former actor, singer, painter, and current writer, art has trained my mind to be incredibly creative and very imaginative.

When we are more creative and imaginative, we are more able to create new solutions to any problems we may be experiencing, and we are more able to create opportunities in all avenues of life, including careers and relationships.

Imagining different things can also help to activate different regions of the brain.

8:  overcome fears

man walking tight rope overcoming fear
man walking tight rope overcoming fear

This is one of the hardest mind training techniques. In fact, most people who read this will lack the courage to do it. That’s understandable. Facing fear is not easy. Not at all. But let me give you a promise.

I promise that if you face your biggest fear right now it will change your life forever and it will train your mind like batshit crazy.

Seriously.

Facing your fears is the number one mind training technique. Because when you can power through your fears, you will find that nothing holds you back. It might not be easy. Intentionally putting yourself into a situation that frightens you is uncomfortable.  However, it also boosts your mental strength.

There is a correct way to do this: Gradually. You do not want to face a terrifying ordeal on day one. Instead, you want to overcome your fears in stages. There is a CBT technique for achieving just this. It’s called Fear Exposure. It means gradually exposing yourself to things you fear. Ask yourself, how could you face your fear in a more comfortable way today? If you’re afraird of the dentist, for instance, just look at a dental brochure, then tomorrow watch a video about it, then the day after that go to a dental office and so on. Gradually exposing yourself to fear in this way is one of the best ways how to train your mind.

9: Mudras 

woman doing anjali mudra from yoga prayer hands
woman doing anjali mudra from yoga prayer hands

One of the best mind training techniques is to use mudras. These are specific hand gestures used in Buddhism, yoga and other spiritual systems.

Mudras take advantage of human body language as well as the acupuncture points in the hands. For instance, the prayer gesture (palms together, fingers pointing upwards) was originally a mudra called Anjali, which is spiritually said to have powerful effects on mental health.

There are well over 60 mudras in total. Each of them trains the mind in different ways.

10: Cultivate your qi

tai chi group in park
tai chi group in park

Qi (or prana) is the energy that flows through all living things. It is the energy that you feel when you are at rest. When this energy flows through us unobstructed, it enhances both our physical and mental health. However, when qi is blocked, it can create health problems, both psychological and physical.

Some ways to strengthen qi include:

summary

These are the real mind training techniques. They are the best ways how to train your mind to unlock your real power.

Note that according to research, people who use a variety of different brain strengthening techniques experience the most benefit, perhaps because mixed training leads to broader brain activation patterns. By incorporating a combination of speed processing training, memory exercises, and reasoning skills. 

It’s important to do the basics too, like eating healthy, workout out, reading, learning new things, and socialising (the latter of which can help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease). 

Another good way to train your mind is to ask yourself some self-reflection questions. This will bring up problem areas you might like to work on.

Which of these techniques is your favourite? Leave a comment and remember to subscribe to our newsletter.

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Written by Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison is a qualified meditation teacher and writer with more than 15 years experience in meditation and mindfulness. He studied meditation in Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University. Paul has helped thousands of people to discover their true potential through mindfulness, yoga and meditation.



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