Fine Sensory Discrimination
Over the past year, I have put a lot of effort into learning to identify the different types of trees in the area. This is no small challenge, as some of them differ only in minute details, and there are numerous different factors that one must consider to properly make an identification. It occurred to me today on my walk that my brain has probably changed a bit as a result of this learning process. I’d be willing to bet that that I am way better at discriminating between shades of brown and gray than most people (because of spending a lot of time looking at bark) and also at remembering the structure of irregular shapes (because of all the time looking at leaves). In general, it seems this process has increased my awareness and attention to fine detail.
Obviously, leanring about trees is not for everyone, but the tip here is a broader one: pick a topic and take some time to learn the finer nuances and details of it such that you are able to make discriminations between seemingly similar objects. There are numerous different ways you can apply this suggestion, so make it your own.
The other interesting thing about this is that you can apply it to each of your senses and possibly make them more sharp in the process. Learning bird calls would exercise your auditory discrimination. Becoming an expert on fine wines or beers (how tedious, I know) would refine you ability to smell and taste (and why not also work on cheese while you’re at that), and so on…
I do recommend the trees in particular though for those who are so inclined as it often requires the use of multiple senses to make an id (what does it look like? how do the leaves feel? what do crushed twigs smell like? how does the fruit taste?).
Any other suggestions?