Our genes have a lot to do with our level of intelligence in adulthood. However, the intelligence we are born with is only a starting point. Although it may not be possible to attain a genius-level IQ if you aren’t blessed with a prodigious bent of mind, it is very likely that you can boost your intelligence by leaps and bounds.
Reading, writing and cutting down on television and other ‘distractions’ are the obvious suggestions, but there are others you can make the most of. Let’s take a look:
1. Meditation: This may come as a surprise to most people since meditation is often recommended as a stress-alleviator rather than a tool you can use to become super smart. That said, it has numerous cognitive benefits such as improving concentration and triggering the production of endorphins and serotonin. These feel-good chemicals not only elevate your mood, but also sharpen mental performance and memory. So merely setting aside a few minutes each day and giving yourself a break from a humdrum routine will not only work wonders for your peace of mind, but for your mental output and ability to learn too.
2. Adequate sleep: Your chances of becoming super smart will be far greater if you are well-rested. A tired body houses a tired mind and the brain needs as much rest as it does exercise. Adequate rest and sleep are the cornerstones of prime mental health. Lack of sleep or poor quality sleep results in hampered concentration and cognitive functioning, which means your efforts to strengthen brain power will be in vain if you do not get enough shut eye.
3. Physical exercise: Exercise, like meditation, boosts the production of endorphins. A healthy endorphin concentration, in turn, enables the brain to take on more challenging tasks that lead to better intelligence. If you want to get smart sooner than later, it’s time to get up, get moving and break a sweat every day. You can work out in a gym, go running every morning, do yoga or Pilates or opt for workouts such as Zumba or cardio kickboxing. The key is to get enough exercise so as to ensure both your physical and mental agility.
4. Mental exercise: The human brain is highly adaptable and has the capacity to ‘evolve’ as per the stimuli it receives. As such, you can use scientifically-verified tools such as brain training games to get smarter in the long run. You can check out online resources like Lumosity to play mentally invigorating fun games for as little as 15 minutes every day. Lumosity measures the BPI (Brain Performance Index, which is much like IQ or Intelligence Quotient) of members to determine who the top ‘brain athletes’ on the site are. Numerous studies have shown how various brain exercises like the ones on Lumosity can also help people with conditions like Turner syndrome, cognitive impairment, and poor math skills.
Doing things like learning new languages, acquiring new skills and maintaining a balanced diet are other notable ways in which you can hone your thinking, focusing and problem-solving skills in the long run.
Visual Courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/maveric2003/