In life we should always strive to continually grow and progress. We should be improving our weaknesses, physical condition, attitudes, skills, and more. As the old quote states: “If you aren’t growing, you’re dying.” To that end, I’ve researched to compile a list of 10 things we can all do to improve our intelligence! (In no particular order):
1. Be more curious.
♦ How do some people get to know so much? Good memory skills are only part of the answer: you also have to be curious. If you’re satisfied going through life with little or no understanding of things you’re unfamiliar with, you won’t learn much. Make a conscious effort to be more curious by reminding yourself that developing your curiosity will broaden your horizons and help to make you more intelligent.
2. Read a lot.
♦ Just about everything that humans know can be found in print, whether in books and magazines or on the internet. Become a voracious reader, and you’ll expose yourself to more ideas and information. If you’re a slow reader, consider learning speed reading. Consider jotting down notes, and perhaps looking up a word or two in the dictionary.
♦ Curiosity without initiative is like having a car that’s out of gas—it won’t take you anywhere. Fortunately, when it comes to knowledge you’re never far from success. If you read a word that you don’t know, look it up in the dictionary. If you wonder how airplanes fly, read a book about it. If you want to know more about politics, pick up a newspaper. Go online and explore the world in depth.
4. Teach others.
♦ In order to teach something to somebody else, you’ve got to know it pretty well. When you try to explain an idea or skill to somebody else, you’ll not only remember it better yourself, you’ll also find that the other person’s questions will help you find out how well you really know what you’re talking about. Don’t let not knowing a topic inside out hold you back from teaching though; you will learn as you go and there is no shame in saying, “Wow, I don’t know the answer to that, let’s both go and find out!” Putting aside defensiveness is a sign of maturity and maturity adds to your emotional intelligence.
♦ Volunteer to pass on what you know. Knowledge is something to be shared, to build a better world. Don’t hide your star under a rock; share your experiences, skills, talents and knowledge with other people so that they too can grow in confidence and ability.
5. Surround yourself with intelligent people.
♦ Being around people that are smart in their own fields and knowledge can help you become more knowledgeable. It can be rough on your self-esteem, but hanging out with folks who are more clever than you is one of the fastest ways to learn. Remember, your IQ is the average of five closest people you hang out with.
6. Learn a new language.
♦ Learning new languages is a great way to get smarter. Children who learn two languages or more have more grey matter than those who don’t, and their brains make more neural connections. And grey matter is responsible for processing information, including memory, speech and sensory perception. Knowing another language also increases your empathy for others, which is an important part of improving your emotional intelligence.
♦ The benefits to meditation have been known for thousands of years. The practice of meditation can be different for each person, but it generally involves quiet, focused breathing exercises in which the practitioner is able to achieve a state of mental calm. Regardless of whether you believe that this mental calm is an enlightened state of consciousness, no one can deny the benefits of relaxed, focused breathing. FMRI scans have revealed that regular meditation also affects the actual structure of the brain. Researchers believe that memory, function, attention span and focus all benefit from meditation. One study showed that regular daily meditation can even increase the size of parts of the cerebral cortex. Not surprisingly, some of the world’s leading and forward-thinking corporations offer meditation classes for their employees. Tip: try the Chakra Meditation.
8. Exercise Your Brain
♦ The brain, like many parts of the human body, needs regular exercise in order to maintain strength and vitality. Some more common brain strengthening exercises include fun activities like crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and other word- and number-based brain teasers. There are additional academic methods, like completing math word problems, improving memory, attention to detail, and exercises relating to spatial relationships and geometry. Even simply reading this article gives your brain a slight workout. Try simple things like mixing up your daily routine, such as brushing your teeth with your opposite hand or walking a different way to work—this can force your brain to work harder than usual, which is ultimately what you want to do.
9. Take Care of Your Body
♦ The human body is all connected, so you can’t take care of one part of it without benefiting some other part. Physical exercise is important for good health, for both the body and the brain. Simply increasing your blood flow kicks up the oxygen and glucose levels in the brain. The coordination it takes to perform exercises also gives the brain a workout, especially if you’re trying something new. Exercise also means you’re battling sedentary lifestyle, or one free from mental stimuli. Food is also important. There are many foods that have been associated with brain health, including fish oil, eggs, protein and dark green vegetables. Green tea, herbal tea and nuts are also good “brain food.” Eating right, getting the required amount of sleep and exercises, both mental and physical, are the keys to improving memory and overall brain function.
10. Get Some Sleep!
♦ Wakeful exercises for the brain are great and necessary to help improve brain function so you can get smarter. But what about sleep? Not a whole lot is known about sleep, but we know now that scientists were wrong for years with the belief that the brain simply shut down during sleep to recharge. Research now indicates that the brain may actually do a little nighttime filing during sleep. The information from the previous day is catalogued and put in the proper mental folders so it can make the journey from short-term memory to long-term. Sleeping problems have been known to exacerbate other brain issues, so it makes sense that a good night’s sleep can help increase the brain’s function and ability to focus. It varies from person to person, but between six and eight hours of sleep for adults is generally recommended.