Intelligence isn’t a static trait. Your brain is a muscle, and the more you stretch it, the stronger it gets. But just as with traditional workout routines, there are different muscle groups to flex, and the methodology you use to train your brain can have a major impact on how effective it is. Here are ways to train your brain to be literally smarter.
1. Using Games to Your Advantage
Games and puzzles are more than just a way to blow off steam. For animals in the wild, play is an opportunity to teach young the fundamental skills they need to survive, and that’s equally as true for humans. Do brain games make you smarter? Yes, but the games you choose to engage in have a major impact on the quality of your successes. While there are a number of brain training games available for mobile devices, there are questions about how effective they are at improving long-term intellectual abilities. Some who study these apps have determined that they could simply make you better at the games themselves rather than the values they claim to teach like memory and pattern recognition. That’s why it’s important to engage in games and activities that challenge your problem-solving skills. Logic games like Sudoku and crossword puzzles are incredibly effective options because they stress the same sort of muscles we use in our everyday lives. Similarly, brain training puzzles like chess require focus and sagacity, and the unpredictable element of your opponent forces a level of strategic thinking you might not find in brain training apps.
2. Utilizing Human Resources to Your Advantage
Humans are inherently social creatures, and communication is one of our best ways to improve the capacity of our brains. Social intelligence is just as important a component of your mind’s functionality as memory or traditional cognition, and regular interactions with a wide variety of people allow you to expand your mind to a whole new variety of experiences. Moreover, social activity is a nourishing necessity for humans in much the same way as food and water, and a healthier brain is a brain that will better process newly acquired information. Be cognizant about maintaining relationships with your family, build camaraderie at work, and use social outlets to find new opportunities to build friendships. Every relationship you have is an opportunity to boost your social intelligence and learn new skills that can boost your brain power.
3. Automate the Simple Stuff
Keeping your mind healthy and engaged is all about maximizing the time that you spend engaged in compelling mental activities. Stronger reps are the best ways to build body mass, and the same is true of mental gymnastics. Busywork, mundane mental activities, and the rigor of remembering complex schedules just take up otherwise useful brain power that could be better spent elsewhere. Task management software can handle the boring tasks so that you can focus on what matters. Through the use of process and email templates, the automation of activities, and the integration of popular third-party apps, users can gain a more streamlined experience and carve out the unnecessary tasks in everyday life. And the peace of mind that services like this provide can create a less cluttered mind that runs more productively.
4. Keeping Everything in Peak Condition
Task management software can help prevent your mind from getting bogged down with minutia, but a brain that’s running at full capacity is naturally going to be more effective than one that’s running out of fuel. That means that a whole body approach to health is as useful for your brain as it is for your body. While exercises like puzzle solving and social outreach can improve your cognition, you’ll get more out of these activities when you balance intellectual exercises with a sensible approach to self-care. Studies indicate that inadequate sleep can have a direct and negative effect on a person’s IQ, and exercise is proven to have a positive effect on the growth of neurons. That’s why it’s critical to hit the gym or find healthy physical activities at home. Eating balanced meals of highly nutritional foods are also a necessity, but walnuts and seafood are especially good at improving mental health due to a large number of fatty acids you’ll find in fish.
5. Reading and Writing
Language isn’t just how we communicate with one another. It dictates how we think. The larger your vocabulary and the clearer your thoughts, the easier it is to keep your house in order and express your ideas to both others and yourself. Keeping a journal is a great opportunity to keep your mental processes neat and tidy. Reading prolifically, meanwhile, improves your general knowledge while also exposing you to principles, philosophies, and vocabulary to which you might otherwise never be exposed.
Improving your brain isn’t just a matter of scoring better on your next test or pushing your way towards a job promotion. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle that puts brainpower front and center is a way to invest in your future health for decades to come. Just be sure to keep things in balance. Flexing the brain muscle can have immense positive effects on your life, but everyone needs a little rest and relaxation to recharge their batteries.