How to Get Smarter – 10 Easy Ways To Increase Your Intelligence
Who doesn’t want to get smarter? Throughout history, people in various societies all over the world has given their respect to those whose minds work faster, who can retain facts better, and who can figure out new and better ways to do things. The good news is that you can be one of these smart folks, and getting smart doesn’t really have to be all that complicated. You can learn how to get smarter just by doing a few simple techniques.
Think of your brain as the engine of a car. You don’t need a complete engine replacement to make the car more powerful, nor do you need to acquire truly exorbitant upgrades and accessories. With a few small tweaks here and there along with proper engine maintenance, you can improve the engine’s performance significantly enough.
It’s the same with your brain. Learning how to be smart doesn’t really require years of deep study in an expensive university. You can simply incorporate a few new habits into your daily lifestyle and soon enough you can get just a bit smarter each day.
So which habits should you adopt into your daily routine? Here are a few suggestions.
1. Read a Lot
It’s not a coincidence that if you separate frequent readers from non-readers, the members of the reading group seem to be so much smarter. There’s an ongoing debate as to what you should read, but even reading the newspaper daily can help. The quality of the reading materials may be subject to debate, but not the quantity.
Most experts agree that the quantity—the number of books and articles—is important. You shouldn’t read just a little each day if you want to learn how to be smarter. You have to read a lot, so you may want to start with magazines and books that cover the topics you’re interested in. It doesn’t matter if elite critics deride your choice of literature. Just start reading what you enjoy and it can certainly help.
So what if you’re a guy and you read Twilight and 50 Shades of Gray? Reading even this stuff is better than not reading at all. Start the day by reading the news instead of just letting some newscaster read it to you each day.
2. Hang out with smart guys
We’re not talking about Mafiosi, okay? We’re referring to people who are smarter and cleverer than you. Sure, it can be a bit disconcerting and it doesn’t really boost your self-esteem when you know for sure that you’re not the smartest person in the room. But if you want to succeed in how to increase IQ, this is the room to be.
There’s an old saying that birds of a feather flock together, and a new saying nowadays is that you can compute your IQ by the average IQ of the 5 closest people you hang out with the most. Humans are social animals and they subconsciously want to belong. So if you tend to associate with dumb people, you’ll become dumber as time goes on.
But if you’re around clever tech people and articulate literary folks, you’ll also tend to absorb their knowledge and way of thinking. Learning how to become smarter doesn’t have to be a conscious effort on your part, as you can become smarter just by associating with the right people.
3. Take some mental challenges online
Lots of people consider the Internet as a wonderful source of entertainment. You can gush at cute animal videos and watch sports highlights of your favorite athletes. You can relax by chatting online with friends through social networks.
However, one especially effective way to succeed in how to increase intelligence is to mentally challenge yourself. It’s like lifting weights—the stress on your muscles can help them grow bigger. When you challenge your brain, you can become smarter.
So you may want to switch from cute online videos to online brain teasers. There are plenty of online games to choose from, and they don’t have to be as complicated as chess. You can start with simple vocabulary games. Pattern recognition games such as Tetris is good too. In fact, the ability to recognize patterns is one of the main skills that IQ tests look for.
After a while, you may even want to engage in more complicated gaming. Modern video games can be full of many details that can really require lots of thinking and problem solving. Start with the classics like Civilization where you’re the leader of your society and you try to build an empire with tools like exploration, diplomacy, and warfare. You’ll be juggling your resources like an expert in no time, and later you may find that the skills developed by these games can be transferable to your real life.
4. Keep a journal
Having a diary or journal can be very helpful in boosting your smartness. Your writings don’t have to be all that long and you don’t have to spill all your secrets either. Instead, you can write a few hundred words about what you’ve learned for that day. Think back and reflect, and then write something about what you’ve read or heard or realized. You may have improved on learning a few skills, or you may have gained a few facts.
Writing is a mental exercise that helps your brain develop, just as physical exercise can help your muscles grow. It also reminds you that you did learn something during the course of the day, so in effect you were smarter at the end of the day than when you started in the morning. It encourages you to learn new things each day and reassures you that you’re indeed learning as time passes.
5. Take a break from mental stimulation
We all need a break from everything every now and then. That’s true also for mental stimulation as it is for physical exertion. Just as you need to rest after you lift weights so that your muscles can repair themselves and become bigger, you also need rest from strenuous mental tasks.
Of course, for some people hardwired to work hard and think hard, this isn’t easy. Meditating isn’t for everyone, and just sitting there not doing anything can make you feel restless. But you can start by turning the computer and your smartphone off on a certain evening of relaxation.
Turn off the TV too. Instead, you can take a walk in the neighborhood without any real destination in mind. Or you can read a book, and this can really work if you read something that you’ve never read before.
6. Teach what you’ve learned to others
Albert Einstein once remarked that if you’re unable to explain something in simple terms, then you still don’t understand that something well enough. To really make sure that you’ve understood and learned something, you must be able to explain it to someone else.
This doesn’t mean that you have to become a teacher or a tutor. But you can incorporate this into your daily routine by telling your partner during dinner about something that you’ve learned during the day. This will help you organize your thoughts on the matter and help you retain information.
You can start by watching a movie (or better yet, reading a book) and then telling a friend or spouse all about it. By being able to tell the story you’ve learned, you can focus on the sequence of events rather than on exciting moments. Even if you watched an action film, you’ll learn to focus past the explosions and fight scenes and explain what’s really happening with the main characters. You can explore their motivations so that you can make other people understand why these characters behave a certain way.
The same thing goes when you meet new people at parties. If they ask what it is you do, don’t just reply with a job title. You can elaborate and tell people exactly what it is you do, and you can harp on challenges that they may not have realized. Of course, the extra challenge here is to describe your work in a way that’s interesting—you don’t want to bore your listeners!
7. How to get smarter by Doing something mentally different
There are many ways to stimulate your mind, and you need to change things up a bit so you’re not mentally in a rut. You know how the body doesn’t get as much improvement when you do the same exercises over and over? It seems the same thing applies to your mind.
So let’s say you’re an accountant, so every day you deal with numbers all the time. After work, you may want to deal with words instead. The reverse is true for writers, who may want to indulge in mathematical puzzles for relaxation.
You don’t even need to just limit yourself to puzzles to stimulate your mind. You can learn how to cook or learn a new language. You can also start learning to play a musical instrument. Just do something different so that you don’t end up doing the same things every day.
8. Keep yourself healthy
Lots of people sometimes forget that the brain is a part of your body, and mental health is also dependent on your overall physical health. So you should make sure you get the right diet that supplies your nutritional needs, including the right vitamins and minerals.
Doctors are also insistent that you should have enough exercise during the week. Even a bit of jogging for 30 minutes every other day can help keep you fit. The healthier you are, the more likely it is that your mind works better.
Exercise has been recognized as quite effective in enhancing your mental health, and in fact many health experts wish the elderly would exercise more as a way to reduce cognitive decay as they grow older. With diet and exercise management, you can have a simple strategy to combat cognitive disorders.
9. Get enough sleep
It may be a coincidence that the talk about the “dumbing down” of numerous people started right when people realized that they’re not getting enough sleep. People are busier than ever, especially since the most recent economic problems that have led to more people taking second jobs just to make ends meet. For many, there isn’t enough time during the day and it’s taking a toll with their sleep. In the US, it’s estimated that a full third of the adult population don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis.
When you don’t get enough good sleep, in the morning you’re markedly less able to concentrate. This lack of focus can really have a detrimental effect on your job performance and your school grades. Driving also becomes a hazard, as the lack of sleep can lead to slower reaction times and brain fog.
Good sleep, on the other hand, is the fuel for your creativity. It helps your mind synthesize new ideas, and it also helps with your problem-solving abilities. Sleep fosters good memory, as the info in your brain is moved from short term to long term. When you have learned new info, try to get a good night’s sleep afterward, as that can help you retain the memory more effectively.
10. Take nootropic supplements
Finally, you can improve your diet and also supplement it with nootropics. These are supplements that can help your brain function more effectively and improve your various mental and cognitive abilities. They can help you retain your memory and keep the mental fuzz away.
It has long been known that certain supplements can affect how your brain works. You know that too much alcohol and illegal drugs can alter your perception (and most likely make you dumber), while coffee can make you more mentally alert. With the right nootropics, you can study and work more efficiently when your mind is prepped by supplements.
Of course, succeeding in getting smarter isn’t just about taking a “magic pill”, but these nootropics can help your brain health in the same way that vitamin supplements can keep you physically healthy. If you are one of the people who wants to know how to get smarter, nootropics are just another option that can be used together with other methods described in this article.