In today’s world, the prevalence of technology can frequently mean we spend heaps of time on mindless tasks. Entertainment is always a mere touch of a keyboard away. The possibilities of consumption are endless. But what we lose in a lot of these activities – like engaging in social media or communicating with others via messages – is the engagement of our intelligence. We have to work to involve all areas of our brain and incorporate it into our lifestyles through various forms of hobbies. Just like riding a bicycle, the more we practice at tapping into our brain power, the better we get.
Do a Sudoku
We’re not even joking with this one. Studies have shown that doing continual Sudoku puzzles has repeatedly been proven to improve intelligence levels. The magic ingredient here is not just the Sudoku itself, however. Any form of puzzle that requires critical thinking would fit in this camp. Be it crosswords, riddles, card games, or even board games; science tells us activities that exercise your brain increase neuroplasticity. In basic English, higher neuroplasticity means you are less likely to develop disorders such as anxiety or depression, and your speed of understanding things is rapid.
Read a Book
In a world of Netflix and the ability to stream any film that has ever existed, reading books is not nearly as universal as it used to be. Well, when it comes to our levels of intelligence, perhaps it should be! Fun fact – reading reduces stress. A reduction of overall stress walks hand in hand with improved self-perception, which is, of course, a win regarding emotional intelligence. Reading as an act encourages and stimulates fundamental brain activities such as problem-solving, identifying patterns, and understanding systems.
Play a Musical Instrument
It probably won’t come as much of a surprise, but one of the best things to do if you’re trying to increase your intelligence is learning how to play an instrument. Playing an instrument helps with growing creativity, math, motor skills, and the way in which we analyze situations or things. Playing a musical instrument strengthens the connections between hemispheres of the brain. For obvious reasons, this is a great thing for your IQ as it means you are engaging both your logical and creative parts of your mind.
The power of deep breathing and learning how to concentrate your energy towards one focal point is limitless. Meditation improves stress-related conditions, such as anxiety, IBS or even heart-related diseases. It’s by no means a proven cure to stress-related disorders, but what it can do is alleviate a lot of the physical symptoms associated with these conditions. As for intelligence, you can imagine that a detractor of stress improves your ability to concentrate. Meditation in practice is learning how to focus for an extended point of time. Meditating is a fantastic way to condition your mind in improving productivity and efficiency.
Go for a Run
If you think a hard-core workout every couple of days is better for you than a light, regular exercise every single day, you’re not exactly correct. When you exercise regularly, this protein called BDNF automatically floods your cells. A lot of BDNF is a good thing. BDNF is associated with improving things like memory, concentration, and comprehension. Some scientists have concluded that sitting down for long periods of time is quite detrimental for brain function – hence, the recent trend of standing desks kicking up in today’s workplaces.
Always wanted to learn French? How about Spanish? Maybe you’re more interested in understanding Japanese. Whatever the language is that you’re keen to acquire doesn’t matter as much – what matters is the practice of learning a new language. Bilingual or tri-lingual language speakers are significantly better than monolinguals on solving puzzle-based tests. It’s pretty standard if you want to work your way up to executive in your company that management will encourage you to learn another language. Fluency in multiple languages demonstrates an apparent ability to execute well on planning and problem-solving, two necessary components of a higher-up position.
Keep a diary, ladies, and gentlemen. Bet you didn’t expect this one! Regularly writing about your feelings improves things like emotional intelligence, and also reduces stress. Taking this a step further, if you continuously write down the things that you learn, you will increase your brain’s ability to memorize these. That’s another reason why in school students are required to take notes while a teacher lectures. Writing down what you are learning forces your brain to comprehend the basic concept so that you can translate this into text.
Who knew that spending time in the kitchen is a handy way to increase your mental capacity? Properly cooking not only provides you with healthier food, but it also gives your mind a chance to engage your natural curiosity. By experimenting with new recipes, you are joining a few core cognitive functions; mostly creativity and concentration. It probably goes without saying that by cooking for yourself, your diet will improve heaps as well. Cooking is also useful for your levels of emotional intelligence because eating better food means you are aware of what you are consuming.
Not only is traveling fantastic for your sense of well-being and personal health, but it also ticks off some boxes regarding individual intelligence. According to Adam Galinsky, a professor, and author, travel increases both cognitive flexibility, depth and integration of thought, as well as the innate ability to make connections between different forms. A study by the U.S. Travel Association showed that travel could prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The big conclusion? A trip away from home strengthens your brain power. So get those holidays booked in!
A 2008 study published by the University of Chicago showed that watching sports is linked to improved brain function. There are some die-hard football fans out there probably very happy to hear that. What the researchers at the University of Chicago found was that fans of sports demonstrated improved language skills, thanks to the dialogues engaged in about the game, and the acquisition of sport-specific terminology. It strengthens the neural networks necessary to support comprehension. Language understanding could be extended to other activities outside of sports, too. What the research revealed was that profoundly engaging in any activity involves the use of brain networks not generally linked to a language.