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15 Ways To Naturally Increase Intelligence & Keep The Mind Sharp

SimiNovember 6, 2018

What makes a person smart? Are they simply born that way or does intelligence develop over the course of your life? While it is impossible to reach a genius level overnight, people often argue whether it’s nature or nurture when it comes to high intelligence. There is no denying that certain people are born with a predisposition towards academia. These people are natural learners.

They grasp concepts easier and possibly are gifted with above average memory recall abilities. People like this are born smart, but part of being smart is always seeking to know more and do more. This is where the dividing line lies. So, it’s not necessarily about genetics or neural pathways. A smart person is never content with what they know. In fact, intelligent people know enough to know what they don’t know and strive every day to correct it.

This means if you are interested in increasing your intelligence, there’s no need to research the latest and greatest cognitive enhancing drugs. There are habits and hobbies that people use to make themselves smarter.  Here are the top 15 ways to naturally increase your intelligence and keep your mind sharp.

1. Read

Every single genius who has ever lived has been a furious reader. These people would never let their minds lay dormant. They would also not simply stick to their specific field of research. They would branch out into a multitude of topics, picking up countless bits of information along the way. Reading, however, is not only reserved for geniuses.

Ask any successful person, and they can rattle off a long list of books they have read in the last year. Most interviews with CEOs and multi-millionaires includes a question regarding the last book they read. These people don’t just read to pass the time. Granted, there is an enjoyment factor there. After all, everything you read doesn’t have to be facts and figures.

There is nothing wrong with settling down with a good fiction or fantasy novel. Even books such as these succeed in broadening your mind. They activate your imagination and force you to ponder things and people that are far from reality. They stretch the boundaries of your mind, enabling you to think in ever more interesting, unique ways.

On the other side of the spectrum lies non-fiction books. These books hold information, and they can provide one with an impressive knowledge base. By reading these books, a person knows more. They are more aware of the world around them, be it in the past, present or future.

Reading is the single most effective way to boost intelligence. There is simply no replacement for it on this list. Along with the cognitive advantages, reading enhances your vocabulary. It provides you with succinct, appropriate ways to express yourself.

2. Exercise Your Mind

What do you envision when you think of your brain? Do you conjure up an image of this blue squishy thing in those crime-centered TV shows? If you do, then you are correct. However, there’s more to it than that. Your brain contains millions of things called neurons.

These cells relay information via electrical impulses. This is how you think. Your brain relies on the connections between these cells. The more connections there are, the more parts of the brain you can call on when you need to solve a problem or deal with a situation.

The brain is by no means a muscle, but it doesn’t hurt to think of it as one. And, like a muscle, you need to exercise your brain. When you exercise your brain, you don’t flex it like a regular muscle. Instead, you strengthen your neural pathways. The more you use these pathways, the stronger they become.

If you allow your brain to stagnate, those neural connections weaken. There are overall fewer connections, and the existing ones are considerably weaker. For this reason, many experts tell elderly people to learn new things if they want to preserve their memory. In fact, brain exercises are a dime a dozen. They could be in the form of crossword puzzles or even sudoku.

These days there are apps for everything, including brain training apps. It is not all that important how you do it. The important thing is to use your mind. You need to challenge your mind daily if it is to remain strong and healthy. So, be sure to continually stretch your mind, so it will stay sharp.

3. Learn a New Language

Polylingual people are a marvel. They can switch between languages seamlessly, inspiring varying degrees of envy wherever they go. These people have multiple ways of expressing themselves. Also, they’re able to communicate effectively with more people than the average monolingual person.

However, in countries where English is the official language, people aren’t as inclined to learn a new language. Some people may try to pick up a few phrases whenever they travel to a foreign land. But other than that, they only speak English. But there are countries where it is common for people to know at least two different languages.

Think of any European or Asian nation. In these countries, people are well-versed in both their native tongue, as well as English. Those people can travel the world comfortably, but they also have healthier minds, too. Learning a new language forces your brain to think in different ways. During the process of mastering a new grammatical structure and vocabulary, you build new neural pathways.

These new connections and neural pathways create a more active brain. They say that a person even begins to think differently once they have learned a new language. There now exists a multifaceted approach when one is working out a problem. Picking up a second or third language is a difficult task. It takes months or even years of learning and practice.

However, it’s well worth the effort. The process of becoming multilingual will give your mind a boost like none other. There is also the added advantage of being able to communicate with new and interesting people.

4. Travel the World

Most people on this planet work so they can go on vacation. Yes, they also work to pay the bills, but mostly they slog away at their day jobs, so they can have the opportunity to travel. When on vacation, people can wind down. They forget their troubles and relax and soak in the atmosphere. It is during this time that you let your stress melt away.

When vacationing, a sense of calm and contentment washes over people. This is why they look forward to traveling. There are also the added benefits that accompany travel. And one of these is that traveling can make you smarter. When you hop off a plane in a foreign country, you are about to immerse yourself in a completely different culture.

You will eat different food, meet new people, see new things and hear people converse in a completely different manner. These experiences serve to ignite your brain. When you experience new things, your brain lights up. For example, entering a foreign marketplace calls on countless parts of your brain.

You must use all five senses, as well as your reasoning capabilities to navigate through this new world. This clearly works wonders for your mind. After all, an active mind is a happy mind. There is also the question of a new perspective. People in other countries live different lives than you do.

They have different joys and experience different problems. By interacting with these people, you’ll gain a new perspective. This new perspective can elevate brain health because you will think of things in a different way.

5. Join a Sports Team

Not every person is athletically inclined. Some people are not good at sports. Maybe their coordination is off, or maybe they don’t have the physique to participate in physical activities. These people dread any event that requires them to make a fool of themselves on a field. And this is completely understandable.

No one wants to look silly in front of other people. However, these people should think twice before they turn down an invitation to go play in the park. And their brains may just thank them for it. When you participate in a sporting activity, you give your entire body a workout. The cardiovascular system gets a wakeup call when you increase your heart rate.

When you run or jump, you stretch and strengthen your muscles. However, you also boost your brain power. In fact, coordination is not simply a muscular activity, it starts in your brain. Also, the reasoning and tactics you use when you participate in a team sport are good for your brain. This is why sporting activities can make you smarter.

Top athletes are generally not thought of for their intelligence. But, studies have shown that these people have a superior intellect of a sort. They think in an incredibly creative way. While it might seem daunting to pick up a new sport, it could be just the thing your brain needs. Sports will not only leave your body healthier and happier, but it will also activate your mind.

6. Play a Musical Instrument

What would the human race be without music? Every single country on this planet has some form of music people associate with their culture. Going back thousands of years, humans have used music recreationally. But we have also used it to communicate. Music tells a story.

It relays events that have transpired, and music expresses emotions that people can’t put into words. In short, life without music would not be life at all. Living without music would not be living. It would only be existing. But, while you are tapping your foot to that particularly enjoyable tune, you’re also using your brain.

In the brain, there are different types of brain waves. Certain ones are more active when one is conversing or thinking, and then there is a specific type of brain wave while you play a musical instrument. Interestingly, the prevalence of this same brain wave is also associated with increased intelligence. This means that playing a musical instrument could make you smarter.

The specifics of this neurology are complex, but if you want to enhance your intelligence, then give music a shot. It takes an immense amount of concentration to master a musical instrument. By focusing, you could end up with a superior intellect. Also, music helps people express and understand their emotions.

Humans may be emotional beings, but they are not always able to express or understand their emotions. A brain full of misunderstood and erratic emotions is an unhealthy brain. Music can easily cure you of this by allowing you to be clearer and more focused.

7. Meditate

There is a common misconception that meditation is exclusively reserved for those who have joined a spiritual path. However, this is not always the case. Meditation is not just a spiritual endeavor. Its sole aim doesn’t always have to be enlightenment or God realization. And although millions of people include meditation in their spiritual practices, it has another benefit.

When a person meditates, they are focusing intently. There is a level of concentration not present with other activities. During meditation, you need to be quiet and centered. You must sit with yourself and delve into the center of your being. But meditation not easy

Facing yourself is a difficult task, but the peacefulness and calm you achieve is unparalleled. Then there is the stress relieving factor of meditation. When a person is under a lot of stress, they can’t think clearly. Their mind is under siege by turbulent thoughts and emotions. It is being strung out by every worry and insecurity.

It is impossible to reach the level of intelligence you are capable of when you’re in this state of mind. Once it is at breaking point, your brain can’t accomplish the simplest of tasks, let alone learn new things and grow. However, meditation can melt these worries away. Life with still be filled with problems, but meditating will put these problems into perspective.

They will not seem as awful as they did the day before. They will now be manageable and wholly surmountable. A calm and peaceful mind is ready to learn new things. It is a mind that can think better and more clearly.

8. Exercise Your Body

People are always going on about how important exercise is. Every day, doctors, family and even complete strangers tell other people they need to exercise more. Are these people all lying? Is it just some kind of ploy to make you feel bad about yourself? Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Exercising is good for your overall health. This is not an opinion, but an inescapable fact. But no one is saying you need to head to the gym and remain there until every muscle aches. There is no need to push your body to the breaking point every day of the week. But, it is important to get up from that chair and get your blood pumping.

When you exercise, your heart rate increases. This means that more blood pumps throughout your body to accommodate the increased muscle contractions. And your brain also gets an increase in blood supply. This directly translates to a healthier brain. And, it goes without saying that a healthier brain is obviously a smarter brain.

Your mind is an important part of your body. For some reason, people think those who are active are not smart and those who are smart are not active. The media enforces this same notion. In the media, you may have seen incredibly clever people who are horribly bad at sports. Everyone can summon up a picture of a nerd with an asthma pump who hates gym class because he has no discernible muscle tone.

However, this picture is a complete fabrication. A smart person knows a healthy body translates to a healthy mind. And you can’t train your brain if you are not training your body.

9. Start a Journal

How often do you write your feelings down? When you have had a particularly bad day, do you keep it bottled up inside or do you express it? Furthermore, how do you express it? Do you scream into a pillow or vent to a close friend or family member? These are important questions.

How one deals with their emotions is a direct indication of mental health. A person who doesn’t confront their emotions is prone to violence and random outbursts of anger or sadness. These same people are also shrouded in a cloud of tension and unease. Also, they don’t sleep well. They can’t think clearly, and they find themselves overwhelmed with the simplest of tasks.

These people can’t boost their intelligence because they barely have the energy to wake up in the morning. All is not lost, though. There is a simple treatment and it is to start a journal. But, you must first drop the image of an angsty teenager headlining their page with “Dear Diary.” While this is one way to write in a journal, it is not the only way. Journals are not exclusively for tales of woe and heartbreak.

They are far more powerful than that. A journal can help you sort through your emotions. When you write down what you are feeling, you have to think about it. You can’t put your emotions on paper until you have thought about them in words. This process is stress relieving.

By thinking about your emotions, you can begin to understand what you’re feeling. This rids your mind of clutter. It is no longer a place where emotions zip about in a haphazard fashion. Instead, it is now a calmer place with space for new information and insights.

10. Master a New Type of Cuisine

In Mediterranean countries, cooking and eating are not a chore. It is not simply something you have to do to survive. Instead, it is an experience. These people view cooking as an opportunity to engage with and care for their families. They cook with a sense of wonder.

They are in awe of the way in which dishes come together. These people cherish the opportunity to try new things and to deliver a delicious meal to their loved ones. And adopting this attitude towards cooking will not only make you healthier, but it could even make you smarter. When you cook with enjoyment, you engage all your senses. A steak sizzling on the stove looks amazing and smells delicious.

It also tastes spectacular and feels like heaven in your mouth. Each of these senses activates a different part of your brain. This means that the experience of cooking and eating an amazing meal can serve as a jolt of lightning through your mind. And this jolt can electrify countless neurological pathways, but the benefits don’t end there.

When you cook, you must multitask, which is an activity that works wonders for mental health. Then there is the question of creativity. Coming up with a new dish is no simple task. It requires ingenuity and creativity. You need to stretch your mind to imagine what the ingredients will taste like together.

All this together means the next time you master a new cuisine, you give your brain a considerable workout. This is because it must deal with many sensations at the same time. And it also has to make sure your house doesn’t burn down in the process.

11. Teach Others What You Know

Some people say that those who can’t do, teach, but this is untrue. Teaching is not a difficult task. It’s not something people do because they can’t make it in the real world. Being a teacher requires a high level of patience and understanding unmatched by any profession. However, you shouldn’t quit your job and become a teacher.

That would be a completely unrealistic piece of advice. But, you can teach other people the things you know. Each person has a specific skill set or knowledge base. And while there will always be someone smarter, there are some things you know better than others. There is probably at least one topic where you are a veritable expert.

And you are tasked with delivering this knowledge to the world for two reasons. First, it’s for the good of humanity. Knowledge is the sole way to combat ignorance and cruelty. If people knew more, they would be more understanding of each other. Therefore, it’s every person’s duty to educate the world.

You should leave this planet better than how you found it. The second reason to teach others that you learn by teaching. You can only teach a person something if you are a master at it. If you can’t explain something simply, you don’t understand it well enough. By striving to impart knowledge, you will gain a greater understanding of that knowledge.

12. Be Selective

Every person has something to offer. Every single individual that you meet will have their own set of virtues and flaws. This kind of reasoning implies that it doesn’t matter who you interact with, which is partly correct. To be a mindful and inquisitive person, make the most out of every experience. Try to see the best in people and focus on the good aspects.

Don’t go around judging people and their circumstances. But you have the right and responsibility to screen the people you let into your inner circle. To do this ask yourself some questions like what do you want to know more about? What kind of person do you want to be? What kind of life do you want to live?

Once you have the answer to these questions, you need to surround yourself with people who will help you achieve these goals. People judge you by the company you keep. And that means you need to be mindful of who you interact with regularly. If you want to be smarter, surround yourself with smart people.

If you want to be kinder, interact with kind people. This is what intelligent people do. They fill their inner circle with like-minded people. The look for people who can broaden their mind. And they also seek people who can challenge their views.

So, don’t let negative people bring you down. If you want to be the best, you need to be around the best. Positive, intelligent people will encourage you and aid you in your pursuit of intelligence and knowledge.

13. Ask Questions

Have you ever noticed how many questions children ask? They will ask the adults around them about everything in the room. A child will be the only person who wants to know why green means go and red means stop. Their wonder and curiosity about the world are ceaseless. This is how they learn.

Children will never know how something works unless they ask. They won’t know why a thing is a way it is unless someone tells them. This is the nature of inquisitiveness. If intelligence is your end goal, never stop asking why. A smart person doesn’t accept what they are told.

They don’t just absorb what other people present to them without question. They think about what is being said, and then they ask questions. Intelligent people try to get to the heart of the topic by looking at it from every point. They aim to find out every little bit of relevant information. These people investigate, and they pursue a topic with vigor.

This is what makes you smart. It is not your IQ or ability to memorize a long list of facts. An intelligent person is intelligent because they are as curious and inquisitive as a child. So the next time you are curious about something, ask a question about it. Don’t be shy or afraid that people will think you are ignorant.

Asking who, why, when, what, where or how is not a mark of ignorance. It is the mark of a nubile and quick mind. Lastly, once you ask a question, think about the response. Does it clarify things or is more information necessary? If you need more information, ask again. That is how you learn and brain stays sharp.

14. Watch the News Occasionally

This world is not always the prettiest or kindest place. There are horrors that take place every single day. Wars are happening, and people are dying. Countries are going bankrupt, and companies are liquidating. There are corrupt governments stealing from the same people who voted them into power.

All of this can make the news a grim affair. Many people would rather avoid these channels entirely rather than become depressed at the state of things. This is a natural reaction. But, it is important to bite down the horror and listen to the news from time to time. You need to know what is going on around the world.

You need to know who is disagreeing with who, what arguments are important and where people are devoting resources. Intelligent people don’t live in bubbles. They live in the real world where they strive to know what is happening. Wise people don’t do turn a blind eye to current events, and neither should you.

It is no use simply going through the motions of life. You need to be an active participant in the world. You live in the world and therefore, you can’t exist separate from it. This means you need to know about your world. So you must find out about the headlines of the day.

Thinking about the way the world works is a sure-fire way to increase your intelligence. So, draw on your logical and creative strengths to become a more intelligent person.

15. Be Mindful of What You Eat

You may have heard the adage, “you are what you eat.” And this is true. In fact, some foods are specifically suited to enhanced brain function. However, there are also foods you should actively avoid if brain health is your main priority. At least 60 percent of the human brain consists of fats. Therefore, you should ensure your diet includes a sufficient supply of healthy fats.

But don’t eat a ton of fried food with the excuse you’re eating fats for your brain. These aren’t the kind of fats your brain is craving. Instead, eat fatty fish like salmon or eat a couple of avocados a week. There are also healthy fats and oils that in most nuts. If major dietary changes prove to be too difficult, then consider taking supplements.

There are cold-pressed omega-3 and-6 fatty acid tablets that’ll do the trick. A quick trip to the supplement aisle in the pharmacy will provide all these fats and herbs. Regardless of the way you feed your brain, practice mindfulness when it comes to eating. Remember, what happens to your body happens to the brain.

If you have an unhealthy diet, you will also have an unhealthy brain. Learning and intelligence require the correct environment. The building blocks of this is the food you eat.

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