In today’s complex world, being smart and continuing to increase your intelligence is more important than ever. With the exponential growth of information and technology, we all need to find ways to boost our brainpower so we can keep up. The good news is that science has revealed many proven methods for improving intelligence. Let’s explore some quick answers about what makes you smarter followed by an in-depth look at the key factors that increase intelligence.
What are some quick answers for what makes you smarter?
Here are 5 quick answers to what makes you smarter:
- Learning continuously throughout life, especially challenging new skills.
- Exercising regularly – this promotes growth of new brain cells.
- Getting enough sleep so your brain can consolidate memories.
- Consuming foods and supplements that nourish your brain like fish oils, berries, nuts and seeds.
- Reducing stress through meditation, yoga or just taking time to relax.
While genetics plays a role, these lifestyle factors have been scientifically proven to increase intelligence and cognitive functioning over time.
Why is continuous learning so important for your intelligence?
Learning should not stop when you finish formal education. The brain is capable of growing new connections and adapting at any age, so continuing to learn new information and skills is critical. Challenging your mind with new activities boosts processing speed, memory, concentration, problem-solving and abstract thinking over time.
Specifically, activities that involve multiple senses like sight, sound and touch stimulate more areas of your brain to make stronger connections. Learning a new language, instrument or hobby like woodworking are great examples. Work activities like mastering a new computer program also qualify. Bottom line – keep learning throughout life and your brain will stay sharper for longer.
How does regular exercise make you smarter?
Exercise may be the closest thing to a magic bullet for intelligence. The brain is like a muscle that needs physical activity to stay toned and grow. Regular cardio exercise like running, swimming, cycling or aerobic classes increase blood flow delivering oxygen and nutrients to the brain. This spurs the growth of new neurons and neural connections to expand your cognitive capabilities.
Weight training may be just as beneficial. A study from Colombia University found that weight lifting boosted long-term memory by about 15% as it stimulated new cell growth in the hippocampus region of the brain.
Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week. Even short bursts throughout the week can boost brainpower.
Why is sleep critical for smarter thinking?
While you sleep, your brain is actually hard at work consolidating memories, processing information and strengthening neural connections. Without enough quality sleep, your cognitive performance severely declines. Getting the recommended 7-9 hours per night helps your brain function optimally.
Deep sleep is the most critical phase for boosting intelligence. It normally happens earlier in the night. The stages of dream sleep (REM) later at night also play a role in integrating memories. Doing activities to de-stress before bed like taking a bath, reading or meditating will help you get higher quality sleep consistently.
How does your diet affect intelligence?
The foods you eat provide the nutrients that your brain cells need to thrive and communicate. Here are key nutrients to get enough of daily:
- Omega-3 fatty acids – found in fish, chia seeds, walnuts. Helps neurons communicate.
- Antioxidants – found in berries, dark chocolate, pecans. Protects cells from damage.
- B vitamins – found in eggs, chicken, broccoli. Essential for neuron function.
- Vitamin D – found in seafood, yogurt, milk. Boosts cognitive performance.
A Mediterranean style diet high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains and fish has been shown to improve memory and processing speed. Limit sugary and heavily processed foods which can impair brain function.
How do supplements boost brainpower?
Certain supplements can directly provide raw materials to enhance your brain connectivity. Here are top supplements linked to better cognition:
- Fish oil – Provides omega-3s for neuron communication. 2,000 mg daily is recommended.
- Vitamin B complex – Supports energy production in the brain. Aim for 100% DV.
- Ginkgo biloba – Stimulates blood flow to the brain. 120-240mg daily is common.
- Cocoa flavanols – Increases blood flow to the brain. 500-1000 mg recommended.
Always check with your doctor before starting any new supplements, especially if you are on medications. Many of these can be obtained through food sources as well.
What is the best way to reduce stress for better thinking?
Chronic stress impairs your cognitive abilities by elevating cortisol and inflammatory chemicals. Finding ways to regularly relax is essential for stronger memory, focus and mental energy. Here are proven methods:
- Meditation – Just 15-20 minutes daily reduces stress and boosts brainpower.
- Yoga – Research confirms yoga improves memory and information processing speed.
- Nature time – Spending time outdoors has cognitive benefits.
- Music – Listening to relaxing music lowers cortisol.
- Socializing – Spending time with friends helps manage stress.
It’s important to find relaxation techniques that work for your personality. Make them a regular habit for maximum cognitive benefits.
How can you train your brain to think faster?
Processing speed is a major component of intelligence. If your brain takes too long to think through complex information, you won’t be able to keep up. Here are key ways to increase thinking speed:
- Memory exercises – Repeated memory games build quicker recall capability.
- Limit multitasking – Focus on one task at a time to train concentration.
- Increase challenging activities – Learn new skills requiring fast adaptation.
- Speed reading – Use apps and books to continually improve reading speed.
- Fast paced video games – Action video games have been shown to boost speed.
Be patient, it takes time to train your brain to overcome inertia and think faster. But doing targeted exercises for 10-30 minutes a day can create noticeable improvements within a few weeks to months.
How does problem solving ability increase intelligence?
To make smart decisions in work and life, you need the ability to recognize patterns quickly and solve all types of problems. This requires fluid intelligence – the capacity to think logically and apply knowledge to new situations. Here are proven ways to improve problem solving ability:
- Do brain teasers – Crossword puzzles, Sudoku, logic problems.
- Study math – Mathematics develops logical thinking abilities.
- Learn a challenging new skill – Playing chess improves fluid intelligence.
- Discuss ideas with others – Debating develops reasoning skills.
- Take on new responsibilities – Stretch roles improve adaptability.
With regular practice, you can get better at quickly analyzing information, recognizing patterns and applying knowledge from different fields. This builds the mental flexibility needed to solve problems.
Why is reading critical for developing intelligence?
Reading stimulates many areas of your brain and builds crucial cognitive skills:
- Improves memory – Reading strengthens recall ability.
- Increases vocabulary – Learning new words expands thinking capability.
- Boosts imagination – Books allow you to visualize new worlds and possibilities.
- Enhances concentration – Reading trains focused attention span.
- Reduces stress – Getting lost in a book provides relaxation.
Challenging books and reading on a variety of topics exercises your brain most. Aim for 30-60 minutes of reading each day for maximum benefits.
Increasing your intelligence and brainpower is absolutely possible at any age. Make learning continuously throughout life a priority. Exercise regularly, get quality sleep, reduce stress and eat a brain nourishing diet. Supplement strategically to provide key nutrients. With time and consistency, you can enhance your cognitive abilities and think smarter.