How often do you think about your brain? Do you ever stop to marvel at it’s incredible power and supreme cleverness? Or at least check in and give it a little spring clean and a re-furb from time to time?
If you’re like the majority of the population, then your answer will be “no”.
Astoundingly, we only use a mere 10% of our brains, yet seldom do we ever think to invest in a little training every now and then. For a long time, scientists believed that we were stuck with the brain we were born with! Luckily for us, that hypothesis has gone out the window!
Enter neuroplasticity – a new theory that has proven one very incredible fact: Our brains can change
This means that if you’re not very intelligent in one area – that’s OK! You have the option to literally ‘change that area of your brain’ through a little training.
An easy way to think about it is like this:
Your brain is a muscle. You need to exercise it regularly.
The exciting thing is that you don’t have to be a millionaire to increase your brain capacity. All you need to do is invest a little time to regularly train your brain.
So what can you do?
Here are 10 simple ways you can increase your brain power and improve your intelligence!
1. Do something new
When you experience something ‘new’ you actually ‘stimulate’ your brain! Don’t get stuck in a rut doing the same old things – the only way to change the structure of your brain is to do something new. This creates new neural pathways, increasing your intelligence. You could take a new route to work, try a new recipe for dinner, or even a new form of exercise – mix it up!
2. Exercise regularly
It’s been proven that regular exercise helps to increase brain function and enhances neurogenesis. This means that every time you exercise you are creating new brain cells! Get off the couch and get moving! Your brain will thank you for it :)
3. Train your memory
How often do you hear people say “I wish I had a better memory!’ Yet no-one does anything about this! If you discipline yourself to memorise phone numbers and other important numbers (passport, credit card, insurance, driving license) you will start to see a marked improvement in your memory.
4. Be curious
Instead of taking everything at face value, get into the habit of questioning everyday things/products, services that you come into contact with. By being ‘curious’ and questioning everything, you force your brain to innovate & create new ideas. Curiosity may have killed that cat, more importantly it created super important things like electricity and computers!
5. Think positive
Stress & anxiety kill existing brain neurons and also stop new neurons from being created. Research has shown that positive thinking, especially in the future tense, speeds up the creation of cells and dramatically reduces stress & anxiety. Try and get a handle on negative thoughts and make an effort to replace them with positive ones.
6. Eat healthy
Our diets have a HUGE impact on brain function. Our brains consume over 20% of all nutrients & oxygen that we consume – so remember to feed your brain with the good stuff! (i.e. fresh fruit and veg & plenty of OMEGA 3 oils found in oily fish)
7. Read a book
Reading relieves tension & stress (brain-cell killers) because it’s a form of escapism. Research has also shown that using your imagination is a great way to train your brain because you force your mind to ‘picture’ what you are imagining. Reading is a great way to trigger your imagination!
8. Get enough sleep
Sleep is like a mini detox for the brain. This is when your body regenerates cells and removes all the toxins that have built up during the day. Get to bed between the hours of 9pm and midnight to benefit from the most effective hours of sleep!
9. Ditch the GPS
Gone are the days of map reading! Sat Nav may have made our lives easier, it has also made our brains lazier and less efficient at the same time! Go back to the old school and use a map to navigate every now and then (this exercises the part of your brain responsible for understanding spatial relationships).
10. Ban the calculator
Remember back at school when we were taught to use our brains to do simple sums like times tables?! It’s incredible how we now rely on devices like smart-phones and laptops to calculate really simple equations. Resist the urge to work things out using an external device – and use the device you were born with – your brain!
(Photo credit: Woman with Many Books in Her Hands via Shutterstock)