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3 Incredible Ways Science Improves Your Kids’ Lives (For Successful Futures)

3 Incredible Ways Science Improves Your Kids’ Lives (For Successful Futures)

Most people know by now (at least I hope most do) that playing music to your infants while they’re still in their cribs… actually increases their IQ and EQ.

We’ve heard a lot by now that playing classical music boosts our ability to study. (So much in fact that repeating this feels like I’m beating a long-gone dead horse.)

But… researchers conducted a scientific experiment involving control groups. And kids in the “music” group performed better on tests than the kids who did the tests without music.

Musical training, as it’s called, isn’t just for kids, either. Playing music helps everyone learn more effectively. (Especially learning music theory.)

(And, personally, there is no greater joy than listening to music and knowing how to play the songs I love. From Bob Dylan’s folksy beginnings all the way to Tom Waits’ serene melodies. Love truly is the power of music.)

But this is just the tip of the ice-berg when it comes towards using several social sciences to make your kids smarter.

Another CRUCIAL way is by using…

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1. Exercise Increases Intelligence

Did you know that being fit and in good shape increases our learning abilities?

This is because exercising for as little as 3-months increases our brain’s blood flow. This is crucial to understand… because… that blood flows to the parts of our brain associated with memory and learning.

It’s been well-documented that exercise increases brain derived neurotrophic factors (BDNF) and lowers cortisol.

Cortisol, as I’m sure you’re aware, is the ipso facto “stress” hormone in our bodies. Too much cortisol and our heads go through the roof in an explosion!

Regular, consistent exercise lowers cortisol. That’s a fact.

Promoting BDNF is important because it’s related to cognitive improvement and the eradication of depression and anxiety. (It’s actually a protein that is commonly referred to as “Miracle-Gro for the brain.”)

Exercising to spike BDNF and reduce cortisol levels is much safer and faster than taking antidepressants – which usually take up to two weeks (all the way up to a month) to kick in. Plus, not all antidepressants are created equal, and may end up doing more harm than good.

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For a more immediate (and natural) way to lower anxiety and depression, as well as annihilate stress, take 10 minutes out of your day for some exercise with your kid.

This is why jumping jacks are a staple among serious health lovers. They get you heart rate up, put some oil on your limbs, and keep you young. Same as burpees. (If traditional burpees are “beneath you”, here’s over 44 burpee variations to make things interesting and brutal.)

Best part is – kids don’t even have to do these for long! All they need per day is 10 minutes of these exercises. (If they can make it that long – burpees are killers.)

To prove your kids’ mettle and increase their fluid and crystallised intelligence, give them a round of exercise. Something as easy as…

  • 5 jumping jacks
  • 5 burpees
  • 4 jumping jacks
  • 4 burpees
  • 3 jumping jacks
  • 3 burpees
  • And so on. (This is a REAL work out! Try it out for yourself if you don’t think so.)

Plus, counting the burpees and jacks as they’re doing them can stimulate their recollection memory.

2. Lets You “Hack” Into Success (Quickly)

When we’re figuring out how to do something – a DIY weekend project, or figure out how to work some new device (like an mp3 player)… do we figure out how to do it by reading about it?

Sure. We might read a few how to articles, hit up YouTube or Vimeo for instructables. But it isn’t until we actually go ahead and DO it that the doing gets done. (You can read about how to change the cold/hot water hoses on washing machines – but you’ll never know how to until you actually change them. Same as how you read books on raising infants – it wasn’t until you actually practicedwhat you read about that you knew how to.)

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The same goes for children: we, as humans, learn the most by engaging in activities. Not passively reading about them or watching screens.

In fact, some researchers have made the argument that all those “educational” DVDs and teaching shows don’t make kids smarter; for infants under 12 months exposed to this type of media, they make them dumber.

Well, not dumber – that’s cruel to say. I should say that infants (and kids) who watched those “Baby Einstein” movies didn’t have any distinct advantage over plain-ol’ learning.

Author of The Talent Code (a best-selling book that shows you the best ways for nurturing talent using cutting-edge neurology, and how to utilise that talent for future success), Dan Coyle suggests testing ourselves (and your kids) on skills you read about. This gives you (and your child) the greatest chance for learning.

3. Happy Kids = Successful Adults

Is there really a science behind happiness?

Yes, yes there is.

Inspiring happiness and actually keeping your kids happy (as much as possible) boosts their self-esteem. This self-esteem transforms into increased performance. Which translates into later success as an adult.

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It seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? But the scientific evidence is there.

Obviously, since you’re a role model to your loved ones, being happy yourself (in front of them) is the first step to take to make sure they have smiles across their faces – as children mimic their parents.

Conclusion

All the way back in 1968, Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson performed a study in the classroom.

They simply told certain teachers that they had particular students who were academically gifted. (When, in fact, the students who were told they were gifted were chosen at random.)

Mean? Maybe. But it doesn’t change the fact that those kids – by year’s end, had performed better on tests than the “non-gifted” students. So much so that they acquired 20+ IQ points when tested.

So encourage your kids! This is above and beyond one of the best things you can do to ensure your kids are smarter.

If you value your chilrens’ future happiness and success at all, you’ll follow (and DO) the hints and tips listed above. Why not give it a shot? You have nothing to lose and everything wonderful to gain.

Featured photo credit: woodleywonderworks/CC BY 2.0 via flickr.com

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Maya Levine

Passionate Writer & Researcher

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Last Updated on September 10, 2018

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

We thought that the expression ‘broken heart’ was just a metaphor, but science is telling us that it is not: breakups and rejections do cause physical pain. When a group of psychologists asked research participants to look at images of their ex-partners who broke up with them, researchers found that the same brain areas that are activated by physical pain are also activated by looking at images of ex-partners. Looking at images of our ex is a painful experience, literally.[1].

Given that the effect of rejections and breakups is the same as the effect of physical pain, scientists have speculated on whether the practices that reduce physical pain could be used to reduce the emotional pain that follows from breakups and rejections. In a study on whether painkillers reduce the emotional pain caused by a breakup, researchers found that painkillers did help. Individuals who took painkillers were better able to deal with their breakup. Tamar Cohen wrote that “A simple dose of paracetamol could help ease the pain of a broken heart.”[2]

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Just like painkillers can be used to ease the pain of a broken heart, other practices that ease physical pain can also be used to ease the pain of rejections and breakups. Three of these scientifically validated practices are presented in this article.

Looking at images of loved ones

While images of ex-partners stimulate the pain neuro-circuitry in our brain, images of loved ones activate a different circuitry. Looking at images of people who care about us increases the release of oxytocin in our body. Oxytocin, or the “cuddle hormone,” is the hormone that our body relies on to induce in us a soothing feeling of tranquility, even when we are under high stress and pain.

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In fact, oxytocin was found to have a crucial role as a mother is giving birth to her baby. Despite the extreme pain that a mother has to endure during delivery, the high level of oxytocin secreted by her body transforms pain into pleasure. Mariem Melainine notes that, “Oxytocin levels are usually at their peak during delivery, which promotes a sense of euphoria in the mother and helps her develop a stronger bond with her baby.”[3]

Whenever you feel tempted to look at images of your ex-partner, log into your Facebook page and start browsing images of your loved ones. As Eva Ritvo, M.D. notes, “Facebook fools our brain into believing that loved ones surround us, which historically was essential to our survival. The human brain, because it evolved thousands of years before photography, fails on many levels to recognize the difference between pictures and people”[4]

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Exercise

Endorphins are neurotransmitters that reduce our perception of pain. When our body is high on endorphins, painful sensations are kept outside of conscious awareness. It was found that exercise causes endorphins to be secreted in the brain and as a result produce a feeling of power, as psychologist Alex Korb noted in his book: “Exercise causes your brain to release endorphins, neurotransmitters that act on your neurons like opiates (such as morphine or Vicodin) by sending a neural signal to reduce pain and provide anxiety relief.”[5] By inhibiting pain from being transmitted to our brain, exercise acts as a powerful antidote to the pain caused by rejections and breakups.

Meditation

Jon Kabat Zinn, a doctor who pioneered the use of mindfulness meditation therapy for patients with chronic pain, has argued that it is not pain itself that is harmful to our mental health, rather, it is the way we react to pain. When we react to pain with irritation, frustration, and self-pity, more pain is generated, and we enter a never ending spiral of painful thoughts and sensations.

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In order to disrupt the domino effect caused by reacting to pain with pain, Kabat Zinn and other proponents of mindfulness meditation therapy have suggested reacting to pain through nonjudgmental contemplation and acceptance. By practicing meditation on a daily basis and getting used to the habit of paying attention to the sensations generated by our body (including the painful ones and by observing these sensations nonjudgmentally and with compassion) our brain develops the habit of reacting to pain with grace and patience.

When you find yourself thinking about a recent breakup or a recent rejection, close your eyes and pay attention to the sensations produced by your body. Take deep breaths and as you are feeling the sensations produced by your body, distance yourself from them, and observe them without judgment and with compassion. If your brain starts wandering and gets distracted, gently bring back your compassionate nonjudgmental attention to your body. Try to do this exercise for one minute and gradually increase its duration.

With consistent practice, nonjudgmental acceptance will become our default reaction to breakups, rejections, and other disappointments that we experience in life. Every rejection and every breakup teaches us great lessons about relationships and about ourselves.

Featured photo credit: condesign via pixabay.com

Reference

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