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8 Ways To Get Smarter Every Week

8 Ways To Get Smarter Every Week

We’ve all heard the same statistic: 1 out of every 4 Americans don’t read any books during the course of an average year. It seems that, for many Americans, learning stops after formal education. Once we’re done with high school or college, we forget everything we learned in school and just focus on advancing our careers.

But studies have shown time and time again that the more active your brain stays during your life, the less likely you will be to develop Alzheimer’s disease or dementia later in life. But keeping your brain healthy and growing your intellect takes more than attending a few classes at the Learning Annex. If you’re serious about getting smarter every week, there are a few simple tips to keep in mind.

1. Make Learning a Daily Task

Whether you want to learn a new word, a new English monarch, or a small bit of trivia, subscribing to a daily language arts or history trivia newsletter or RSS feed is a great way to learn small bits of information on a daily basis.

But it’s not just enough to read this information. If you want to retain it, you’ll need to put it to use. Try to set a personal goal for your daily tidbit, perhaps using your word of the day three times with three different people during the course of the day.

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2. Keep Your Mind Sharp

Solving puzzles can help your brain to stay flexible, and a sharp mind is better at retaining information. Tackle the Sunday crossword puzzle, take up Sudoku, or at least try your hand with the kid’s word jumble in the local paper. Even puzzle-based video games can help you stay sharp.

    3. Focus on Cumulative Learning

    Do you remember what testing was like in high school? Chances are, you crammed all week for a big exam, and the second you turned in your paper, all that knowledge went right out of your head. You knew you weren’t going to be tested on it later on in the year, so what was the point?

    To avoid something similar happening on your quest to get smarter every week, make sure what you’re learning this week builds on knowledge acquired in previous weeks. A good example of this is learning a language. Every bit of vocab and grammar is dependent on what you already know, so your mind is much less likely to dump that knowledge.

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    4. Take Up a New Hobby

    Getting smarter is partly about learning new facts, and partly about using parts of your mind that aren’t usually used. A new hobby will challenge your brain in new ways. If you tend to be more analytical or technical in your pursuits, try branching out into painting. If you’re generally a creative person, take up a hobby like restoring old cars.

      5. Eat Right

      Consider supplements like ginko biloba to aid in memory, and make sure you’re eating enough fats. Your brain can’t work if you’re on a starvation diet, your brains need cholesterol and fats to work correctly. Other foods such as broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, berries, and fish can also aid with memory and proper brain function.

      6. Think Positive

      As Stepcase Lifehack’s own Leon Ho explained in a past post, thinking that you are capable of getting smarter allows you to actually get smarter.

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      “Students who were members of vulnerable groups (e.g., those who previously thought that intelligence cannot change, those who had low prior mathematics achievement, and female students) had higher mathematics grades following the intelligence-is-malleable intervention, while the grades of similar students in the control group declined. In fact, girls who received the intervention matched and even slightly exceeded the boys in math grades, whereas girls in the control group performed well below the boys.”

      7. Stay Active

      “Exercise and staying active helps protect your brain against dementia in later life,” says Dr. Anne Corbett. “It also helps keep your weight down, which is important because obesity increases the risk developing of dementia later in life. Be careful of sports that can cause head injuries since footballers and boxers have a higher rate of Alzheimer’s disease.”

        8. Quit Smoking

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        A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine followed 21,123 Californian smokers between 1978 and 2008. The study found that those who were heavy smokers doubled their risk of memory loss later in life. If you’re trying to raise your intelligence, smoking is a habit that will not serve you well.

        Conclusion

        Getting smarter involves a combination of learning new information, retaining that information, and maintaing the health of your brain. If you can manage to do all three, you’ll raise your intelligence by leaps and bounds.

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        Tucker Cummings

        Writer and social media professional sharing productivity tips on Lifehack.

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        Last Updated on September 10, 2019

        7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

        7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

        Most of your reality is not a given. It is shaped by your expectations, beliefs and thoughts you have formed about it. A big chunk of these beliefs and expectations are encoded into habits you integrate in your daily life.

        Yes, some of these habits are formed unconsciously and can be counter-productive or limiting but conversely, you can consciously form positive habits that will transform and empower your life significantly.

        This is a powerful point of departure that more and more people are becoming aware of. The most common trait of highly successful people is the recognition of the power they have in co-creating their reality through changing the way they think, believe or expect their reality to be.

        One of the most effective ways of changing our belief patterns is through practising and maintaining daily rituals. Ancient traditions had clearly understood the power of rituals in reinforcing habits and changing the way we see and create our reality a long, long time ago.

        Once again, if you look into the life history of any highly successful individual, you will find some form of ritual in their daily routine. Some of these rituals may seem banal or eccentric but don’t be deceived by appearances. Rituals are one of the most effective self-empowering tools freely available at the practitioner’s disposal – that is, you!

        Below are some the easiest yet life-changing morning rituals you can do every day. Of course, you can have your own afternoon or bed-time rituals but morning rituals are extremely effective in empowering your day since they help you charge yourself before it all starts.

        1. Gratitude

        Feeling gratitude and appreciation for those little signs and moments of joy happening in your life is probably one of the most overlooked or underestimated rituals. It is a perfect morning ritual to start your day on a very positive key.

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        The real power of gratitude is that it makes you pick out and focus on what is working in your life – what is in tune with your being as a whole. It is selectively positive. It reinforces happiness and positivity by shedding light on those awesome things, small or big, that grace your everyday living.

        Quite often, we just pick out the pain points, the problems, the bottle necks, whatever it is that is not working in our life and causing friction, anxiety and unhappiness. This is like constantly rewriting the script of your life with a negative or tragic overtone. Your subconscious mind follows faithfully that script you write whether it is a negative or positive one.

        So feeling gratitude is undoubtedly an immensely empowering ritual. Start your day by being thankful for those positive things that happened the previous day or throughout the week. It could be something really petty and small. It doesn’t matter. You might be grateful for an unexpected visit from an old friend, a beautiful encounter with a kind stranger, a new opportunity or whatever it is that shines your way. Do it every morning and see what happens during the day.

        Gratitude-Quotes

          2. Writing Down Your Most Important Tasks

          This is a very practical ritual. Start your day by identifying and writing down from one to three of the most important tasks you need to complete during that day. These tasks are ones which support important long term goals that are aligned to your purpose, passion or general direction in life.

          For example, if writing a book or building an online community are important long term goals which are aligned to your personal growth, then an important task for the day might be finishing off a particular page or two of the book or coming up with fresh content ideas for the online community.

          What is important with this ritual is that you identify these tasks and complete them as early in the day as possible. Of course, you will have other tasks apart from the ones you will write down but, these are tasks which can be tackled later or batched up and carried out in one go.

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          Writing down your most important tasks in the morning helps you focus your day and life according to what is essential. It helps you prioritize and manage your time better. As a result, you simplify your life by applying your focus and energy on what really counts for your overall life progress.

          3. Affirm Your Goals in Writing or Drawing

          This is similar to the previous idea but different in its application and purpose. Writing down your most important tasks of the day is a way to have a concrete structure of action to follow. Affirming your goals, on the other hand, is a very powerful way of crystallizing your vision and goals in life into your everyday mental space.

          Writing down or doodling your goals on a piece of paper helps you externalize those goals by giving them form. In return, they are reflected back in your subconscious mind and thus, reinforcing them and integrating them more wholly.

          An example of this would be writing down “I am achieving greater success in my career” or “I am becoming healthier and stronger through my exercise.” Notice the present tense being used as a way to tell yourself you are in the process already. Remember the life script we subconsciously follow? You are basically modifying the script to be applied now in the present.

          Drawing or doodling can be equally, or even more, effective  (if you are more of a visual person) as it summarizes a graphical representation of your goals. For example, if your goal is to build a new house or live in another country, you can draw the house or draw things that symbolise the country you want to live in.

          write down goals

            4. Practice Qi Gong Exercises

            According to Chinese philosophy, Qi (pronounced ‘Chee’) means the life force or energy inherent in all things;[1] and Qi Gong is the practice to cultivate and circulate that energy in your body. This may sound esoteric or complicated but actually, Qi Gong is really a set of simple exercises aimed at increasing your health and vitality.

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            There are numerous forms and practices available for free through the online media. As a morning ritual, I recommend following these simple exercises by Qi Gong master Lee Holden:

            5. Drink Hot Water with Lemon

            Simply add a slice of lemon in a glass of hot water and drink one every morning. This is a very simple ritual I follow faithfully every morning.

            Apart from being a good source of vitamin C and a great way of flushing out toxins in the morning, it balances and maintains the PH levels in the body, reduces pain and inflammation in joints and knees and helps nourishing brain and nerve cells. Here are some more benefits of drinking hot water with lemon.

            6. Rise Earlier

            The practical advantages of waking up early are obvious.

            For example, you gain more time for doing exercise such as walking, cycling or Qi Gong as suggested above. You gain more time to be with yourself to reflect, meditate or, more importantly, carry out the other morning rituals.

            So rising early can be seen as a foundation for all the other morning rituals. Many, like myself, find that they are more productive in the early hours of the day.

            Also, various studies have shown that there are many other benefits from waking up an hour or two earlier in the morning. Sleeping early and waking up early helps the body attune with the earth’s circadian rhythms thus, promoting more restorative sleep. Other curious results from such studies show, for instance, that early risers tend to be more optimistic and can anticipate and solve problems more efficiently than the norm.[2]

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            7. Listen to Uplifting Music

            Uplifting music can have a direct impact on our mood, especially in the morning. It charges us emotionally and tunes us into a more positive outlook of the day ahead.

            Most people wake up to music or listen to music as they commute to work. Very often, however, they tune in to a radio or randomly pick a playlist from their device. Being more selective and conscious of the music you listen to in the morning can have a great impact on your day and life in general.

            It’s funny how we try to choose music according to our mood. For example if you are feeling down or disappointed by something, you are more prone to listen to music that reflects that mood – for instance blues, sad songs or downtempo music. This has the effect of reinforcing that mood. What you need to do is the exact opposite and retune your mood by listening to music that beats to a different tune than that mood.

            Try to listen to more uplifting music in the morning even if, or especially if, your mood does not dictate so.

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            Featured photo credit: Carli Jeen via unsplash.com

            Reference

            [1] Live Science: What Is Qi Gong
            [2] Harvard Business Review: Defend Your Research: The Early Bird Really Does Get the Worm

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