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10 Simple Ways to Increase Your Brain Power

10 Simple Ways to Increase Your Brain Power

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 , then your answer will be “no”.

Astoundingly, we only use around 10% of our brains, yet we seldom 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

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This means, 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 some little trainings.

For example: 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 some time to regularly train your brain.

So what can you do?

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Here are 10 simple ways to increase your brain power and improve your intelligence!

1. Do something new

When you experience something ‘new’ that 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 level. You could take a new route to work, try a new recipe for dinner, or even a new form of exercise – mix them 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.

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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 consumed – 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!

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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)

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How to Fight Information Overload

How to Fight Information Overload

Information overload is a creature that has been growing on the Internet’s back since its beginnings. The bigger the Internet gets, the more information there is. The more quality information we see, the more we want to consume it. The more we want to consume it, the more overloaded we feel.

This has to stop somewhere. And it can.

As the year comes to a close, there’s no time like the present to make the overloading stop.

What you need to do is focus on these 4 steps:

  1. Set your goals.
  2. Decide whether you really need the information.
  3. Consume only the minimal effective dose.
  4. Don’t procrastinate by consuming too much information.

But before I explain exactly what I mean, let’s discuss information overload in general.

The Nature of the Problem

The sole fact that there’s more and more information published online every single day is not the actual problem. Only the quality information becomes the problem. This sounds kind of strange…but bear with me.

When we see some half-baked blog post we don’t even consider reading it, we just skip to the next thing. But when we see something truly interesting — maybe even epic — we want to consume it. We even feel like we have to consume it. And that’s the real problem.

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No matter what topic we’re interested in, there are always hundreds of quality blogs publishing entries every single day (or every other day). Not to mention all the forums, message boards, social news sites, and so on. The amount of epic content on the Internet these days is so big that it’s virtually impossible for us to digest it all. But we try anyway.

That’s when we feel overloaded. If you’re not careful, one day you’ll find yourself reading the 15th blog post in a row on some nice WordPress tweaking techniques because you feel that for some reason, “you need to know this.”

Information overload is a plague. There’s no vaccine, there’s no cure. The only thing you have is self-control. Luckily, you’re not on your own. There are some tips you can follow to protect yourself from information overload and, ultimately, fight it. But first…

Why information overload is bad

It stops you from taking action. That’s the biggest problem here. When you try to consume more and more information every day, you start to notice that even though you’ve been reading tons of articles, watching tons of videos and listening to tons of podcasts, the stream of incoming information seems to be infinite.

Therefore, you convince yourself that you need to be on a constant lookout for new information if you want to be able to accomplish anything in your life, work and/or passion. The final result is that you are consuming way too much information, and taking way too little action because you don’t have enough time for it.

The belief that you need to be on this constant lookout for information is just not true.

You don’t need every piece of advice possible to live your life, do your work, or enjoy your passion.

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So how to recognize the portion of information that you really need? Start with your goals.

1. Set your goals

If you don’t have your goals put in place you’ll be just running around grabbing every possible advice and thinking that it’s “just what you’ve been looking for.”

Setting goals is a much more profound task than just a way to get rid of information overload. Now by “goals” I don’t mean things like “get rich, have kids, and live a good life”. I mean something much more within your immediate grasp. Something that can be achieved in the near future — like within a month (or a year) at most.

Basically, something that you want to attract to your life, and you already have some plan on how you’re going to make it happen. So no hopes and dreams, just actionable, precise goals.

Then once you have your goals, they become a set of strategies and tactics you need to act upon.

2. What to do when facing new information

Once you have your goals, plans, strategies and tasks you can use them to decide what information is really crucial.

First of all, if the information you’re about to read has nothing to do with your current goals and plans then skip it. You don’t need it.

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If it does then it’s time for another question. Will you be able to put this information into action immediately? Does it have the potential to maybe alter your nearest actions/tasks? Or is it so incredible that you absolutely need to take action on it right away? If the information is not actionable in a day or two (!) then skip it. (You’ll forget about it anyway.)

And that’s basically it. Digest only what can be used immediately. If you have a task that you need to do, consume only the information necessary for getting this one task done, nothing more.

You need to be focused in order to have clear judgment, and be able to decide whether some piece of information is mandatory or redundant. Self-control comes handy too … it’s quite easy to convince yourself that you really need something just because of poor self-control. Try to fight this temptation, and be as ruthless about it as possible – if the information is not matching your goals and plans, and you can’t take action on it in the near future then SKIP IT.

3. Minimal Effective Dose

There’s a thing called the MED – Minimal Effective Dose. I was first introduced to this idea by Tim Ferriss. In his book The 4-Hour Body,Tim illustrates the minimal effective dose by talking about medical drugs. Everybody knows that every pill has a MED, and after that specific dose no other positive effects occur, only some negative side effects if you overdose big.

Consuming information is somewhat similar. You need just a precise amount of it to help you to achieve your goals and put your plans into life. Everything more than that amount won’t improve your results any further. And if you try to consume too much of it, it will eventually stop you from taking any action altogether.

4. Don’t procrastinate by consuming more information

Probably one of the most common causes of consuming ridiculous amounts of information is the need to procrastinate. By reading yet another article we often feel that we are indeed working, and that we’re doing something good – we’re learning, which in result will make us a more complete and educated person.

This is just self-deception. The truth is we’re simply procrastinating. We don’t feel like doing what really needs to be done – the important stuff – so instead we find something else, and convince ourselves that “that thing” is equally important. Which is just not true.

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Don’t consume information just for the sake of it. It gets you nowhere.

In Closing

As you can see, information overload can be a real problem and it can have a sever impact on your productivity and overall performance. I know I have had my share of problems with it (and probably still have from time to time). But creating this simple set of rules helps me to fight it, and to keep my lizard brain from taking over. I hope it helps you too, especially as we head into a new year with a new chance at setting ourselves up for success.

Feel free to shoot me a comment below and share your own story of fighting information overload. What are you doing to keep it from sabotaging your life?

(Photo credit: Businessman with a Lot of Discarded Paper via Shutterstock)

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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