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7 Ways To Become Smarter Even You Can Do

7 Ways To Become Smarter Even You Can Do

It’s always a great idea to work on our cognitive abilities in order to become smarter. After all, isn’t this a life skill that we can all agree is beneficial for us? If you want to become smarter, here are a seven great activities that will help you out.

1. Trivia Games

Trivia games are a great way to boost your cognitive abilities if played regularly. It’s not that this is about filling our heads up with facts and being a bore at a party—although that could be you if you wish. Instead, when you remember things such as trivia facts, you can become smarter by improving your long-term memory. Not only will you become smarter by playing, but by engaging friends or relatives you can deepen relationships through good-natured competitiveness. Surely this is better than slouching in front of the TV?

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2. Learn Song Words

As odd as this might sound, if you take time to learn the words of your favorite songs, you can make yourself smarter and get a bit more creative, too. Initially focus on your all time faves, and then work through your favorite albums and then onwards. If you cannot hear all of the words then look them up online (Google is your friend here). Most people who like music should be able to find more than 100 songs with lyrics that they would enjoy knowing the words to. By learning the words and tunes, not only do you improve your memory skills, you also engage some of the more creative aspects of your brain.

3. Playing Puzzles

Like trivia games, puzzles will help you become smarter by engaging the problem-solving parts of your brain. Whether you prefer jigsaws (which help your spacial awareness), sudoku (problem solving and number handling) or crosswords (language and problem solving), there is a puzzle game for you that can extend your smartness.

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4. Play Some Poker

Poker not only involves strategy but also weighing risks and acting accordingly. Poker requires you to know your hand and anticipate the other players’ actions. You need to learn how to read people’s “poker faces” and you need to anticipate what kind of a pot that you can win. Since poker games have lots of different rules, you will increase your knowledge and memory through playing.

5. Strategy Card Games

There are many different forms of strategy card games that will help you become smarter. These can include simple card games like the well known game Uno, all the way up to complicated collectors’ card games, such as Magic: The Gathering. Like poker, all of these games will increase your cognitive ability and make for great social activities.

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6. Video Games

Some people might consider playing video games to be a waste of time, but there are many games that can challenge you in ways you may have not considered. High-action, quick-thinking, first-person, shooting or driving games require the player to be aware of surroundings and act accordingly. Not only that, but the abstract nature of games and hand-to-eye coordination require the brain to engage in a way that isn’t usually associated with becoming smarter.

Aside from the high-octane, there are also “brain training” games. Whether straightforward puzzles, or more story-based adventure games, these will help you with puzzle solving and hand-to-eye coordination.

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7. Read, Read and Read Some More

Last but not least, reading will definitely help you become smarter. Whether it is poetry, books, magazines or web pages that you read, it doesn’t really matter as long as you read regularly. Reading helps you to develop your memory and improve your language skills. If you are the kind of person who can relax with a book for more than 15 minutes at a go, then you are also exercising your concentration skills. Not bad for something that so many people take for granted.

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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