If you want to improve your life this year, you cannot ignore the importance of your brain power. Many people think of intelligence as something that is inborn and set. You are as smart as you are and you can’t do much to change it. But that simply is not true. The fact is, there are many things that can improve your mind and make you smarter.
Strengthen Your Heart and Lungs
It may come as a surprise to you, but exercise is actually one of the best things you can do for your brain. Oxygen is vital to your brain’s health. Your lungs bring oxygen into your body, and your heart transports oxygen to every body part, including the brain. Your lung and heart capacity can be increased pretty significantly if you exercise frequently. So a healthier heart and lungs = a healthier, sharper mind.
A recent piece of research caught my attention. Driving a car while sleep deprived is actually even more dangerous than being slightly under the influence of alcohol. Sleep is that important to the overall function of our brain. We still don’t understand the exact purposes and mechanics of why and how we sleep, but one thing is clear – sleep is critical to our capacity to think quickly and clearly. Prioritize your sleep if you want to be the smartest person in the room. Not sure how? Here’s a whole post on improving your sleep.
Try New Things
Recent research suggests that one of the best ways to delay mental aging is to constantly give your brain new challenges. You could try anything from as challenging as learning a new language to as simple as brushing your teeth with your nondominant hand. Anything you do that is novel exercises your brain and helps you become sharper.
Do Things the Hard Way
Navigate your next trip without the aid of your car’s GPS. Calculate the tip at dinner tonight without your phone’s calculator. Memorize and remember your shopping list without writing it down. At first, these may feel challenging, but by doing things the hard way, you are giving your brain the equivalent of a workout in the gym. You don’t have to eschew modern conveniences all the time, but don’t rely on them every single time or your brain will lose agility.
One measure of intelligence is called crystallized knowledge. Crystallized knowledge is all of the things you know. Columbus discovered the New World in 1492. The Toronto Blue Jays won the 1993 World Series. Water molecules contain two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen. How can you increase crystallized knowledge? Read. Read as broadly as you can. Grab Kindle Unlimited, scour the million plus titles you can read, find things you want to know more about, and read.
Give these suggestions and try, and you’ll be improving not only your mind but also your life this year.
To your daily growth!