Do you want to be smarter?
You can't boost your IQ overnight, but you can get a little smarter every day.
With enough motivation and determination, anyone can expand their mental capabilities and become smarter.
Integrating new habits into your regular routine and providing proper stimulation can sharpen your intellect quickly and leave you inspired to take on new challenges each day.
Brain health--a component of "being smart"--is an important key in total physical health.
So how can you get smarter? These are my top life hacks for improving brain health and consequently keeping my brain sharp and smart every day.
1. Feed your brain with the right nutrition.
An engine without proper fuel can't run. Your brain is an engine, and needs the right fuel.
The takeaway is simple: A healthy diet is crucial to thinking clearly and making decisions.
That doesn't mean you need to hop on the latest diet trend. Instead, make sure to cover the basics: whole foods, vegetables, and lean meats. Try to eliminate as many processed foods and added sugars as possible.
To be smarter, add quality fats to your diet, such as almond butter, avocado, coconut oil, salmon, grass-fed beef, and more.
These foods have a lot of fatty acids (Omega 3s), which help create new neurons and reduce inflammation in the brain. Expert research shows that Omega 3s also improve your mood naturally, enhance your memory and protect against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and dementia.
Assuming you're feeding you brain the right nutrients, you must also cut out the foods that will hinder your mental performance and productivity.
One important rule: Stop dragging around your emotional baggage.
As Tony Robbins said, "Your past does not equal your future."
If you want to be smarter, meditation is the quickest way of doing that. It helps rewire the brain, removing negative associations and helping you become more aware of the thoughts and emotions that guide your day-to-day behavior.
In my life, for instance, meditation helps lessen the pain from failures in business (of which I've experienced many).
It creates space, giving me time to respond without reacting.
3. Keep a journal.
Like meditation, journaling is one way to help bring awareness to my thoughts.
Whenever I meet someone, read a book, or have a spontaneous thought, I immediately jot it down for future reference. This helps me remember things better, building and strengthening those neural pathways in my brain.
These days, many people young and old take notes on their phones and laptops. I'm a bit of a Luddite in this regard and prefer to write my journal by hand. It's a personal preference, but recent research supports the fact that handwriting things actually makes us smarter.
The connection between your brain and body tends to be stronger each time you jot down thoughts using your hand.
Tip: To get the brain-boosting benefits of journaling, you don't have to be a professional writer or be good at writing. Just express yourself using simple words and you'll get most of the benefits.
4. Regularly change your environment.
As you've probably heard by now, "sitting is killing us." And while there's a kernel of truth to that statement, the true killer is monotony.
The common habit of resting on your couch and watching TV all day wastes your time as well as your brain.
Avoid this habit and instead invest your money in experiences that stimulate your creative juices. Travel more, and your mind will be opened by new cultures.
5. Practice yoga.
When I just started my career, I was constantly tired and on the verge of burnout, feeling unmotivated and groggy. This was despite the fact that I ate fairly healthy and regularly hit the gym.
A friend recommended that I take a yoga class, saying that the added flexibility and breathing exercises would help my body relax and get stronger simultaneously. Yoga workouts make me feel sharper, more focused, and more present with my friends and colleagues.
6. Get social.
I like debating and analyzing ideas with other people because those conversations help me gain more knowledge and new perspectives.
As it turns out, they make me smarter, too. A study from the University of Michigan explored the idea that socializing with other people enhances mental functioning. In the study, participants were instructed to socialize for a set period of time, then their brains were scanned for activity to assess the levels of cognitive function.
The result? People who socialized more in groups displayed higher levels of mental function than those who did not. The simple act of small talk actually boosted intelligence.
In other words, social interaction helps to "exercise" your mind. So next time you'd rather eat at your desk, remember that you'll be sharper and more focused if you take a break and grab lunch with your co-workers.
7. Apply what you learn.
Treat life like an A/B test. If you're regularly tracking your experiences, either by journaling or some other way, then look back and ask yourself: What did I learn from this?
If you found something that works, some environment that makes you happier or more creative, go out and try to replicate the results and see what happens.
Above all, have fun with it. Enjoying yourself is essential to getting smarter. As Dale Carnegie put it, "People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing."
Let the joy of learning be your guide in life.
We need more intelligent people in the world, and it's time you joined the list.
I've shared seven techniques for boosting your intelligence. Consider trying two or three of them for now and see how they help.
Just know that there is always someone who is smarter than you, and that you are also smarter than someone else.
Have a sense of humility, enjoy the process, and your brain will be sharper than you ever thought possible.
What are you doing to get smarter every day?