Many of us think that our intelligence is a fixed quantity that can’t be changed, but research suggests that this isn’t true. The way we approach situations and the things we do to nourish our brains can significantly impact our mental prowess.
Even if ‘getting smarter’ isn’t a priority for you, stretching your mental muscles will help you be more creative and help you think in new ways, both at work and in your personal life. The following six habits are easy to carry out and can be incredibly beneficial to your cognitive function.
1. Use your online time wisely
While most of us spend time online catching up with friends, reading celebrity gossip or watching videos of cute animals – the Internet offers a vast opportunity to increase intelligence. Why not spend some of your time listening to thought provoking talks or start an online course?
2. Write what you learn
Taking just a few minutes every day to write down what you have learnt that day can help you to reflect. On top of this, reiterating the lessons you’ve learnt this way will help you to retain the information as it forces you to recap what you’ve learnt.
3. Play games
Puzzles and board games are a great way to pass the time and give your brain a workout; problem solving games like scrabble and Sudoku are particularly beneficial.
4. Read more
This one shouldn’t come as a big surprise. By reading more you will widen your vocabulary and boost your learning potential. Opinions vary regarding the subject matter you should read, but experts agree reading a lot (whatever it is) is beneficial.
5. Learn a new skill
Learning a new skill will understandably help to challenge your intellect, no matter how irrelevant the skill may seem. A good example to highlight this is the story of Steve Jobs, who wandered into a calligraphy course when he dropped out of college. At the time the skill seemed irrelevant, but the design skills he learnt here were later used in the first Macs.
6. Have some downtime
While doing all these intellectually stimulating activities is great for the brain, it is important to give yourself some time to absorb it all. Allow yourself some mental space at the end of the day – maybe spend some time in silence or exercise to quiet your mental chatter.
If you want some guidance when it comes to self-development, you may find it useful to hire a coach. Find out more on our personal development page.
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