People in this modern world usually don’t have the time or simply don’t care about increasing their brain power. And most people still believe that IQ is static and can’t change. However, your general intelligence, which is measured by IQ, is dynamic and changing in between some range.
Whether you are a busy person or not, you can still increase your brain power. There are simple activities, believe it or not, that could help your brain to maintain its performance, or even improving it.
No, I can’t guarantee that by doing these things you will improve your IQ to 180. What I know for sure is that you can improve a few points by doing all these simple things. All you need is to be consistent and do it every day.
According to a research done by Harvard, Yale, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, meditation can increase your brain size. Brain scans they conducted reveal that experienced meditators boasted increased thickness in parts of the brain that deal with attention and processing sensory input. Meditation also helps you relieve your stresses.
2. Play video games
Certain types of video games can help to train the brain to become more agile and improve strategic thinking, according to scientists from Queen Mary University of London and University College London (UCL). Strategy games help you to solve problems while FPS and racing game boosts your reflexes.
This is the most simple and common way but also the most underrated one. When you read, your brain process information, allowing it to create new neuron pathway in order to understand the information and gain knowledge. Force yourself to absorb new information and, ultimately, gain new knowledge.
4. Question everything
This one does not come up with a reference, but most of the genius people love to ask questions. They ask everything which they didn’t understand about. To asks means to seek for answers. When you question something, you try to solve all the problems looking for an answer. You think, and thinking is an exercise for your brain.
5. Listen to music
Research has shown that listening to music while exercising boosted cognitive levels and verbal fluency skills in people diagnosed with coronary artery disease (coronary artery disease has been linked to a decline in cognitive abilities). In this study, signs of improvement in the verbal fluency areas more than doubled after listening to music compared to that of the non-music session.
6. Keep on learning
By learning, the size and structure of neurons and the connections between them changes. Learning is not only reading books, it can be traveling to new places, learn a new language, learn to play a music instrument, or even surfing the web.
7. Make time for friends
According to HelpGuide.org, humans are highly social animals. We’re not meant to survive, let alone thrive, in isolation. Relationships stimulate our brains—in fact, interacting with others may be the best kind of brain exercise.
8. Minimize stress
Stress is one of the brain’s worst enemies. Over time, chronic stress destroys brain cells. Also, studies have also linked stress to memory loss.
You’ve heard that laughter is the best medicine, and that holds true for the brain and the memory, as well as the body.
Furthermore, listening to jokes and working out punch lines activates areas of the brain vital to learning and creativity.
10. Play brain games
According to Danette Rivera from Breaking Muscle, brain games and certain puzzles and brainteasers help create new associations between different parts of the brain, which keeps it sharp.
11.d Getting organize
Clear the desk and the mind at the same time: An organized workspace may help improve memory and cognitive skills.
Research suggests doodling during a cognitive task helps improve memory because it keeps the brain stimulated
There are lots of cognitive benefits to letting the mind wander, like increased creativity and problem-solving ability, according to this research.
14. Writing by hand
The younger generation may not do this a lot anymore, but writing words by hand can improve cognitive skills like learning and memory.
15. Sharpening the senses
It’s important to challenge the brain in shape by keeping all the senses sharp. Try involving new senses in routine activities, like eating with the eyes closed and placing more emphasis on taste and smell.
16. Watch TV
On the contrary to popular beliefs, one study found people who watched a half-hour TV show performed better on intelligence tests than people who listened to classical music, worked on crossword puzzles, or read books.
Just make sure don’t watch it more than one hour.
17. Take an unfamiliar route back home
Trying new activities stimulates the release of dopamine, which increases motivation and the growth of new neurons.
18. Memorize your city
In one study, London taxi drivers showed structural changes in the part of the brain associated with spatial memory.
Try to not get lost while not using any maps.
19. Play an instrument
According to this study, the parts of the brain responsible for motor control, hearing, and visuospatial skills may be more developed in musicians than in non-musicians.
20. Speak it out loud
Want to remember something better? There’s evidence that we remember ideas better when we speak them out loud.
21. Learn a new language
Most of the people who talks more than three languages have higher IQ than everybody else. Studies show Alzheimer’s symptoms develop more slowly in bilingual speakers than in those who speak just only one language.
22. Think positively
You can not learn much if you always think negatively. Cheer up.
Research suggests people learn more when they believe intelligence isn’t fixed.
23. Write down ideas
According to Julie McCormick from LifeHack.org, writing ideas down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it.
That is the reason why professors in universities told us to write our notes manually, although it is already in the text book.
24. Visualize things
Try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. And when seeing things, try to memorize the shape, color, and details in order to store it better in your memory.
When you teach someone, you recall all the information needed and reconstruct it, thus enhancing the memory itself.
26. Draw a picture
According to a post at Food Matters, drawing stimulates the right-hemisphere of the brain and inspires creativity. Get out the colored pencils and begin drawing your way to a powerful brain.
27. Brainwave entrainment
Brainwave entrainment is a safe and innovative way to stimulate and shape the brain and it’s functioning. You can build up more control over your life and exploit your brain’s potential.
28. Engage in debate
A good, healthy debate strengthens the brain’s ability to think quickly and apply intelligence to verbal situations. Work to build up your brain power by engaging in plenty of healthy debate.
29. Change your environment
To keep your brain properly stimulated, it is important to keep changing your environment. Drive a new route to work, eat at a new restaurant on Friday night. Changing the environment helps change the brain!
30. Set goals
Setting goals activates areas of the brain associated with positive thinking and action. Setting goals is great for achieving success and prosperity in life and boosting your brain.
31. Be empathetic
Being empathetic and trying to understand the emotions of others is a skill that your brain can learn. Being empathetic is definitely a powerful trait to have and allows your brain to relate to the emotions of others.
A good brainstorming session to think of new, stimulating ideas is a great way to boost your brains ability to think creatively. Brainstorming is actually a different way of thinking that will equip your brain with a quick creative boost.
33. Write an article
Writing is linked to an improved memory and expression of thoughts. When you write, you are strengthening your brain’s natural ability to convey thoughts and feelings. Writing is a great way to exercise your ability to analyze and build a thought process with critical thinking. Journals, diaries, blog entries and writing stories are phenomenal ways to fulfill your brain.
34. Do self-hypnosis
The power of hypnotic suggestion is definitely real. You can change aspects of your thought process and learn to shift your focus by taking the time to do some self-hypnosis. Hypnosis research shows that by practicing hypnosis, the individual experience lowered stress, increased pain tolerance, and clear thinking. Try it out for yourself if you haven’t already!
35. Turn off the TV
On 16 I suggested to watch TV, but here it is, watching TV may not be the only reason which rotting begins in the brain, but it is a key ingredient to the rotting process. A little T.V. will never hurt anybody, but it does definitely change brain functioning. The act of watching T.V. slows brainwaves and causes a decline in brain fitness.
The key is, watch TV but not more than an hour.
36. Paint a picture
On 26 you’re being told to draw, but now you’re being told to paint. What’s the difference? Well, drawing and painting are not the same things. Drawing is dry (e.g. using a pencil or pen), painting needs paint and a brush. Drawings are made by using lines, and paintings are done by using smudges or stains.
Being able to visualize where you want paint to go on paper sparks pure creativity from within. Painting is an exercise that gets the right-brain fully functioning and improves your creative side. If you haven’t tried painting a picture, give it a shot and notice that you’re likely to feel and be more creative.
Don’t be afraid to cry when the time is right! Crying actually heals emotions and promotes healthy circulation within the brain. Those who are able to cry are actually cleansing the inside of their brain, which is another very healthy way to increase brain power.
38. Solve puzzles
Solving puzzles is a great way to stimulate your brains ability to critically think and process information. Puzzles are thought provoking, challenging, and a fun activity. The great thing about puzzles is that they require activity in the left-hemisphere of the brain to work with, and transfer information to, the right hemisphere’s visual center of the brain.
39. Do neurofeedback
Neurofeedback is a great way to learn to consciously control your brain wave patterns. Neurofeedback builds brain structure and helps promote flexibility within a brain’s neural network. Though neurofeedback is somewhat costly, if you’ve got enough money — it may very well be the best investment you can make for your brain!
40. Be self-aware
When you learn to let go of ego-driven and emotional aspects of life, rational thinking kicks in. Rational thinking will allow you to become self-aware, which in turn allows you to make better future decisions to achieve optimal brain health. Activities like meditation, self-hypnosis, and introspection allow us to increase our self-awareness.
41. Stay in school
If you are in school, chances are good that you will boost your brain power more than the average dropout! Keeping up with school work, means giving your brain a good workout in areas of self-discipline, learning, and mental processing. Stay in school, or do something to always be learning something new!
42. Do N-Backs
According to an article on Examined Existence, N-back tasks are a series of performance tasks used as an assessment tool in cognitive neuroscience to evaluate a certain area of the short-term memory. Considered as the cornerstone brain-training exercise, the n-back task is also considered as a method to boost fluid intelligence. It requires a person to mentally juggle several things simultaneously.
There are several good n-back apps on both the Android and Apple marketplace; the one I suggest is Brain N-Back.
43. Play chess
Chess improves verbal skills by utilizing all the abilities of a person, as many aptitudes or faculties of the mind are utilized whenever the game is played.
Creating and appreciating art are powerful ways to develop a healthy brain. If you engage yourself with sculpture, you get to develop new skills such as color and textural discrimination, spatial differentiation and creative thinking.
45. Track your genealogy
In an article posted in Psychology Today, a study reveals that people who traced their roots performed better on a series of cognitive tests than people who had other thoughts. Although the reason is unclear, rediscovering your ancestry tend can significantly help you gain insight into the present time.
46. Engage in good conversation
A systematic review done by psychology professors at the University of Michigan explored the effects of social interaction on mental functioning, and revealed that there is a relationship between socializing and improved cognition.
47. Do something random
Doing something randomly helps your brain by adding some stimulus to it. It doesn’t just add twist to every single day; it makes you think and think and think. People tend to have decreased mental activity if they do things in a usual manner, like brushing one’s teeth with the dominant hand or ordering the same food at a restaurant.
The explanation is simple, if you are healthy, then your blood circulation will be optimal, thus allowing your brain to perform without any problem. Brain need blood to get the oxygen needed to create the energy to think. An intense exercise also helps your body to release the Human Growth Hormone which is crucial for the brain’s overall health.
49. Use your left hand (right if you are a lefty)
In a study done by researchers from Israel found that clenching with your left could improve your thought process. Basically, when you use your non-dominant hand, your brain will try to adapt to the new way of doing things, thus creating or improving some of the areas.
50. Get enough sleep
Sleep is known to enhance your memories and help you practice and improve your performance of challenging skills. A single night of sleeping only four to six hours can impact your ability to think clearly the next day. Just make sure that you don’t oversleep because it can lower your brain performance.
51. Check for heart disease
Cardiovascular disease and its risk factors, including high cholesterol and high blood pressure, have been linked to mild cognitive impairment.
52. Check for diabetes
Studies show that people with diabetes experience far greater cognitive decline than those who don’t suffer from the disease.
Volunteering can lower your stress levels and increase mental functioning. Not only does it feel good, but it promotes brain health by raising self-esteem.
54. Strength Training
Research suggests strength training can also boost cognitive functioning. That’s because lifting weights may increase levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which controls the growth of nerve cells.
According to Shana Lebowitz from Greatist, research suggests dancing involves mental challenges like coordination and planning, and may protect against cognitive decline.
56. Play golf
One study found golfing causes structural changes in the parts of the brain associated with the sensorimotor control.
57. Do yoga
Research suggests yoga can improve mood and concentration, enhance cognitive performance, and even prevent cognitive decline in older adults.
58. Power naps
In one study, young adults who napped for 90 minutes showed significant improvements in memory. But another research suggests even naps that last a few minutes can increase alertness.
The plaque that accumulates between teeth can actually trigger an immune response that prevents arteries from getting nutrients to the brain.
60. Lawn mowing
One study found lawn-mowing releases a chemical that relieve stress and might even boost memory in older adults.
61. Lying down
It’s possible that memory improves when the head hangs lower than the rest of the body. This is because the blood flows better in your head. And one study found people solved anagrams faster when they were lying down than when they were standing.
62. Deep breathing
Deep breathing actually increases oxygen levels and blood-flow to the brain. 10-15 minutes of daily deep breathing can make a huge difference in the quality of your life and brain’s functioning potential.
63. Take a walk
Exercise definitely benefits the brain, and walking is a great form of exercise that is easy and very effective for boosting brainpower. Walking puts your mind in a relaxed state of clear thought and brain function. Walking gives your brain a chance to wander and free itself from any troubling thoughts.
64. Do impersonation
Being able to impersonate other’s actions and talk activates several areas of the brain that are usually inactive. Impersonating others, if done in a fun, playful manner, can improve your brain power and the brain’s natural ability to adapt quickly when faced with new situations.
65. Have sex
Having sex is a great way to naturally release vital hormones in the brain. When involved in a loving relationship, having sex improves social connection as well as emotional intelligence. Sex is connecting, stress-relieving, and a great way to give your brain a boost. Chances are that sex will also improve your confidence and ability to think positively!
66. Light therapy
A dip in alertness and focus during the day can often be due to excessive melatonin, which can induce sleepiness. Unfortunately, most websites, magazines or books tell you that the answer to this issue is to expose the eyes to more light in the morning via using something like a “light box”, which produces blue light.
However, blue light is not good for your eyes, and you can do this alternatively by limiting your exposure to blue light in the early evening – via both limiting use of TV’s, phones, and computers at night, and also using blue-light blocking glasses, applications like Flux, and computer screen covers in the evening.
67. Animal-based Omega-3 fats
According to Dr. Joseph Mercola from Mercola.com, Docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, an omega-3 fat, is an essential structural component of both your brain and retina. Approximately 60 percent of your brain is composed of fats—25 percent of which is DHA. DHA is also an essential structural ingredient of breast milk, which is believed to be a major reason why breastfed babies consistently score higher on IQ tests than formula-fed babies.
Omega-3 fats such as DHA are considered essential because your body cannot produce it, and must get it from your daily diet. DHA-rich foods include fish, liver, and brain—all of which are no longer consumed in great amounts by most Americans
68. Coconut oil
There’s a substance that can feed your brain and prevent brain atrophy. It may even restore and renew neuron and nerve function in your brain after damage has set in.
The substance in question is called ketone bodies or ketoacids. Ketones are what your body produces when it converts fat (as opposed to glucose) into energy, and a primary source of ketone bodies are the medium chain triglycerides (MCT) found in coconut oil!
Everyone tolerates coconut oil differently, so you may have to start slowly. Coconut oil is best taken with food, to avoid upsetting your stomach.
69. Vitamin D
Activated vitamin D receptors increase nerve growth in your brain. An appropriate sun exposure would take care of these issues as the sun is irreplaceable when it comes to the body’s ability to produce adequate amounts of vitamin D
70. Traditional fermented foods
Your gut bacteria are an active and integrated part of your body. If you consume a lot of processed foods and sweetened drinks, for instance, your gut bacteria are likely going to be severely compromised because processed foods, in general, will destroy healthy microflora. Limiting sugar and processed foods, while eating traditionally fermented foods (rich in naturally occurring good bacteria) is one of the best ways to optimize gut flora and subsequently support brain health.
71. Vitamin B12
Mental fogginess and problems with memory are two of the top warning signs that you have vitamin B12 deficiency, and this is indicative of its importance for your brain health.
B12 is available in its natural form only in animal food sources. These include seafood, beef, chicken, pork, milk, and eggs.
72. Limit calories and saturated fat
Research shows that diets high in saturated fat (from sources such as red meat, whole milk, butter, cheese, cream, and ice cream) increase your risk of dementia and impair concentration and memory.
73. Green tea
Green tea contains polyphenols, a powerful antioxidant that protect against free radicals that can damage your brain cells. Also, regular consumption of green tea may enhance memory and mental alertness and slow brain aging.
74. Drink wine (or grape juice)
Drink wine in moderation (around 1 glass a day for women; 2 for men), alcohol may actually improve memory and cognition. Red wine appears to be the best option, as it is rich in resveratrol, a flavonoid that boosts blood flow to the brain and reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Other resveratrol-packed options include grape juice, cranberry juice, fresh grapes and berries, and peanuts.
75. Stay hydrated
Hydration is essential to keep the brain working properly, and research suggests being thirsty can distract us from the cognitive tasks we’re trying to do.
76. Eat spices
Research suggests certain spices can help preserve memory. Cumin and cilantro are especially powerful memory-boosters.
77. Leafy green vegetables
The antioxidants in these lean greens offer powerful brain protection from conditions like strokes, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease.
78. Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds contain nutrients that seriously improve cognitive performance. Zinc in pumpkin seeds could improve memory; the vitamin E in nuts can enhance cognitive skills.
79. Complex carbs
Complex carbohydrates improve alertness by offering energy that lasts through the day. Go for whole-wheat bread, brown rice, and oatmeal.
Studies suggest the caffeine in an eight-ounce cup of coffee can improve attention and short-term memory.
Research suggests quercetin, a chemical in apples, offers great neuroprotection, meaning it protects brain cells against damage from free radicals that can cause cognitive decline. Most of the quercetin’s in the apple skin, so keep the peel for an extra boost.
A recent study found the flavonols in dark chocolate offer a short-term boost in cognitive skills.
83. Chewing gum
Not only it is fun to chew gum, but also, studies have found chewing gum improves mood and alertness.
84. Chicken and eggs
It doesn’t matter which came first, both foods are great sources of choline, which can help improve cognitive performance, especially memory.
85. Fatty foods
As long you don’t eat them too much, research suggests fatty foods improve long-term memory. A hormone released during the digestion of some fats improves the part of the brain responsible for long-term memory formation.
Sugar is sweet, but only if you don’t over consume it that it will give you benefits. A little bit of glucose (25 grams) can boost alertness and improve memory.
According to this study, people who drink a glass of milk daily perform better on tests of memory and other cognitive functions.
Start to do all these simple things every day, and come back after a month to report your results here in the comment section.
88. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrups
Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other, and high fructose corn syrups can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.
89. Avoid junk foods
Junk food has been proven to decrease energy in the body and promotes “brain fog.” Cut some junk food from your diet, and reap the benefits of a more calm, focused brain chemistry.
90. Fish oil
Fish oil supplements are literally like membrane material for the brain. The 2 primary components of EPA and DHA each act to strengthen both the emotional center of the brain and boost focus.
If you don’t like to consume all different kinds of multivitamin pills, just take a multivitamin, an all-in-one pill to facilitate your brain daily needs.
92. Eat less
Eating too much food has the effect of decreasing blood-flow to the brain and increasing blood-flow to the digestive system. Therefore, if you are able to cut-back on the total amount of food you consume, you will have enhanced brain functioning. In several lab studies, rats on a calorie-restricted diet had increased blood flow in their brains.
93. Eat breakfast
When kids who hadn’t eaten breakfast for awhile, began to eat breakfast, their math grades went up an entire letter grade (on average). Breakfast is probably the most important meal of the day — it provides your body with fuel for the rest of the day. If you don’t have time to eat an entire breakfast in the morning, at least, have some sort of snack.
94. Reduce excessive alcohol consumption
Alcohol in moderation isn’t terrible for the brain, however, too much alcohol is damaging to brain health and function. If you want to boost brain power, cutting alcohol is a great way to do it. Alcohol can cause memory problems and encourage “foggy,” disorganized thinking.
95. Drug-free lifestyle
Everyone knows that drugs are bad for them. Drugs do not foster creativity, they kill creativity and deplete brain cells. Depending on the drug, effects can range from brain bleeding, to cell loss, to impairments in neural growth. Live drug-free and keep your brain more powerful!
96. Drink freshly squeezed juice
Drinking fresh pressed vegetable juice revitalizes the brain and provides cells with a refreshing jolt of nutrients. Most juices provide your brain with vital nutrients which in turn, provide you with more mental energy and focus.
97. Ginkgo Biloba
Ginkgo Biloba has been scientifically researched and documented to significantly increase blood-flow to the brain. Ginkgo Biloba is a fairly inexpensive way to pump up your brain’s blood-flow. Increased blood flow to the brain is correlated with an increase in focus and problem solving. Try some Ginkgo Biloba and allow your brain to reap the benefits!
98. Sniff basil
I personally haven’t tried this method, but there seem to be many claims testifying for Basil’s effectiveness at improving overall brain function. Either way, certain fragrances actually change brain functioning. Taking a whiff of peppermint speeds up brain functioning while other fragrances actually slow things down! Since scent is the strongest thing tied to memory, some good fragrances can definitely help out brain functioning.
99. Fatty acids
A substance called “arachidonic acid” is one of the most abundant fatty acids in the brain, and is crucial your neurological health, since it helps build the cell membranes in your hippocampus, helps protect your brain from free radical damage, and activates proteins that are responsible for growth and repair of neurons in your brain.
According to Ben Greenfield from Ben Greenfield Fitness, “In my opinion, it would be silly to supplement with arachidonic acid since it is readily available in food sources, including Tilapia, catfish, yellowtail and mackerel (sushi anyone?), fatty cuts of meat, duck, eggs and dairy.”
Compared to other similar triglycerides and dietary fats, phosphatidylserine is found in abundance in neural tissue, where it serves as a structural component of cell membranes, and also as an inhibitor of acetylcholine (which means it can increase alertness, and dopamine/glutamate levels in your brain).
Supplement/pill forms of phosphatidylserine tend to be expensive, especially when you consider that you can get it at fairly high levels in seafood, particularly herring and mackerel.
101. Vitamin K2
Your brain contains one of the highest concentrations of vitamin K2 in your entire body, and it is in this area of your body that Vitamin K2 prevents free radical damage to neurons and contributes to the production of the protective “myelin” sheets around your brain cells.
But the fact is, unless you have a serious deficiency or disease that requires K2 intake, you’re better off getting it from natural sources: grass-fed beef, fermented dairy products (like kefir) and natto (a fermented soybean derivative).
Vitamin C has long been thought to have the power to increase mental agility. One of the best sources of this vital vitamin are blackcurrants.
According to Jo Lewin from BBC Good Food, evidence accumulated at Tufts University in the United States suggests that the consumption of blueberries may be effective in improving or delaying short term memory loss. Widely available, so there’s no excuse.
There is good evidence to suggest that lycopene, a powerful antioxidant found in tomatoes, could help protect against the kind of free radical damage to cells which occurs in the development of dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s.
105. Quit smoking
When you smoke, instead of feeding your brain with oxygen, you’re filling it with carbon monoxide and free radicals that decrease its cognitive ability and cause injury to the inner lining of its blood vessels. Smoking decreases cognitive ability and poses the risk of cerebrovascular diseases like stroke. Needless to say, smoking causes cancer.
106. Pumpkin seeds
Just a handful of pumpkin seeds a day is all you need to get your recommended daily amount of zinc, vital for enhancing memory and thinking skills.
A great source of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function and improve brainpower.
Sage has long had a reputation for improving memory and although most studies focus on sage as an essential oil, it could be worth adding fresh sage to your diet too.
Basically, there are three aspects to increase brain power.
First, we need to think and make our brain learn new things. Our brain reshapes and reconstructs when we learn new things. So, try new things as much as possible.
Second, the brain is a body-part, so we should make sure that our body is healthy and fit by doing exercises. The brain needs blood to ensure its functioning. Exercise helps the body to circulate blood better.
Third, to have enough energy to think and to stay healthy, we need to eat healthy foods. Vitamins are essential for our brain, it is like the oil for our brain. Healthy foods, that is.
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