The research concludes that we can control our own brain waves. By practicing meditation we can feel whatever we want to feel whenever we want to. This means we can feel more powerful right before a negotiation, more confident when asking for a raise and more convincing during a sales call.
4. Brainstorm To Become Smarter
When was the last time you solved Sudoku? Or played board games with friends and family? Riddles, card games, puzzles are mind games that increase our brain neuroplasticity and IQ. Solving Sudoku is one of my favourite hobbies.
Brainstorming complicated chess games or tough riddles changes neural pathways and synapses, which help us to see things from different points of view. It helps us understand the cause and effect of behaviors and emotions.
As our cognitive abilities improve, we become aware of new patterns, learn things faster and memorize more. Scientists have found that people with high neuroplasticity are at lower risk of anxiety and depression.
Inflated view of cortical thickness differences in Chinese chess experts. Cortical thickness and functional connectivity changes in Chinese chess experts.
5. Be Physically Active.
It doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym and pump iron. You need to keep moving instead of sitting on the couch and binge-watching Netflix or working for long hours on your business project. Walking or running is also a form of exercise and one of my favorite hobbies.
Regular exercise strengthens connections between brain cells and increases BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor) protein that helps with learning, concentration, memory, and understanding, also often referred to as mental acuity.
See the image below – It clearly shows how the brain is more active (red region) when walking for 20 minutes than when sitting alone.
6. Learn A Foreign Language.
Research has shown that people who learn a new language can develop new brain areas. People who can speak more than one language are better at solving puzzles than people who speak only one language. Learning new languages is one of the wonderful hobbies that make your brain sharp. It boosts your critical thinking, listening skills, attentiveness and makes you perform better at mentally demanding tasks such as planning and problem-solving.
7. Test Your Cumulative Learning.
There are people who don’t study throughout the semester but master the topic the night before the big test. Coool and smart isn’t it? However, learning anything in this style makes you forget it quickly. Because you may be rarely required to repeat that knowledge in that same way. When you study all along in bits and pieces during the semester, you will feel better prepared for the exam.
Remember when you first learn a new language, you start with alphabets, words and sentences. You need to master the basics and understand the grammar and vocabulary and repeat countless times as you improve the new language skills. This serves as a building block for subsequent development.This is cumulative learning and that’s how learning a new language makes you smarter.
You can apply the same concept in your day to day basis like at your workplace by keeping track of important details and bits of knowledge you acquire during meetings and conferences. Maintain a small journal to note down anything that strikes your attention. Start integrating cumulative learning into your self-improvement program.
If you try hard, you can keep developing your brain irrespective of age. Different hobbies or activities stimulate different areas of your brain, making you smarter over time. So start focusing on self-improvement and cultivate the above-mentioned hobbies that can boost your brainpower.
Are you ready to become smarter?
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- Wanjek, C. and Bak, T., 2014. Learning a New Language at Any Age Helps the Brain. Live Science. Np.
- Arnold, J. and Fonseca, M.C., 2004. Multiple intelligence theory and foreign language learning: A brain-based perspective. International journal of English studies, 4(1), pp.119-136.
- Ieraci, A., Mallei, A. and Popoli, M., 2016. Social isolation stress induces anxious-depressive-like behavior and alterations of neuroplasticity-related genes in adult male mice. Neural plasticity, 2016.
- Hassinger-Das, B. and Hirsh-Pasek, K., 2019, January. Brain Training for Kids: Adding a Human Touch. In Cerebrum: the Dana forum on brain science (Vol. 2019). Dana Foundation.
- Kabat-Zinn, J. and Davidson, R. eds., 2012. The mind’s own physician: A scientific dialogue with the Dalai Lama on the healing power of meditation. New Harbinger Publications.
- Ghabanchi, Z. and Rastegar, R.E., 2014. The correlation of IQ and emotional intelligence with reading comprehension. Reading, 14(2), pp.135-144.