IQ stands for Intelligence Quotient. It’s the score which we can derive from several groups of tests that assess human intelligence capability. But when we talk about our IQ, are we referring to a fixed number, like our date of birth, or can it be changed over time? Yes, it can be changed, and not just the way your age changes - in one direction, for the worse - but changed for the better. Just as a gym workout improves your physical shape and health, a mental workout can do the same for your intelligence.
So, here are 9 clever ways to boost your mental fitness and break your own IQ personal best!
1. Write Down Your Thoughts
In "Early Mental Traits of Three Hundred Geniuses", Catherine M. Cox studied the habits of 300 geniuses (like Newton, Einstein, and Jefferson), and found that they were all "compulsive" journal keepers. They seem to have used diaries as extensions of their brains. By journaling, they were able to refine and develop their ideas.
Scribbling down your thoughts, ideas, and theories has the tremendous power to help you easily solve problems, stay focused, and logically think things through. There’s something about the act of committing your ruminations to paper that gets your attention and forces you to grapple with things without putting them immediately to one side. Plus, it’s a fun way to exercise your mental processes!
What Should I Write? First of all, you needn't worry about the quality of your English prose style. You are writing for you, and you alone. Journaling is an introspective tool which allows you to develop your ability to express yourself in language. Start by writing out your life's day to day events, the people around you, and your thoughts and feelings. Also, write about the things you want to do and how you could go about achieving your goals.
2. Focus on Your Breathing
It's been shown that a low level of oxygen in the blood leads to a decrease in brain function. So, because deep breaths send more oxygen through your blood and brain, breathing through your nose can immediately improve your brain functionality.
Focus on your breath and gain control over both your consciousness and sub-consciousness. This simple exercise will provide your brain with a calm meditative silence that will do wonders for your mind power, leading to a gradual IQ improvement.
Watch the following BabaMail video for a tutorial on how to practice the calm-breathing that can get you thinking as clearly as you should be.
When you play strategic and competitive games like Scrabble, Sudoku, and crosswords, your cognitive thinking is placed to the fore. Certain games like chess and solitaire sharpen your mind and provide a terrific boost to your memory cells’ performance.
We at BabaMail are proud to offer you a wide selection of quizzes and riddles designed to help increase your memory and processing speeds. We recommend starting with this quiz- which will challenge every aspect of your IQ - and moving on from there. It's important to get into the habit of testing yourself. Though you may find it rough going in the beginning, eventually you will see your confidence soar.
4. Starve Your Brain
A great way to keep your brain sharper long-term is to fast from food. This abstinence has been shown to increase the number of neurons in your brain. People who fast often notice that their body reboots itself, sending rivers of new energy coursing through the body as a kind of reaction to alleviate the pain of hunger. The same thing happens to your brain, allowing you to think more clearly than before.
How do I start out fasting?
If you have little or no experience of fasting, the important thing is that you don't go overboard by drastically reducing the amount of food you consume. Start small, for example by skipping one meal a day for about two weeks. We don't recommend eating less than one meal per day for any substantial length of time though. And certainly DO NOT refrain from drinking water regularly.
NOTE: Always consult with your doctor before beginning any kind of fast.
Getting stuck in a monstrous routine deprives you of one of your minds greatest assets: the ability to thrive when challenged by a new situation. Doing new things forces your mind to make new decisions and seek new solutions, testing your mental capabilities to their fullest. So, go and challenge your mind with something new and pull yourself out of that rut! It will exercise parts of your mind that have been neglected for a while, helping you to blow away the cobwebs and boost your IQ.
10 Example of new experiences
1. Visit a part of your town you've never been to or explored much before.
2. Learn 10 phrases in a new language.
3. Listen to a genre of music you haven't tried out before. What about jazz, blues, or classical?
4. Plant some flowers in your garden.
5. Learn to cook a new dish.
6. Watch a classic movie you haven't seen before
7. Invite some friends over for a BBQ.
8. Visit the local library and borrow some weekend books.
9. Greet a neighbor you don't normally talk with.
10. Research information about a different country on the internet.
6. Don’t Over-Rely on Devices and Machines
It can be very tempting to seek an answer to questions from the ubiquitous devices and computers of our ‘information age’. Yet, when the answer is something you could easily figure out yourself, you should always refrain from asking a machine for help. Improve your logical thinking and mental balance by performing arithmetic and solving other puzzles by yourself. Your mind is sure to thank you for the extra exercise.
Retrain yourself to perform mental mathematics How is your mental mathematical skill? First, take our test to see how much you've remembered from school. Then, read this brilliant article outlining seven tips for mental mathematics that they SHOULD have taught you in school.
But it's not only arithmetic that you can do by yourself. Every morning you should be able to ask yourself what three things you need to do to have a productive day. Once you've figured this out by yourself, you have all the resources you need to go out and do them - without getting bogged down by machines.
7. Learn How to Play a Musical Instrument
A multitude of studies have shown that children who grow up using musical instruments have stronger IQ scores than those who don’t. Playing instruments requires a high level of hand-eye coordination which greatly improves motor and cognitive skills. It doesn’t matter how old you are though, learning an instrument you’ve always felt an attachment to is an excellent way to exercise your mental resources.
Free Piano Lessons
You can find hundreds of free resources designed to help you learn your chosen instrument. Just searching YouTube will bring you many hours of excellent tutorials, such as this playlist from Mr. Hoffman. Visit The Hoffman Academy website for more information about their basic free and premium courses ($15 per month).
8. Do Physical Activities
In the book "Brain Rules", molecular biologist Dr. John Medina, argues that to create the protein BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) we have to be physically active. BDNF builds and nourishes our brain's infrastructure of cell circuitry. Going without exercise can, therefore, lead to a serious deterioration in mental power.
Indeed, it’s an all-too-frequently forgotten truth that exercising not only has good general health effects, but also goes a very long way towards treating ‘mental illnesses’ such as depression, anxiety, and ADHD. Such physical exercise relaxes your brain and provides a kick-start to your memory skills.
There are an endless amount of things you can do to keep active. Even if you don't have the energy and stamina for a game of soccer, what's to stop you from walking, swimming, cycling, or even slow dancing?
9. Connect Your Ideas Together
Holistic thinking is very important for the greatest thinkers. To practice the habit of holistic, connective thinking do the following: when you learn a new topic, relate it as much as you can to things you already know. Making mind maps is a great way to help you visualize this connective process in action. You’ll be amazed how often different bits of info combine and fit with one another.
How to make mind maps - 5 steps
Step 1: Create a central idea, the topic you will explore. Write it in the center of the page, and use an image to represent it. Make the image as personal as you can.
Step 2: Decide what the key themes are for the main idea and add them as branches. You can expand on these by adding child branches to them.
Step 3: Each branch needs to be labeled with a key idea. If you label it simply with one word, you will have more chances to branch out from it.
Step 4: Color code your branches. The colors will aid your mind to form mental shortcuts.
Step 5: Use images. Images convey more information than words do to us and are processed more speedily and efficiently by our brains.
Furthermore, listen to this TEDx talk by mental expert, Tony Buzan, on the power of our minds to "map"