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12 Strategies for Making Yourself Smarter, Backed by Science

While nothing can replace a good education, there are some science-backed ways to keep yourself sharp. If you want to feel sharper, start these habits.

12 Strategies for Making Yourself Smarter, Backed by Science

Using strategies for making yourself smarter can transform your entire life. We all want to feel a bit more intelligent, and doing so may open many doors of opportunity in the process. Thankfully, you don’t have to attend University in order to reap the benefits.

In today’s post, we’re going to dive into 12 specific things you can start tomorrow.

1. Join a Book Club

Reading makes you smarter. We’ve known this for countless generations and it’s as relevant today. Reading gives you new perspectives as well as new vocabulary. Yet, the vast majority of Americans over school age do not read and those who do, do so very rarely. So, grab some friends and start a book club. Or, you could always search on Facebook if you don’t feel like starting your own. A book club will give you an incentive to actually sit down and read.

2. Talk to people

So you’re not a social butterfly. I get it, me neither. Yet, it is other people who might hold the key to bettering yourself. Listen to stories. Other people are the key to becoming educated. So skip the Wikipedia articles and speak to people, after all, they’re the ones editing them.

3. Sleep

Most adults are getting enough sleep. They are inhibiting their own potential by skipping those last few hours. Your brain needs to rest and you need to give it the time it needs to repair. When it has all the sleep that it needs, you’ll find yourself sharper and more aware. Your quality of life will also skyrocket beyond belief. You can also skip that last cup of Starbucks coffee, which your wallet with appreciate.

4. Exercise

When you live a busy life, it can be hard to find time to go to the gym. A lot of people don’t associate exercise with intelligence either, citing a tired “Dumb Jock” stereotype. Exercising releases a whole host of hormones from the reward part of the brain that make you feel better and more energized. This might entice you to learn. It has also proven that people might learn better while exercising, so listen to podcasts or books instead of Taylor Swift!

5. Write

Like reading, writing will train your mind. Further, you have the added benefit of activating your creative side as well. You will open up a side of yourself that accesses long forgotten vocabulary and facts. It can be pretty cathartic, as well, which might not make you smarter, but will boost your mood.

6. Brain Training Apps

What isn’t there an app for these days? Brain training apps combine simple puzzles of mathematics to increase your sharpness. I’d say, most people I know, short of teachers or engineers, use the math they learned in school very rarely. While we complained about it when we were still in school, people pay good money now to remember how to do them and make themselves feel smart again.

7. Play Video Games

They used to tell parents to limit their children’s access to video games, saying it would “rot your brain”. We now know that plenty of video games actually increase motor skills as well as help in decision making and teamwork. Much of it is a side effect of general socialization, but working towards a goal helps people sharpen their mind.

8. Learn an Instrument

We used to think that the parts of the brain that cultivate creative and logic were two separate parts and worked. While it may be two different sections, they work together. Learning a new instrument, as well as learning how to read sheet music, access the same part of your brain that recalls facts. Plus, you’ll impress your friends!

9. Disconnect

The online world is much more appealing to some people than the outside world. This is understandable, as the culmination of human knowledge and achievement is accessible in seconds in a google search. Yet, there is a beautiful world out there that was once all our ancestors had. Go find yourself relaxed in the simplicity of nature and give your mind a break from the constant barrage of information!

10. Travel

It is hard to travel. While other cultures make traveling a priority, Americans stand alone in their disinterest. The world out there has so many cultures and customs that people would need to visit to appreciate. Do not become resigned to traveling via Google Earth and save for a plane ticket. Nothing will make you smarter than experience.

11. Learn a Language

It is hard to learn a new language as an adult. It is even more difficult when that language has different grammar and structure than your native language. The struggle you will experience will be immense and you will get frustrated often. But imagine going to a country you’ve never been to and being able to converse with the natives. Imagine the things you’ve haven't experienced because of the language barrier. Learning a language is accessible with online programs like Rosetta Stone or Duolingo.

12. Believe In Yourself

Self-actualization is a powerful thing. Tell yourself you are smart and you can think yourself into it. Unfortunately, you can’t believe you know something and magically know it. You can find your motivation through this type of positive thinking. Your desire to be smart can lead to you taking the proper steps toward it!

You are smart. You have to the tools to make yourself smarter. The only barrier to getting to your goals is your lack of motivation. You can start small, that’s okay. Often, we find ourselves pushing past our limitation and getting frustrated. Set realistic goals from yourself and set about making small changes to achieve them. Make sure you use everything at your disposal and you’ll find yourself in a different place in a couple weeks!

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