It used to be thought that we were all stuck with whatever level of intelligence we came with, into the world.
But that isn’t entirely true.
Even though a greater percentage of it is influenced by genetics; like several other natural endowments, environment and personal effort also play a role.
Nurturing your intellect by boosting your brain and mind power and enriching your body can give your intelligence a boost.
Here are 13 simple ways to achieve that.
#1. Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise has amazing benefits for enhancing the body, mind and brain.
It boosts the blood supply to the brain. Since, the blood conveys oxygen; exercise indirectly boosts oxygen supply to the brain thereby enhancing the capacity to think.
Also, from a study carried out at the University of British Columbia, researchers discovered that regular aerobic exercise could boost the size of the hippocampus, which is the area of the brain responsible for verbal memory and learning.
Exercise also improves mood and sleep and reduces stress and anxiety. It also stimulates the release of chemicals that affect the health of brain cells, enhances the blood vessels in the brain and supports the survival of new brain cells.
All these are linked to enhanced cognitive capacity.
#2. Take Brain-Boosting Foods and Supplements
Certain foods have been found to be great for boosting brainpower and function. That includes foods that are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids such as fatty fish (including sardines and salmon.
Others include blueberries, beets, nuts (walnuts, cashews, peanuts etc.), egg yolk, turmeric, green leafy vegetables (spinach), broccoli and many more.
Allowing brain foods to feature more in your diet means you are on your way to enhancing your intellectual capacity.
#3. Challenge Your Intellect by Playing Mentally-Engaging Games
Playing crosswords, puzzles, chess and other mentally-tasking (video) games are also a good way to improve your thinking power and logical reasoning.
As long as the game can challenge your ability to process information and your problem-solving skills, chances are high that it could make you smarter.
#4. Get Quality Sleep
While it is important to get sufficient sleep each night, paying attention to the quality of sleep is perhaps much more important. You could sleep for 8 hours and still wake up feeling groggy; not refreshed and not thinking clearly if the sleeping conditions aren’t right.
Ensure to lie on a comfortable mattress and in good position, put off the lights and sound, free your mind of continuous activity and try to go to bed same time every day.
When you get quality sleep, you allow your brain and mind the refreshing and renewal needed for you to take on the world and conquer challenges.
#5. Learn or Play Music
Although some studies have suggested that listening to instrumental or classical music could enhance mental capacity and performance; there is more evidence of a link between taking an active role in music (such as learning or playing) and brain function.
Music and musical instruments are all about patterns, nuances, awareness and spatial understanding.
And all these are important ingredients of intelligence. No wonder it’s hard to fault the findings from these studies.
I had noticed from my early days of learning to play the keyboard, how music helped me to make connections, identify patterns and understand minute details.
#6. Do Math and Arithmetic
Mathematics is known for having many problems to be solved. We keep having to find x or something.
So, it makes you think. And I usually prefer the word problems because of the way they challenge my mind.
Since intelligence is a function of problem-solving ability, the more you give mathematics and basic arithmetic a shot, the more you see your problem-solving capacity expand.
#7. Participate in General Knowledge Quiz
You don’t necessarily have to be on a quiz team to try this.
You’ll find a lot of trivia and random quiz shows and programs on national TV, social media, phone apps and even in gatherings. Don’t back out or stay aloof and disinterested when you happen to have such opportunity.
It does a lot for your intelligence than you know.
#8. Attempt Aptitude Tests
Even if it’s once in a blue moon, put your brain to test by attempting verbal and quantitative reasoning questions. And if you can do it once and again; why not? You will be engaging your mind more. And that’s a plus.
Like general knowledge quiz, they are easily accessible on the internet.
#9. Expose Your Brain to New Learning Challenges
Introducing your brain regularly to novel learning challenges enhances mental plasticity and versatility. That could include learning a new language, a new skill or a new method of doing something.
Essentially, it helps if you make learning new things a way of life.
#10. Watch Documentaries and Educational Programs
Because documentaries and educational programs often focus on facts, discoveries, inventions and other novel or strange stuff, they tend to engage your mind – particularly if you plug in your interest.
And this means that every chance you get to watch any, your mind could be opened up to possibilities allowing you to process information and reflect.
That’s something good for the intellect.
#11. Have Robust Interaction and Conversations With People More Educated Than You
He who walks with wise men will be wise (Proverbs 13:20), is not in the bible for nothing. There’s no doubt about it. If you associate more with people more intelligent, experienced and educated than you are, your mind will be challenged.
When conversations ensue, you’ll realize how well your mind will be stretched.
And in a matter of time, the results will be there for all to see.
#12. Avoid Watching Too Much Mindless Programs On TV
While documentaries, educational programs and other intellectually-engaging programs can boost your mental capacity, programs that reflect sheer lack of thought do the exact opposite.
They bring down your mind power.
Even though some may be relaxing, you don’t want to expose yourself to too much of it.
#13. Read More
The more you read, the more you know and the more you engage your mind. The more you read, the more you relate to things and make intelligent connections. The more you read, the more you understand, yourself, people, phenomena and the world around you.
It’s simple. Reading opens up your mind a lot.
Ogaga Eruteya is a Nigerian Christian minister, writer and speaker. He writes on Faith, Personal Development, Youth Development, and Life Realities. With his words, he seeks to inspire, motivate, propagate life’s truths and represent a sincere Christian voice. Learn more about Ogaga here.