10 Proven Ways To Help Improve Intelligence

Can you actually learn to be more intelligent, or is it something that is genetically hardwired? Have you ever wondered if you could become smarter?

What is intelligence? Intelligence has traditionally been considered as a one-dimensional, unchanging idea. From a cognitive point of view, intelligence has been measured by an IQ, where one’s “intelligence” was a number that determined your future.

Fortunately, as a result of scientific research, today we know that some people have a number of different skills, both innate and learned. In general, and without going into depth about different constructive theories, we could define intelligence as the ability to adapt and resolve problems.

Neuropsychologist Cristina Martinez de Toda provides us with 10 scientifically proven ways to improve our brain and become more intelligent.

1. Have a hungry mind

Have you ever wondered if you could be smarter? Great! Thinking about being smarter is the first step to getting on your way. Be inquisitive and make an effort to learn new things. If you’ve ever wondered how something works, look it up! You’ll be surprised at how much you can learn.

What to do: Our brains need to be put to work and in order for them to work properly, which is why learning any kind of new skill will help your mental agility and mental processes.[1]

2. Read more

It’s been scientifically proven that reading not only enriches our vocabulary and linguistic intelligence, it also helps our imagination.[2]You can immerse yourself in a new world, in a time in history, or in a live you could never hope to live. When you put yourself in these stories, you empathize with the characters, which not only improves linguistic intelligence, but also helps us with emotional intelligence. If you want to learn to be more intelligent, read more![3]Reading is one of the most recommended brain gym activities.

What to do: Go to your local library and make yourself a book list. Make a goal for yourself- try to read a book a month! Spend some time figuring out what genre you like, and then get started!

3. Be assertive and improve your intelligence

As you know, both emotional and rational intelligence are important for improving your overall intelligence. Working and improving your emotional intelligence can noticeably improve your ability to adapt to changes and solve problems around you.

What to do: Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and say how you’re feeling. If you’re unhappy with something at work or at home, let others why you feel the way you do and what could be changed. Keep in mind that it might not always be possible to change anything, but saying how you feel will still be a good exercise for you.

4. Do things the hard way

It may seem silly, but something as simple as brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand can be a good way to train your brain. When we break out of our daily routine and make small changes, our brains are forced to think about how to get the same result. By challenging your brain, you’ll help prevent neural oxidation and you’ll be able to build and strengthen new connections.

What to do: Try to find a new way to get to your favorite places. If you always take the same way to get to school or work, try finding an alternate path. Maybe you’ll even find it to be faster!

5. Don’t delegate subcontracted intelligence

“Subcontracted intelligence” is what we do every day, often without even realizing it. With just one click, we’re able to get thousands of results, definitions, web pages, forums, etc. While it’s certainly the easiest and often fastest way to find information, it’s making our brains lazy because it doesn’t have to work as hard to find and retain new information.

What to do: Try to avoid leaving all of your intellectual activity in the hands of automatic translators, GPS, calculators, or search engines. Next time you need to look something up, try finding it in a book and writing it down. You’ll engage your brain more and have a better chance of remembering the information.

6. Brain Games

Brain stimulation programs are usually designed by a complete team of neurologists and cognitive psychologists who study the latest information about neurogenesis and neuroplasticity. By practicing brain games with brain stimulation programs, you will be given a personalized brain training program that will improve each user’s weakest cognitive skills, which over time could help improve intelligence and reach one’s desired cognitive results.[4]

What to do: Take a look at different brain games and see which one you like best! Remember that it is always better to go with a scientifically validated option, rather than a program that doesn’t have any scientific backing.

7. Talk to yourself

Talking to yourself has traditionally gotten a bad rap, but it’s recently been shown to actually increase brain activity. When you talk yourself through a process, we learn to summarize and simplify the task that we’re working on, which optimizes brain resources and problem solving abilities in an efficient way.[5]

What to do: Next time you’re cooking from a new recipe or trying to learn something new, read it and then repeat it to yourself as if you were teaching it to someone else. Do it multiple times and try to explain it in different ways to really get a good understanding of the information.

8. Tweet

Recent studies have shown that using twitter helps and improves our ability to synthesize information. With Twitter, we have to summarize and synthesize our ideas about a certain topic in a concise and coherent 140 characters.

If you don’t want to use Twitter, you can grab a piece of paper and write down your ideas in a certain amount of space. This will have a similar effect, without having to share your life on the Internet.

What to do: Create a Twitter account (or grab a piece of paper) and get started! You can write about anything: hobbies, food, books, etc. Any time you work to synthesize information, your brain is working!

9. Learn a new language

We have a complete page on this, and it’s because learning a new language has so many cognitive benefits. When you learn a new language, you increase the amount of gray matter in your brain and manage mental tasks better than someone who only speaks one language. Also, thinking in another language can provide us with a new point of view and different ways to think about a problem.

What to do: Download any number of applications that are available to help you learn languages or buy a computer program. There are tons of resources to help you get started. Try to find speakers of your target language and plan a language exchange! There are many different ways to learn and practice a new language.

10. Surround yourself with intelligent people

Surrounding yourself with intelligent people can actually make you smarter! If you’re around people who are talking about neuroscience or politics, you’ll learn more about a given topic and you’ll have to do some research to input interesting and relevant information.

What to do: Branch out and meet some new friends that you think you might have something to offer. Join a book club or and check out some groups that you think might be interesting. There’s no wrong way to start!


About The Author

Cristina Nafría is a specialist in neuropsychology, research, and cognitive rehabilitation at CogniFit. She is passionate about neuroscience, and provides clinical health-research related topics to a wide audience.