This common herb may have an effect on the brain when the scent is inhaled. We are waiting for the research, but some people swear that just sniffing rosemary wakes up their brain. It seems safe, so if you have rosemary in your spice rack, give it a try.
Writing is good for your mind in a number of ways. It is a way to tell your memory what is important, so you’ll recall things more easily in the future. It is a way to clarify your thinking. It is a way to exercise your creativity and analytical ability. Diaries, idea-journals, poetry, note-taking and story-writing are all ways to use writing to boost your brain power.
Listen to Mozart
In a study at the University of California, researchers found that children who studied piano and sang daily in chorus, were much better at solving puzzles, and when tested, scored 80% higher in spatial intelligence than the non-musical group. In another study, 36 students were given three spatial reasoning tests on a standard IQ test. Just before the first test, they listened to Mozart’s sonata for Two Pianos in D Major, K. 448 for ten minutes. Before the second test, they listened to a relaxation tape. Before the third, they sat in silence. The average scores for all 36 students: 1st test: 119. 2nd test: 111. 3rd test: 110. Improve IQ by nine-points with Mozart!
Avoid foods that cause subtle allergies
These can include wheat, corn, peanuts and dairy products. Watch yourself to see if you have a problem with any of these. They cause digestive problems and brain fog in some people.
Contrary to what many believe, your comprehension of material often goes up when you learn to speed-read. You get to learn a lot more in less time, and it is definitely a good brain exercise. A quick lesson when scanning, read the first and last parts of paragraphs; this is where the important stuff is. Just pick up any book or article now to verify this.
Long term exercise can boost brainpower, which isn’t surprising. Anything that affects physical health in a positive way probably helps the brain too. Recent research, though, shows that cognitive function is improved immediately after just ten minutes of aerobic exercise. If you need a brain recharge, you might want to walk up and down the stairs a few times.
Learn more efficiently
When you decide to learn something, take notes from the start. Leave each “learning session” with a question or two in mind, to create anticipation and curiosity. Take short breaks, so there will be more beginnings and endings to your studies (Things learned at the beginning or ending of a class or session are remembered better).
Use techniques for clear thinking
Cluttered rooms and offices can contribute to clutter thinking. Organize a space for mental work. Sigh, stretch, and take a deep breath before you start on a tough mental job. Plan some distraction-free time for brainstorming.
Talking is only good for the brain if you are actually exercising it, of course. Try explaining something that you don’t understand very well to a friend, though, and you’ll notice that the process of explaining will help you clarify your understanding.
Do something you enjoy
This is a way to both lower stress and rev up your brain. The key is to do something active. Watching TV doesn’t count. Whether it is playing Scrabble or building birdhouses, when you are actively engaged in an activity that you enjoy, you worry less about things and you start to think better.
Adjust your beliefs
Believe you are smarter, and you’ll become smarter. For this, affirmations may work, but even better is evidence. Make a note of your successes. Tell yourself, “Hey, that was really creative,” when you do something creative. When you have a good idea, make a note of it. Gather the evidence for your own intelligence and you’ll start to experience more of it.
Do math in your mind while driving. Think of a new use for everything you see. Almost any brain exercises have the potential to improve IQ and brain function. Regular use of the brain has been shown to generate new neuronal growth, and even halt the decline of mental function that often comes with age.
Find others that are creative, intelligent, or very productive. Do what they do, and think what they think. This is a key principle of neuro-linguistic programming. Be careful about taking their advice, though. Successful people often don’t really understand why they are successful. Do what they do, not what they say.
Eating fish actually speeds up brain waves, and improves concentration. Researchers have also found an almost perfect correlation between intake of fish and lowered levels of depression in the various countries of the world. The U.S. has 24 times the incidence of depression as Japan, for example, where fish intake is much higher.
Avoid unnecessary arguments
When you defend a position too vigorously, especially when it is just to “win” the argument, you invest our ego into it. This is not conducive to the easy acceptance and use of new information. In other words, you put your mind in a rut, and you dig it deeper with each argument. Debate can be a valuable thing, but when the ego takes over, the mind closes a little. This is not a way to improve IQ.
This is one of the easiest and most effective ways to improve the functioning of your brain immediately. By breathing deeply we relax and put more oxygen in the blood (therefore in the brain), both of which help. Relaxation has been proven to improve brain function. Low oxygen levels in the blood have been shown to decrease it. Since most of us are in the habit of breathing too shallowly, this is a quick way to increase IQ. By the way, if you breathe through your nose, you are more likely to breathe deeply.
Meditating also helps
Meditating also helps, primarily because of the deep breathing aspect. The state of mind achieved through a simple breath-watching meditation allows true relaxation, and is conducive to creative problem solving. Just close your eyes and breath through your nose, deeply at first, then in whatever way is comfortable. As thoughts arise, dismiss them and return your attention to your breath. Do this for at least a few minutes.
Sit up straight
Sit up straight, and close your mouth. Good posture affects our state of mind, and helps us to think more clearly. Try an experiment to prove this to yourself. Do math problems in your head; first while slouching, with your mouth open; then while sitting up straight with your lips together. You’ll get the point.
Exercise a little
Physical activity-just enough to get the blood pumping-can “wake up” your brain enough to help you think better. Walking seems to work best, but any aerobic activity can help increase your IQ.
You knew this one, right? Just remember, the evidence shows us that the quality of sleep is very important, not just the quantity.
Everything from test scores on college exams to chess games have been shown to improve after a cup of coffee or other drink containing caffeine. It is a temporary effect, however, and caffeine may have adverse long-term effects for regular users.
Actually any simple carbohydrates taken in large quantities can give you that sluggish feeling that makes it difficult to think. This is due to the insulin that is dumped into your veins after the sugar is. Don’t eat white flour, sugar, potatoes, and other carbs before an important meeting, or anytime you need full use of your intelligence.
Exercise your mind
Keeping your brain active on a regular basis will naturally improve your ability to process information. For example, quizzes, puzzles, even bingo can keep your mental faculties tuned up and in good working order. Some studies have shown that mental workouts can increase IQ scores by up to 8%.
Our brain will listen to the messages you give it and take action. If you are telling yourself you are incapable, tired, anxious, and fearful, you will fail that test or not get that job and so on, your brain will act accordingly and send out all those signals to your body to perpetuate your state of mind. Imagine then what you could do if you told your brain to send out different messages? Thinking positive works, try it.
Use dead time
This is time that is otherwise wasted or just under-utilized. Driving time, time spent in waiting rooms, or even time spent raking your yard can be included in this. With a tape player and a trip to a public library, you can start to use this time to listen to books-on-tape. You may spend 200 hours a year in your car. What could you learn in that time?
Develop your intuition
Intuition can be an important part of brainpower. Einstein and others have relied heavily on their intuitive hunches.
As long as you get a certain amount of sleep – probably a minimum of five hours – the quality seems to be more important than the quantity. Also, short naps in the afternoon seem to work well to recharge the brain for some people.
The power of suggestion is real, and one way to use it is with hypnosis tapes, CD’s or downloads. This type of brain “programming” has more evidence for it than subliminal.
Talking to and getting advice from characters in your mind can be a great way to access the information in your subconscious mind. Imagine a conversation with a person who has a lot of knowledge in the area you want advice in.
Develop your creativity
Creativity gives power to your thinking. Raw computation can be done by computers now, but humans provide the creative thought that shapes our world.
Learn new things
This is another way to exercise the brain. It can also be done with little time investment if you use books-on-tapes while driving.
The release of endorphins caused by laughter lowers stress levels, which is good for long term brain health. Laughter also tends to leave you more open to new ideas and thoughts.
Stimulating the brain causes measurable changes in the structure of the brain. New connections are made and new brain cells are grown. Intellectual play, as well as any playing that involves hand-eye coordination stimulates the brain.
Crossword puzzles, lateral thinking puzzles, and even good riddles are a great way to get brain exercise. You can work on them while waiting for a dentist appointment, or on the bus, if you are short on time.
When you are alone in your car, try singing about something you are working on. This taps into and exercises your right brain. Have you ever noticed how it is easier to rhyme when you sing than when you just speak or write? This is because the right brain is better at pattern recognition. By doing this brain exercise regularly you can train yourself to tap into the power of the right brain. This will make you a more effective problem-solver. If you doubt the distinction between the hemispheres of the brain, look at how stutterers can stop stuttering as soon as they start singing. Try it.
University students in Brazil and other South American countries often eat several Brazil nuts before an exam, believing they are good for their mental power. The evidence is starting to confirm this. Other nuts that have minerals and amino acids that are beneficial to the brain include almonds and walnuts.
High in mono-unsaturated fat, olive oil has been shown to improve memory. A cheaper alternative is canola oil, but this hasn’t been studied much yet.
It isn’t just what goes in, but what comes out that is important to brain function. Toxic build-up in the body and brain can cause “brain fog.” People often report clearer thinking as one of the benefits of curing their constipation.
This may not seem important to brain power, but it is. When you know yourself better, you can avoid the usual effects of ego and emotion in your seemingly “rational” thinking. Or you can at least take it into account. Watch yourself, especially as you explain things or argue.
Motivation is as important to mental tasks as it is to any other. Learn a few simple techniques for self motivation. You can start with those in.
Avoid too much stress
Neuropsychiatries Richard Restack, M.D., form the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Services, sums up the research thus: “Stress causes brain damage.” Long term stress has repeated been shown to hurt the brain, not to mention the rest of the body. Learn a few stress reduction techniques if you get stressed out often.
Scientists have known for a while that the less educated get Alzheimer’s more frequently. Education in any area seems to make the brain stronger.
Avoid too much fat
In laboratory studies, animals consistently learn slower when they are on a diet, high in fat. Type of fat may make a difference, so you may want to stick to using olive oil and other non-saturated fats. Saturated fats have been shown to actually stunt the growth of brain cells.
Overeating has the immediate effect of redirecting more blood to the digestive process, leaving less for the brain. Long term, it can cause arterial obstructions that reduce blood flow to the brain permanently. In at least one study, rats on a restricted-calorie diet had more brainpower.
Avoid suspect foods
There is evidence that the following foods can be bad for your brain: Artificial food colorings, artificial sweeteners, colas, corn syrup, frostings, high-sugar drinks, hydrogenated fats, sugars, white bread, and any white-flour products.
When kids who didn’t eat breakfast started to eat it, researchers found that their math scores went up a whole grade on average.
The development of diabetes coincides with a dropping of IQ scores. In other words, if you want to maintain your brain power, follow your doctors dietary recommendations for preventing or treating diabetes.
Eat foods high in antioxidants
Antioxidants protect all your cells, including brain cells. Some of the foods highest in antioxidants include: prunes, raisins, blueberries, blackberries, garlic, kale, cranberries, strawberries, spinach, and raspberries. In one test, rats had age-related mental decline reversed by eating the equivalent of a 1/2 cup of blueberries per day.
In moderation, red wine can be good for the brain, it seems. It is rich in antioxidants, which protect brain cells. One glass per day for women and two for men is usually considered a safe and moderate amount.
Potential brain foods
Foods that may be good for your brain include: Avocados, bananas, lean beef, brewer’s yeast. broccoli, brown rice, brussel sprouts, cantaloupe, cheese, chicken, collard greens, eggs, flaxseed oil, legumes, oatmeal, oranges, peanut butter, peas, potatoes, romaine lettuce, salmon, soybeans, spinach, tuna, turkey, wheat germ, and yogurt.
100 micrograms of selenium has been shown to be a mood-elevator. Your brain almost certainly functions better when you are in a better mood. Foods rich in selenium include Brazil nuts and garlic.
This is a great way to keep your brain in shape. Just get in the habit of asking questions often, even if it is only in your own mind. Why are taller buildings better? What is the purpose of curbs? Ask anything that comes to mind, and ponder the possible answers.
Many people have noted that they think better at certain temperatures. In general, it seems that being slightly cool, but not uncomfortable, is most conducive to good thinking. Try experimenting on yourself to see what temperature works best for you.
From the time I was ten years old, 12 x 49 was always (12 x 50) – 12. It’s easier to figure in your head this way (588, by the way). I didn’t get any credit for my personal algorithms then, but they are selling these shortcuts on late-night TV now, because they work. You can find your own easier ways to do mental math or other mental tasks, or read a good book on them.