You might think that your intelligence is set in stone. You might think that you can't change how smart you are. But that's not true. Learning new things is a matter of time spent and work put in, not just talent. Still, a few tricks can help any journey of discovery along, so here's five tips for growing new brain cells.
- Learning. The first step to getting smarter is trying to learn new things. Your brain grows new neurons (cells that transmit electrical impulses within your head and body) through a process called neurogenesis. Now how is your brain supposed to make new connections if you're never stimulating it with new information and new situations? That's why learning and deeply thinking through things is so important to increasing your intelligence. Try to find a topic that you don't know much about and research it. You've got to use some brain cells to grow some!
- Aerobic Activity. Once you've found something interesting to contemplate, you should bust out those running shoes and earbuds. Aerobic activity has been correlated with greater rates of neurogenesis, and it is an extremely healthy practice in general. Jogging, swimming, or even speed walking can give your brain the boost it needs. Maybe listen to an audiobook while you're at it!
- Stress Relief. Stress and lack of sleep can be a major inhibitor of brain development. That's why having some sort of stress relief is one of the most important tips for growing new brain cells. Identify some activities that always make you feel better and make sure to use them in times of need. Even when you're feeling fine, taking a few deep breaths or listening to some relaxing music can help you refocus and find a bit of peace. And while you're at it, you'll know that you're helping your brain get smarter.
- Dietary Choices. There's a few dietary decisions you can make to increase neurogenesis. One such decision is intermittent fasting. Now that doesn't mean starve yourself! All that means is not eating between major meals. Try to eat three distinct meals a day and avoid grabbing those snacks unless you really need them. But if you can't resist those snacks, maybe get some dark chocolate or blueberries. These foods contain chemicals called flavonoids that increase the rate of neuron growth in our brains. Finally, omega-3 fatty acids are always a good idea. In this case, eating some salmon or other fatty fish can help speed up neurogenesis and keep both your brain and heart in healthy condition.
- Neurobics. Brain teasers can be frustrating, but they're great for neurogenesis. Neurobics are brain exercises that emphasize unexpected stimuli, and it's no surprise that they can help you out in your quest for self-improvement. They don't have to be complicated. Just try brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand or messing around with your daily routine. These exercises will keep your brain fresh and healthy.
There's your five tips for growing new brain cells! They're pretty simple, but going through with them can make a world of a difference. If you're worried about your intelligence or the fate of your brain as you grow older, these steps can help ease your misgivings.