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How to improve your lifestyle to be smarter?

Wishing you were smarter is a common trait among people, nobody wants to be seen as worse than others and intelligence is commonly viewed as an important trait.

Knowing everything is impossible, but there are always smalls tips and tricks you can employ that can improve perceived intelligence, or just streamline things in your life. These can be simple things like organizing your day the night before, read more literature, or try your hand at an online casino.

How to be smarter?

Acknowledging that intelligence isn’t some static thing that everyone is born with is a crucial first step, something I’d argue can be more important than any other trick listed here. Intelligence is more than your ability to store or know things but also your ability to apply them. There are habits and activities you can adopt that can incorporate smarter things into your normal day.

There are three starting ideals you should focus on when trying think “smarter”

Each one is important to focus on when starting or thinking about any problem

  • Remember to stop and think
  • Start with the information you have on hand but never be afraid to learn new things
  • Work on one step at a time, you can’t eat an entire elephant in one bite

Thomas Edison is a house hold name. His inventions and innovations advanced modern civilization greatly. But when you look at his work (like the lightbulb) and it’s history and drafts you come to realize the following:

  • It took hundreds of attempts to get anything close to a functional light bulb
  • He was using the knowledge he had (electrical engineering) to solve a problem (producing light using electricity) and he did this through trail and error and solving each part in order

What this shows is that when you ask how to be smarter, you will find the answer in the habits you practice every day. So to get you started, here are some things you can do every day to get smarter.

How to be smarter through your daily habits:

1. Drink two glasses of water within 30 minutes of waking up

When you sleep your body is still functioning. It digests food, grows, cleans internally and all the other multitudes of processes your body goes through every night. Almost all of these processes use water, it’s the literal life blood of your body. But for those (hopefully) eight hours of sleep every night you aren’t drinking any water.

As a consequence, when you wake up you are probably semi dehydrated without even realizing it. Drinking around two glasses of water is enough to hydrate all the water you use while sleeping.

There have been two research studies done that prove that being hydrated can directly improve childrens and young teens ability to do mental activities.

To summarize; hydrate your body. You’ll thank me later.

2. Read a book over breakfast

It’s long been known that reading improves brain function. It triggers all sorts of parts of your brain while you read, whether its a fictional fantastical story, or a non fiction history book, all of them improve your mind in some way.

Instead of just checking the news or social media or emails, spend that time you have in the mornings to read a short bit from something. You don’t have to read much, but a little bit whenever you can can do loads.

3. Listen to podcasts or audiobooks

Not everyone can read for even a short bit, people live busy lives. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get the same benefits. You can get a lot of the same benefits from readings even if you have the book read to you. Or even listening to something like a podcast, where people talk about productive things or teach stuff can greatly benefit your life in the long run.

  • TED Talks (These audios may be downloaded in such a way that they don’t use any internet bandwidth.)
  • Entrepreneurs should listen to audiobooks in English.
  • And listen to your favorite writers’ podcasts.

One of the easiest ways to learn new things is to fill that time when you are doing relatively mundane and repetitive things with listening to things like audio books or podcasts. You can find practically inexhaustible sources of knowledge usually for free with just a click.

Reading a book can be in it of itself a time drain, you can’t really do much else while reading. If you live a busy life reading just might not be a possibility.

Use audio books and podcasts to your advantage. You might not be able to read a book but you can probably have it read to you. You can learn history, thinking skills, politics, cooking tips or really anything at all.

4. Drink green tea while you work

Studies have shown that L-theanine, an amino acid found in green tea, can calm people. It increases the amount of “alpha” waves in your brain compared to other waves. In layman’s terms it makes your brain focused on the “main” task it’s handling over secondary or “beta” waves that could be going on.

While caffeine and coffee are known to make people more anxious, jumpy  and twitchy good green tea can focus your mind and calm you down.

This is why L-theanine is marketed as a supplement that promotes relaxation and improved cardiovascular health.

5. Take naps during the day

Your mind needs sleep. Most people don’t get a goods night sleep, and even when they do they get tired out quickly through the day. Being well rested books your brains ability to function and focus. Even a short nap in the middle of the day can refresh you and get your brain back on track.

Between midday and 4 p.m., the average individual feels the most tired. This makes this the best time to take a nap. You don’t have to sleep straight through noon to four (not that I’m judging you if you do) but a short power nap can greatly improve your performance the rest of the day

6. Do not take sugar during the day

Sugar is bad for you, and not just because it makes you fat. When your body is focused on digesting high quantities of calories and sugary things it can slow down brain function (ever eaten a big meal and had a food “coma”?)

If you want to improve your mental abilities you should try and avoid eating sugary things to and excess.

Instead eating things that include fatty acids has been proven to increase brain function. This is stuff like fish and eggs.

7. Use your social networks only a couple of times a day

Getting focused on a task can be hard work. Once you are focused on something your brain a lot of the time would like to stop having to work so hard. It can very easily trick you into switching to something like social media for a quick dopamine hit. Frequently checking social media is a sure fire way to drastically decrease your brains focus and ability.

You should try to keep your brain focused on the task you need to get done and take a break only when it is finished. This doesn’t mean you have to finish the entire project, remember about splitting problems up into bite sized bits.

When you do take a break don’t forget to set a timer, it can be very easy to lose yourself mindlessly for hours scrolling through your Instragram feed.

8. Prefer video games over television series or movies

If you are trying to decide what sort of entertainment you should use when you want to relax after a days work you should look past television and movies. When you watch something you get content put into your brain but you don’t have to interact with any of it. Your brain can just kind of zone out for the duration of it. This is fun but you don’t benefit from it in any way.

Using your free time for something interactive, like video games, isn’t a perfect solution but it’s better than zoning out completely. When you are playing something like a video game your mind has to stay active. A research paper done in 2014 showed that even a simple game like Super Mario can improve your brains focus when compared to television. Individuals who played it vs individuals who watched tv scored higher on logic tests given to them immediately after.

9. Read a book instead of watching TV

Something even better than video games is to read a book.

Reading a book both demands the constant attention, it causes your brain to think and process and it can even teach you things.

How to be smarter thanks to reading?

It doesn’t matter what you are reading, the benefits are there for everything even if it’s Game of Thrones, The Entrepreneur’s Black Book, or the Wall Street Journal’s Complete Guide to Investing. It doesn’t matter what you read, it’s the process of readings that improves your mind.

Reading can reduce stress, which obviously improves your wellbeing, it also has been proven that individuals who read often statistically score higher on tests and quizzes.

In your work, this translates into a better understanding of how things happen and improving your management skills.

10. Learn some programming:

The ability to program is an incredibly sought after skill in the modern age. Computer science is one of the largest degree fields available.

But while programing did used to require a degree to do nowadays anyone with internet access can learn to program. You can use resources like Youtube, CodeAcademy (which provides free training, and Udemy (which has both free and paid classes)

Learning programming might not improve your thinking skills, but it’s certainly something to use your thinking skills on. It will also definitely improve your career prospects.

11. Watch TED Talks while you cook:

Cooking is a thing that most people have to do everyday, after all every one needs to eat. But while you cook your hands are active but your mind is usually free. You should put this time to use. You can learn a lot of interesting topics through something like TED. They are given by professional speakers about topics that they deem important.

Normally this time would be spent without your mind doing something, but with a single TED talk you can bring creativity, interest and value into the time. It’s like putting the news on in the background to keep up with modern events but instead your keeping your brain alive with knowledge.

12. Do some simple exercises during the day:

Your mind is just another organ in your body. If your body is in bad shape then it’s no surprise that your brain won’t be either. If you develop healthy habits and have a good physical condition you can help your brain to be both healthier and improve it’s function.

This doesn’t mean you have to spend every day in the gym. Just making sure you’re active like through out the day, doing stuff like walking more, try for some sit ups, pull ups, push ups, etc. etc.

You should try and be active in some way at least once an hour every day. This can be as simple as just getting up and walking around for a minute or two.

Remember that this has to be a habit. Doing it once and never again for four weeks isn’t going to make you fitter or smarter. It’s not about how hard of an exercise you do it’s about it’s consistency.

This is because regular exercise causes your cells to fill with BDNF, a protein that aids memory, focus, and comprehension. Mental acuity is another term for this.

Some research shows that sitting for too long consecutively can have detrimental effects for your brain function and mental dexterity.

13. Hang out with people who are smarter than you

You copy those that you spend the most time around. This has been proven again and again in a large quantity of studies. This works for both positive and negative traits. Even obesity is contagious.

So the traits of those around you will start to effect you whether you realize it or not, so think long and hard about whether some of your friends are really worth it.

You will only gain from being around people with positive traits.

14. Talk with people that disagree with you

Generate nice and friendly discussions with people who disagree with you on any topic. Discussing with them allows you to:

Standing with individuals who agree to your every point will never let you grow. If you have someone who makes you rethink your opinions only then can you ever know if your opinions were right in the first place, on top of that it can also:

  • refine your arguments
  • convince you that you are wrong

In both cases you will win; in the first case you will convince the other person of your perspective, and in the second, understand something that you previously did not know.

Either way you win, your brain has worked and your knowledge has increased. If you were with someone who agrees with you completely neither of these things would have happened.

15. Go and walk in a park, or in nature

Going outside in the sun in a park, or just anywhere green with plants has many physical and mental benefits that can improve brain function like:

  • Plants produce more oxygen than animals.
  • Our brains rest when we are in close contact with plants.
  • Walking improves blood circulation.

It doesn’t need to be a hike or even a long walk. A single trip outside during your lunch break can greatly improve your efficiency and your brain’s abilities. Famous successful people like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg talk about the importance of walking and how much you benefit from it. So go outside and touch some grass.

16. Keep an agenda or where to take notes

Most organized people have a way of keeping organized. The most common method being a simple notepad. Being able to write notes and thoughts as they come to you so you don’t have to remember it all in your head can greatly improve your focus and help you remember things.

Writing stuff down has been proven to be one of the most universally best ways to help remember it.

17. Take 10 minutes out of your day to plan for tomorrow.

Knowing what you have to do tomorrow is the first step to actually doing it. The simple activity of writing it down will almost immediately improve your ability to know what you have to do.

Being smarter doesn’t just mean being smarter in solving problems right now but also solving them for yourself in the future. Taking a few minutes in the evening or morning to make a list of things to do every day is small but can have big effects.

How to be smarter through the way you think

When learning how to be smarter, you should keep in mind that it goes beyond your IQ.

And it’s important to clarify because, unfortunately, the educational system has made us believe that if we are not good enough in math, science or English, then we are not considered smart.

However, this is far from the truth; in order to learn how to be smarter, we must be creative, considerate, and compassionate, as well as be able to adapt to a constantly changing environment.

In other words, it involves developing different types of intelligence.

MIT neuroscientist Ed Boyden suggests the following habits of mind that can help you on your quest to become smarter.

18. Constantly synthesize new ideas

The scientist suggests that reading by itself isn’t very useful for learning. He suggests that you need to take notes and think over what your read before any real learning takes place.

Doing this will help you more understand what you are reading, it trains your brain to question and create ideas and to open up your mind to more possibilities and methods.

19. Learn how to learn

In the modern age, where the entire world can change in practically a few years you need to be able to keep up with new advancements changes and technologies.

As Alvin Toffler put it, “the illiterate of the twenty-first century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”

Being smart is not just about what you know or how you face problems but how you treat the new knowledge you can from these things.

And maybe this is the best tip that you can get. If you learn how to learn, then you will learn everything you want in your life.

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