Open your mind and realize all the possibilities that disclosed to you. There is no end to the debate about intelligence, cognition, and mental capacity. Educators, psychologists, and neuroscientists all define these terms differently, and discuss what truly makes a “smart” or “intelligent” human ad nauseum. And yes, there is some correlation between high IQ scores and high achievement in school; however, others would argue that IQ scores are simply a result of how well a student has adapted to the traditional linear-thinking learning environment of schools.
For those of us who are really more concerned with developing our mental powers for our own benefit – clear thinking, memory, ability to learn, creativity, problem-solving – the definitions of the scientists are not all that important. We want practical techniques that we can use to boost the power of our minds. Fortunately, there is lots of research out there on this, and there are very specific things we can do. Here are 7 of them.
You may or may not have engaged in this mental activity – it depends on your age. In education, it is relatively new concept, probably about 3 decades old. The activity is basically this: Think of a topic, any topic at all. Let’s say gardening. Now put that word in the center of a piece of paper and begin to think of all of the words that relate to gardening, filling your page up. This activity actually forces both hemispheres of your brain to work together and keeps those electrical connections between them clean and sharp. When both sides of the brain are activated at the same time, thinking is enhanced and solutions to problems are more easily found. And there are some great free mind mapping apps that can be downloaded and used whenever you want to practice.
Brain Teasers and Games
Depending on the type of game, you can exercise different parts of your brain and keep those neurons firing well. And they are fun. The overall effect of these activities is faster and better thinking in general. 15 minutes a day would be great, and you can find these all over the Internet.
For students who must read bucketfulls of texts and other materials, learning how to increase reading speed can be a huge time-saver. And for those who are not still in school, speed reading activates the language centers of the brain, especially the speech motor portions. And the more you read, the better your vocabulary becomes too.
The brain is an organ, and it does need rest. It gets some of that rest, of course, during certain stages of sleep, but it is also really good to practice meditation on a daily basis, if only for short periods of time. Being able to go deep within yourself and gradually silence your thoughts allows your higher consciousness to operate. The impact of meditation on physical health has already been established, but it is also during these periods of tranquility that new ideas and solution can come forth.
Writing is one of 4 language-related skills (reading, listening, and speaking are the other three). But writing, more than the other three will exercise those neurons firing between the two hemispheres. The left side of your brain organizes your thoughts and words; the right side of your brain will come up with creative ideas. When both sides work well together, great writing is produced. By writing often, you increase your capacity to think creatively and to apply logic to those ideas and thoughts. If you have no propensity for writing, there a lot of possibilities to develop your writing skills. Trust me, it’ll never be redundant.
Learning a Foreign Language
Neuroscientists now agree that the brain activity involved in foreign language training enhances the powers of the right frontal lobe – that part of the brain that engages in planning, organization, and decision-making. As we age, that part of the brain begins to decline, so anything we can do to keep it “firing” well is a good thing.
Managing Your Thoughts
We’ve all experienced times when our brains just wander from thought to thought without a great deal of logic; or we are so fixated on an issue or problem that we cannot “shut the brain down” in order to get to sleep. Being able to manage and eventually control your thoughts is a very powerful ability, and we should all cultivate and practice this as much as possible.
When we don’t manage our thoughts, the behaviors that follow are often illogical, random and lacking in focus. And when our thoughts are heavily infused with negativity, worry, and anxiety, our physical bodies and our mental health are affected. Training your mind for though management means always being aware of your thoughts and immediately stopping those that are not productive and replacing them with a positive, productive thought. As you might imagine, this is an ongoing daily activity. But, as you continue to practice this, over and over every day, you form a great habit – the positive thoughts begin to outweigh the negative, and you are able to immediately trash those negatives. This impacts all other areas of your thinking and problem-solving abilities, not to mention the attitudinal changes you will see in yourself.
I’m a writer and an athlete in past and it has influenced on my outlook, who works helping others with their writing at GhostProfessors.