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20 Tricks to Boost IQ and Build a Mental Exercise Routine

Why do people go to the gym? We didn’t evolve with treadmills and barbells, so why should experts recommend exercising every day? The answer would probably be because our daily life doesn’t challenge us enough physically. I’d like to suggest that our daily life doesn’t challenge us enough mentally. Through setting aside time to visit the mental “gym” and organizing my life to work various mental muscles I’ve found it much easier to think logically, create new ideas and focus myself. Research indicates brainpower is more than just genes Science shows that intelligence is both environmental and genetic. Lab rats given more toys to interact ended up much smarter than rats left without any. Even more, studies are now showing that, contrary to an earlier belief, you can grow new neurons if given a stimulating environment. The benefits of mental fitness The benefits of physical fitness are obvious and visual. In my opinion, the benefits of mental fitness are even more important, although they might be more subtle. Here’s just a few benefits I’ve noticed from structuring my activities and hitting the mental gym: • Rapid learning. It’s no secret I barely study for exams. My grade point average for my first year of University was a 4.2 out of a 4.5 (my lowest mark was one B+). And this is while taking courses with high failure rates such as Calculus, Asian History and Computer Science. • Logical thinking. I’ve been told one of the biggest assets to this blog is my ability to discuss problems with a clear line of logic and reasoning. I believe this is an ability I’ve greatly improved over the last few years through mental training. • Creativity. This month I wrote about 25 articles for this blog, 15 articles as a freelancer and a handful of guest posts. The volume of posting ideas I get is large enough that I now need to put a more strenuous filter for quality. • Memory. I’ve gone from almost complete absent mindedness to above average memory. Learning memory tools such as linking and pegging have given me new methods to store information. • Focus. When I started meditating to improve focus over a year ago, I found it hard to control a visual scene or keep out distracting thoughts. I’ve since noticed huge improvements so that I can hold images, ideas or focal points even with a fair degree of distraction. I’m still starting out, but the future looks promising. Creating a mental fitness routine There are two major ways to construct a mental fitness routine:

sound. take ones that are vastly different from each other. woodworking. Cycle Hobbies – Take up new activities regularly. If you go to the gym and just work biceps. Before I saw meditation as a more spiritual than practical activity. smell and sight. 6. dancing. Unlike physical exercise which is hard to reach a high intensity in routine life. running.1. Then imagine yourself eating it a bite at a time. You just need to ensure that you are working all mental muscles. Sometimes this can be difficult with time constraints. Television that makes you think might sound like an oxymoron. Journaling – Writing down your thoughts is a great tool for problem solving. Being a mile wide doesn’t just improve mental fitness. Engaging Fiction – Engage yourself in movies. Next focus on one specific part of your body on the inhale. programming. You can invent characters that can dialog with you. but the benefits are impressive. Every journal session I have. providing good workouts for creativity. 5. I leave amazed with the answers to tough problems I can come up with. it gives you a broad base of metaphors for creativity. but that it actively challenges your assumptions. Select a new focus on the exhale. This will keep your learning curve steep so your mind is always engaged at a high intensity. Balancing projects/activities to ensure all mental “muscles” are being worked intensely. music. Now I’ve come up with several different meditations to work different mental muscles: • Visualization – One I’ve been working on I call: eating the white apple. you can structure your day to ensure you are working mental muscles. I use a combination of the two. 2. design and many others. 2. Setting aside time to hit the mental gym with activities solely for the purpose of building brainpower. helping explore ideas. you’ll have big arms but be completely weak everywhere else. 3. taste. books or television that makes you think. speaking. not just one or two. If you want to save time on this one. Visualize a white apple and hold it in your mind. learn speed reading. Read One Book Per Week – I strive to read one book each week. Instead either set aside fifteen minutes a day for one of these or integrate one of them into your routine. 4. 1. • Focused Breathing – Start by slowing your breathing to about 10-15 seconds per breath. I believe journaling is an easier form of introspection than meditation. Experience all the sensations of touch. logic and focus. A good exercise in focus. You can then move this to noticing specific sounds or senses. The hard part is keeping the mental image of your apple consistent with where and how you eat it. but the medium isn’t all bad if you know where to look. I’ve dabbled in painting. Engaging doesn’t just mean entertaining. Here are twenty ideas for starting a mental fitness routine. I don’t suggest trying to implement them all. • Self-Dialog – Meditation makes it easier to talk with yourself. Journaling is your Universal Machine of the mental gym. Varied mental exercises will ensure you can handle all problems and ideas. Peripheral Activities – Don’t just take new hobbies. Meditation – I’ve only recently started to find serious uses for meditation in my mental regimen. . I can usually only go about 10 bites before the mental image degrades. but they both have their strengths.

11. Exploring another’s perspective hones your ability to think through another’s eyes. I was often surprised at how much better I understood the material through teaching it. 20. but welcome opposing ideas not as attacks but opportunities. When you are in a debate you should try to persuade. Unless a skill is useful to you.Force yourself to use your brain more. I wasn’t sure whether I’d like dancing. but newer games can hold more promise by being much more diverse. Reading upside down. Sleep in the opposite direction. Writing articles for this blog organizes those ideas inside my head. This kind of reasoning ability is a mark of intelligence.When I used to teach First Aid as a lifeguard.Interlink – Holistic learning is about linking ideas together.Create Regularly – I always like to have a project on the go. Explore Another’s Perspective – Empathy is a mental. 8. Take a different route to work.Force Constraints – Try washing yourself with your eyes closed. Solitary game playing can keep your mind sharp as long as the learning curve is steep and it doesn’t become routine. I found going to University and meeting people from vastly different cultures to have a big effect on my own ideas.Friendly Debate – Discuss. 10.Increase Mental Intensity . 16. Extra constraints make problems more challenging. People told me I was an introvert who wouldn’t make a good public speaker. 9. 17. and having a deeper range of strategic options. After finishing my latest ebook. I’d suggest trying to learn different skills just to adequacy and then moving to something different. I think I’ll be redesigning the entire website in the next month or two. ramping up the mental intensity required. 18. the ability to think from another’s perspective is an advanced mental ability that doesn’t develop until we are several years old. Chess may be an intellectual favorite. but I don’t think it is as valuable to mental discipline as just getting the basics. logic . This will organize your thinking and improve your understanding.Practice New Skills – Mastery may be useful. not just an emotional. Competitive Games – Games that require strategic thinking are excellent ways to boost your logic and empathizing skills. Spend some time to explore a subject and ask yourself how the pieces fit into other information. Debating forces you to examine your opinions. I just finished my Competent Toastmaster and Competent Leader awards from the Toastmasters program.Break Routines – Try consciously breaking one of your habits.New Cultures – Expose yourself to different worldviews.Thought Experiments – Einstein was famous for thought experiments. Ask yourself. don’t argue. As a geek who knows C++ and watches Star Trek. I’ve been itching for a new challenge. “What if?” 12. But I took a Latin dancing course and found it to be both fun and interesting. Puzzles – I like to do crosswords and computer game puzzles. 14. strategy. Although empathy is often dismissed as being touchy-feely and not logical.7. 13. 15. Focus. 19.Teach .Learn Outside Your Interests – Don’t stick to what you like. It can take six months to understand 80% of a subject and sixty years to understand 95%. ability. Eat a different breakfast. Cooking without sauces. just for a moment. All these ideas are just specific implementations to increase the mental intensity you face.

and creativity are just a few of the mental muscles you should be exercising more regularly. .