5 Ways To Become More Intelligent

Did you know that brain cells continue to grow and expand throughout a lifetime? Here are some activities that help them along.

Though you may think that each of us is born with an "intelligence quotient," or "IQ," it is possible to expand your level of intelligence by undertaking a variety of activities throughout the course of a lifetime. It makes no difference how old you are; the more you keep trying to learn, the stronger and healthier your brain can become.

Research shows that brain neurons actually can continue to increase in size and length due to intellectual stimulation. But the opposite also is true; when a person stops trying to learn new things, the brain stops growing. A recent study revealed that a group of people who kept their minds actively engaged in learning new things helped to stave off Alzheimer's disease, while the other group that let their minds go idle had a higher incidence of Alzheimer's disease.

If you want to become smarter and preserve or extend the health of your brain, here are some possible activities to try. If you don't care for any of these, think of some on your own. (The mental exercise might help!)

1. Read a new book. Pick up a book by an author you haven't read before. Your brain will be challenged to interpret the writer's style and message as different from anything you've encountered before. Much like deciphering a new code, your brain will kick into a higher gear, picking apart sentences and ideas to glean their meaning. If you can't read an entire book, get a magazine that you're not familiar with. For example, if you typically read sports articles, reach for something about the home. Or if you enjoy fashion reading, look for a publication about animals or nature. You'll have fun, strengthen your mind, and become more intelligent, which in turn will make you more interesting to talk to.

2. Take up a creative hobby. Practice water color painting or landscape art; get a book or two that tells you what to do and how to do it. Experiment with calligraphy or learn sign language. Register for a cooking or cake decorating class. Join an online writers' club and post your short story, poem, or film script for others to read and critique. Try out a new fashion style after reading reviews for it in newspapers and magazines. Start a crochet group or knitting circle. Begin a family scrapbook.

3. Get involved with sports. While physical activity may seem totally unrelated to intelligence, they're closer than you think. Browse the Web to learn more about the exercise you're interested in starting. Or pick up a sports magazine and keep current with ongoing developments for the process, competitions, equipment, cool-downs, etc.

4. Enroll in a class. At the local high school, community center, or college, get registered for a subject that you want to learn more about. For example, study a foreign language, sign up for algebra or accounting, or learn something about geography, Asia, Shakespeare, or psychology. Make a list of some of your long-time interests and then find out if there's a class for one of them.

5. Plan a trip. Take a weekend to explore a nearby historic site. Or prepare for a week in Tibet, China, or Yucatan next summer. Simply finding out all the steps you need to complete, such as getting a passport, checking on immunizations, and looking into climate conditions to plan your wardrobe will teach you a great deal about a new place. Get a few books on the language, customs, and laws. Then have fun enlarging your brain and becoming the life of the party as you share your newfound knowledge with others.

Becoming smarter need not be a dull process. It can and should be fun, meaningful, and rewarding. Get started now and don't be surprised when you start attracting more people who want to become your friends because they find you quite fascinating!

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