World Brain Day: Five steps to make brain smarter

Intelligence is not a set trait, it changes with effort and it grows with several practices we incorporate into our daily lifestyle.

BySumit Jha

Published Jul 22, 2022 | 5:39 PMUpdatedJul 28, 2022 | 3:42 PM

Brain

The brain is one of the most crucial organs in our body. In our modern, fast-paced life, we rarely get a chance to take care of it — we take it for granted, believing that it will not get smarter with age.

It is a common perception that intelligence is something which we are born with. Intelligence, however, is not a set trait; it changes with effort and it grows with several practices we incorporate into our daily lifestyles.

Let’s look at some of the common lifestyle changes which can increase our intelligence and make our brain healthy.

1. Exercise

Doing physical activities, even light exercises, improves our brain function.

According to a 2018 study, hippocampal memory function — a place in the brain where memory is stored — can be improved with a single bout of light-intensity exercise, including slow-paced walking yoga and tai chi.

Exercise helps to increase blood flow in our brain and hence increases oxygen and glucose levels in the organ.

What to do

  • Walk
  • Yoga
  • Swimming
  • Cycling

2. Meditation

Meditation works differently for every person. According to a 2019 study, meditation helps reduce negative mood states including decreases in mood disturbance, anxiety and fatigue.

Meditation involves quiet, focused breathing exercises in which the person is able to achieve a state of mental calm.

It enhances attention, working memory and recognition memory.

What to do

  • Download meditation app
  • Listen to mediational music
  • Attend meditation class

3. Drink coffee or tea

Drinking coffee enhances attention which helps one in staying focused.

According to a 2014 study, habitual caffeine intake is linked with better cognitive or long-term memory performance.

Coffee helps in releasing dopamine into the most important parts of your brain and increases long-term memory. Caffeine also blocks the effects of adenosine, a protein that slows the brain down so that you can go to sleep.

Drinking green tea also helps in brain functioning. According to a 2019 study, it is safe and has the potential to improve cognition.

4. Read

Reading helps in boosting intelligence. Brain changes with reading acquisition remain largely unknown.

Reading involves a complex network of circuits and signals in the brain. As your reading ability matures, those networks also get stronger and more sophisticated.

As part of a 2013 study, participants read the novel Pompeii over a period of nine days. As tension built in the story, more and more areas of the brain lit up with activity. Brain connectivity increased, especially in the somatosensory cortex, the part of the brain that responds to physical sensations like movement and pain.

5. Socialise

Talking to friends and family members can also increase your brain memory function.

Participating in social activities like group games helps your mind exercise and simultaneously keeps your mind fit and improves cognitive function.

It decreases your stress levels which further helps in focusing on your work. It also decreases depression and anxiety.

What to do

  • Meets friends and family regularly
  • Video call with them
  • Go out for lunch or dinner with friends