Get Smart: How to Boost your IQ by 10 points

“It is not enough to have a good mind; the main thing is to use it well.”

- Rene Descartes

Boost your iqA person’s IQ was thought to be a fixed commodity largely determined by genetics. But is your IQ really set in stone or can you cheat a few extra points? Recent hints suggest that a very basic brain function called working memory might underlie our general intelligence, opening up the intriguing possibility that if you improve your working memory, you could boost your IQ too.

Genetics determines a lot and so does the early gestation period. On top of that, there is a few percent that can be improved by training. So if what you want is results, and not an argument about the definition of intelligence, try some of the following tips and boost your brain power.

1. Game on

Turn on your PC. Modern games are great for making your mind work at amazing speeds. It gives your brain a chance to think strategically, and keeps it working.

2. Spin it

If you want to be a da Vinci or Edison, keep a sketch diary. Imagine seeing an object from every angle and sketch the views afterwards. Thinking in pictures is essential for complex reasoning.

3. Buy the paper

While browsing through the sports pages, take a peek at the crossword. It’s a perfect exercise for sharpening your mind. Puzzles with creative solutions exercise and extend your dendrites — the branch-like parts of nerve cells that carry information and promote processing.

4. Have a sniff

Certain fragrances help you think clearly and cut down on mistakes. Lemon scents stimulate your hippocampus, the brain region that controls your ability to concentrate; lavender helps you relax and think more clearly; jasmine has the ability to excite, resulting in quicker thinking.

5. Turn on

A recent study in the UK found that watching The Weakest Link for 30 minutes can raise your IQ by six points. A documentary produced a four-point rise; Friends a rise of one point.

6. Deep Breath

This is one of the easiest and most effective tip to improve the functioning of your brain immediately. More air in means more oxygen in the blood and therefore in the brain. Low oxygen levels in the blood have been shown to decrease it. Since most of us are in the habit of breathing too shallowly, this is a quick way to boost your IQ. One hint: if you breath through your nose, you are more likely to breath deeply.

7. Daydream

Letting your brain run free is the best way of truly expanding your brain power. Every day, consciously defocus for 10 minutes, and see where it takes you.

8. Detox

To make sure you’re thinking clearly, avoid caffeine — just one cup can cause a sharp rise in feelings of anxiety, US scientists have found. And like smoking, caffeine also prevents the absorption of key vitamins essential for optimum brain function. Replace coffee or tea with water and if you smoke, don’t.

9. Multi-task

Performing two tasks simultaneously provides you with invaluable brain tools. Put a TV next to a radio and try to take in information from both, then try to concentrate on each individually. You’ll find you can focus on any single problem much better.

10. Sit up straight, and close your mouth

Good posture affects our state of mind, and helps us to think more clearly. Wanna prove it to yourself? Try solving some math in your head while slouching, looking at the floor and letting your mouth hang open. Then do the mental math while sitting up straight, keeping your mouth closed and looking forward or slightly upwards. You’ll get the point.

11. Stretch yourself

Think of two unconnected objects… a frog and a moped, say… and try to think of as many links between them as you can. This breaks down the critical ability that interferes with the flow of ideas.

12. And… relax

Simply relaxing increases your ability to learn. In tests, systematically flexing every muscle for 30 minutes boosted subjects’ ability to solve puzzles by up to 25 percent.

13. Spell it out

Facing a problem? Write it down and draw lines radiating out to words and ideas linked to each one. Your mind will be able to visualize an answer far more easily.

14. Make connections

To grow longer dendrites, do something new. Try learning a new language or developing a skill such as drawing, and you’ll see instant changes in how you think.

15. Step it up

Aerobic fitness helps fluid intelligence (learning new things), frontal lobes (planning ahead) and your ability to make rapid-fire decisions. Go for at least three 30-minute cardio sessions a week.

16. Get dreaming

You knew this one, right? Uninterrupted sleep is key to information-processing. Avoid caffeine six hours before bed and relax with a hot bath and a milky drink (packed with sleep-inducing tryptophans).

17. Take a stroll

A recent study found that just 45 minutes of walking three times a week increased subjects’ ability to perform multiple tasks by up to 15 percent, improving bloodflow to the frontal lobes of the brain.

18. Watch the clock

Use your brain when it’s at its sharpest — early in the morning. Research shows that taking tests before midday boosts success rates by up to five percent.

19. Consume ginkgo biloba

Whether in capsules or tea or off a neighbors tree, ginkgo leaves have been shown to increase blood flow to the brain, helping memory and concentration. The effect is quick, and doesn’t seem to diminish with regular use.

20. Graze

To give your brain a steady supply of energy and minerals, eat little and often. Eating large meals shunts blood to your digestive tract, away from your brain.

21. Go classical

In a US study, listening to a Mozart piano sonata improved students’ 3-D problem solving abilities (as opposed to verbal or language skills) by 15 percent. Aim for 10 minutes of Classic FM a day.

22. Practice

IQ tests are just one form of measuring intelligence, so if you’re really trying to impress, the answer is simply to practice again and again and again.

23. Eat your meat

A meal that’s overloaded with carbohydrates can spell trouble for the brain. In a Harvard study, people who ate pure carbohydrates had up to twice the difficulty concentrating and performing mental tasks as those who’d eaten turkey, which is practically carb-free. This is due to the insulin that is dumped into your veins after the sugar is. Don’t eat white flour, sugar, potatoes, and other carbs before an important meeting.

24. Freshen up

Chewing gum improves memory and thinking, UK researchers have found. Chewing raises your heart rate, delivering more oxygen and glucose to the brain, while saliva triggers a surge of insulin, stimulating learning and memory receptors in the brain.

25. Make friends

Preferably ones with large amounts of frizzy grey hair. Recent research showed that hanging out with boffins can boost your IQ by up to 10 percent.

26. Go herbal

Plants naturally encourage your brain and body to work together. Rosemary increases bloodflow to the brain and sage improves concentration.

27. Head for the bees

To boost your brain power look for vitamin B, found in oats, tuna, chicken, wholewheat and bananas. Vitamin B6 aids memory, while 1, 2, 3 and 12 help manufacture and repair brain tissue.

Let the “experts” argue about whether you can boost IQ or not, in any absolute sense. If you slept well, exercised, then sat up straight and breathed deeply as you took the test, don’t you think you would score a few points higher on an intelligence quotient test? More importantly, wouldn’t you be better prepared for whatever mental tasks you faced?

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40 Comments

  • Rob says:

    Nice article! Although, my IQ tells me that it’s “breathe” and not “breath” deep. Although, this could also just be a harbinger of what I fear the most: the English language taking another hit in distinguishing words. I’m also kind of a nut about people mistakenly “loosing” the difference between “lose” and “loose.”

    Great tips here, though! Bookmarked for sure!

  • Sam Smith says:

    Wonderful article! I totally agree with a lot of these tips. I have one question though: When you say “go herbal,” do you mean to say that we should have plants in and around our houses? Do you happen to have any suggestions of something that could survive in a college dorm room?

  • eConsultant says:

    Any sources for these sweeping statements ?

  • Noah Diegel says:

    Sam,

    If you’re looking at having plants in your dorm room, there are many possibilities. You want to find something in the mid-range of light necessity; in that it won’t need too much or too little sunlight than what your room and windows are able to provide. Dorms are generally well regulated in terms of temperature, so find something that grows best in your average room temperature ranges. Also, I like to suggest finding plants that are native to the area your school is in. This way, if you happen to want to plant it outside, it will not become a nuisance. I’m no expert though, so check out this link for some help: http://www.thegardenlady.org/18/growing-plants-in-your-dorm-room/.

    Ririan, thanks again for another fun read! Rob, I’m a nut about proper spelling and grammar myself, but as English does not happen to be Ririan’s first language I think we can give him a break. ;)

  • Victor Souza says:

    I’m a nut about proper spelling, but English is not my main language… so I decided to take a look at wiktionary. To cut the confusion, “breathe” is the verb, while “breath” is the noun (actually I thought to be the inverse :P)

    About the article… well…
    11. Stretch yourself

    Think of two unconnected objects… a frog and a moped, say… and try to think of as many links between them as you can. This breaks down the critical ability that interferes with the flow of ideas.

    I thought I was being ridiculous when the exercise at my Portuguese class said “explain why these sentences aren’t coherent” and I read the reverse, “explain why these sentences can be coherent” and actually did it easily.

  • gnyd says:

    Many of these have all the credibility of… folklore. For instance, the commonly quoted “listening to Mozart” study has since been debunked.

    Still, nothing here is likely to do actual harm.

  • Uh oh. When I see things like this I want to do everyone of them, but some of them clash with what I want to do. For example, I’m a raw vegan and eating a lot of fruits and veggies is what I do…

    Does that mean eating too many fruits makes me dumb! I do eat lots of almonds though. Hrmmm!

  • Otto Hunt says:

    Consume Acetlyl-L-carnitine (a mitochondrial energizer) along with Dimethyl Amino Ethanol (DMAE elevates mood, increase intelligence, improve memory and learning) and L-Arginine PyroGlutamate (a form of arginine that penetrates the blood-brain barrier), all on an empty stomach. This will cause brain cell growth. ALCAR and DMAE can be most cheaply obtained from Bulk Nutrition, and L-Arginine PyroGlutamate from Jomar Labs.

  • Shane says:

    Insulin is complex stuff I know, but this requires additional explanation. It cannot reasonably do both under the same conditions.

    23. people who ate pure carbohydrates had up to twice the difficulty concentrating and performing mental tasks … This is due to the insulin that is dumped into your veins after the sugar is.

    24: while saliva triggers a surge of insulin, stimulating learning and memory receptors in the brain.

  • grace says:

    Hey,

    This is a very nice article. It’s really a big help. I need to take a lot of tests and exams and deal with computer related problems almost every week. It’s nice to know the strategies you have written.

    Thanks.

  • learn new things constantly. I read constantly. whatever I’m interested in, because Knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind.
    Plato
    also learning a myriad of things helps you to associate and interrelate. learning to program in an object oriented programming language will help you practice thinking in a systematic and logical order giving you strong problem solving skills. learn a new word everyday and use it as much as you can that day to ingrain it. then learn a second language. after that you will be able to argue semantics and understand euphemisms more clearly.

    http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/p/plato.html

  • tomo says:

    Re 8> When coming to talk about quitting smoking I have to disagree, and please find below the 3 reasons why smoking makes you successful at work:
    1. Smoking will boost you social life. Smoking is a social activity, people meet for smoking, if you don’t know where to go to make friends, go to smoking area. Smoking is just an excuse for going out and meeting people.
    2. Smoking will give you time for a break – you have to leave your desk and take a break.
    3. Smoking will organize your time – it like an alarm clock ringing every 3 quarters, 2 hours or so.

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  • very nice artical.Few exercises seems very easygoing ,hopefully will boostup our IQ by boosting up our working memory

  • Bob says:

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  • Tom says:

    My IQ is in the genius range already, but thanks, anyway.

  • Martin says:

    Nice try. But,Im not buying any of it. Steven Hawking can;t do any of the above suggestions. He hasn;t been able to take a strool or to sit up straight and close his mouth with ease. Yet,he’s a genius. Reccomendation 23 contradicts reccomendation 24. 23.” Don’t eat white flour, sugar, potatoes, and other carbs before an important meeting. ” 24. ” Chewing gum improves memory and thinking, UK researchers have found. Chewing raises your heart rate, delivering more oxygen and glucose to the brain, while saliva triggers a surge of insulin, stimulating learning and memory receptors in the brain. ”
    So, in 23. They reccomend to avoid eating anything that raises insulin. In 24. they say a surge of insulin is a good thing and that saliva is supposed to increase a rise in Insulin ? How can saliva release insulin.If saliva has no sugar ?

  • Asad Wardag says:

    well article i just liked it
    nice job

  • Onyekachi says:

    sometime it very hard for me to remember things that i do myself., pls can you tell me what to do so that i can improve in my memory..

    • Doc Phil says:

      Onyekachi…It is perfectly normal to forget things that you do yourself. This is particularly true of heavy drinking, partying, and dressing up in women’s clothing as you referred to earlier. The best solution is to get one of the new mini-extreme sports cameras, the kind that attach to a helmet. This way, when you wake up face-down in a pool of your own vomit or in bed with a dead Thai sheemale hooker, you can hopefully replay the video and relive the event. This, by the way, is exactly what Einstein used to do, only he used a heavy 16mm documentary camera. Hope this helps! – Dr. Phil

    • GatorBater says:

      Listen up, Okefenokee, You keep doin that and you’ll go blind, boy.

  • F.C says:

    Hi
    I always score low in tests and exams… Why is that? I am well prepared before each test. And during the tests, I do understand what I’m doing.I remember the material Ive studied.I look over my tests and the main portion where I am loosing my marks is multiple choice.(when doing mc, you should eliminate the wrong answers….). Is it maybe physiological; my confidence. I’m not focused enough?? haven’t studied it enough. Not in-depth enough

    Thanks in advance.
    Great tips!

  • mishark says:

    thank you very much for your information on how i can improve on my IQ, this article is very nice, and i think they are going to be useful for me. thanks alot

  • AINA FLASH WILLIAMS says:

    This is the best help i’ve gotten all day thanks and i wish it works because i have an exam in the next 2 weeks 5 days thanks

  • shank says:

    thank you very much .. this ll b very useful fo ppl who hv lost der hopes on thmself in things mayB in work or as an student.. IQ is very necessary its jus an weapon for us,, n ppl value n respect only for our brains … :)
    thx alot :)

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