Pocket worthyStories to fuel your mind

6 Ways to Train Your Brain to Literally Get Smarter

The brain is a muscle, here’s how to give it a workout.


Read when you’ve got time to spare.


Photo from akinbostanci/Getty Images.

In today's world, brain is worth more than brawn, and even ancient tricks can help. We live in a digital age surrounded by smart devices and connectivity, where everyone is trying to get smarter, faster. Plus, we're not just competing with humans anymore, thank you AI.

We have easy access to all kinds of information. The only way to stay ahead and be successful in life is to continue to get smarter and keep learning.

To some, this comes naturally and the ability to grasp complex concepts does not take much effort. Just because you're not naturally a "genius" doesn't mean you can't develop your intelligence through effort and dedication, though.

Studies repeatedly show that you can make yourself smarter. High intelligence is nothing more than a great ability for pattern recognition and problem solving, all which is trainable.

The brain needs to work out similarly to how you exercise your physical muscles. Rigorous training, rest, and consistency will help you to improve your intelligence.

Before we begin, I want to discuss determined mentality. Sometimes you can be your worst enemy, and that can be the hardest obstacle to overcome. If you believe that your mind's ability won't change and its capacity is static, you might never be able to improve.

It's critical to think that you can learn, develop, and evolve with time and effort because that belief will motivate your mind.

Here are six ways to do that:

1. Keep Intelligent Company

You might've noticed that people of high intelligence often group together and this is because they want to discuss a broad range of topics freely without objections from their companions. Jim Rohn said that you are the average of 5 people you surround yourself with. Think about what that means for your IQ? Being in the company of intelligent people will indirectly make you want to continue developing your own intelligence.

I've noticed that the more I focus on my mental development that I attract the same type of people. I carry books with me everywhere and that becomes a topic of discussion. I go to escape rooms where I use logic to solve problems and find people interested in developing their mental capacity. I even find people online through Quora, and network with cold emails.

2. Read

This shouldn't be surprising, but many people underestimate just how much reading can influence and improve the mind. Well-read people aren't just articulate--they also have a vast pool of knowledge and an always-evolving mind.

Reading improves your vocabulary, expands your communication skills and develops your analytical abilities. You don't need to stick to self-help books or dry, scientific tomes either. Books like Lord of The Rings, Oliver Twist, and even Pride and Prejudice can improve your mind and impart life lessons.

3. Rest

The lack of sleep, relaxation, and excessive stress can diminish your brain's capacity. The brain requires plenty of energy to function, so if you're exhausted all the time, your mind simply won't have the ability to learn and improve.

4. Eat Brain Food

Yes, there is such thing. Food is fuel for the body, but it does matter what kind of fuel you are using.

High nutrition foods work well to power up your brain. Walnuts are a great source of brain food, so is fish; tuna, mackerel, salmon contain rich, fatty acids that have been proven to help neurons function. Harvard did an amazing study on this exact topic titled, 'Nutritional Psychiatry: Your Brain on Food.'

And make sure you have a steady intake of Omega 3. Your mind will be thankful.

5. Play Brain Games

Your brain needs to face challenges to make progress. Once the brain realizes it's good at something, it stops trying, just like any one of us.

The trick is to use your full potential and push your limits. Try brain games like memory games, Sudoku, word puzzles, and problem-solving games. I love escape rooms that make you think on the fly, and under a timeline.

These games will increase your pattern recognition, logic, and ability to process thought quickly. What might seem like playing and wasting time may be a thought workout for your brain.

6. Keep a Journal

What do Einstein, Isaac Newton and Thomas Jefferson have in common? They were all diary keepers.

Taking notes or only writing down things or ideas is creating an extension of your mind. Your thoughts will be recorded, and the routine of writing them down will enable you to think more thoroughly and improve your way of thinking.

Intelligence is not just simple genetics. It's possible to train your brain and help it functioning at a more efficient level. Be patient, stick to intelligence boosting routines and your mind will follow the instructions.

I mean, it's not rocket science here, people.

How was it? Save stories you love and never lose them.

Logo for Inc.

This post originally appeared on Inc. and was published October 26, 2016. This article is republished here with permission.

Did you enjoy this story?

Get Inc.’s daily newsletter