intelligence http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/1169/all en-US 6 Habits That Are Quietly Eating Your Brain http://www.wisebread.com/6-habits-that-are-quietly-eating-your-brain <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-habits-that-are-quietly-eating-your-brain" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man-eating-cake-86490135-small.jpg" alt="man eating cake" title="man eating cake" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Bad habits &mdash; everybody's got 'em. But did you know that some of them are actually making you dumber? That's right, just as you can engage in practices that boost your brain power, there are other actions &mdash; including some you may be taking right now while mistakenly thinking they're harmless &mdash; that actually diminish your intellectual capacity. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-habits-that-are-quietly-making-you-fat-and-have-nothing-to-do-with-eating?ref=seealso">7 Habits That Are Quietly Making You Fat</a>)</p> <p>So read on, smarten up, and don't say we didn't warn you.</p> <h2>1. Overeating</h2> <p>Listen up, men. Especially those of you who carry around a little extra weight. Researchers have found that being overweight may actually increase the <a href="http://www.webmd.com/men/news/20030305/obesity-may-hamper-mens-brain-power">risk of mental decline in men</a>, making it more difficult for their brains to function at peak levels over time. So next time you get the midnight munchies, think not just of the damage it could do to your waistline, but also the harm it could cause to your intellect.</p> <p>Women, by the way, are not at risk for this eating-induced loss of mental function because of where and how the female body stores and distributes fat. Hurray!</p> <h2>2. Using GPS Navigation</h2> <p>A series of studies has uncovered a startling fact about the way we navigate this modern world, and the effect it has on our brains. It turns out that depending on GPS to get from point A to point B may have negative consequences on brain function, especially on the hippocampus, which is involved in <a href="http://phys.org/news/2010-11-reliance-gps-hippocampus-function-age.html">memory and navigation processes</a>. Neuroscientist Veronique Bohbot of McGill University in Montreal contends that it's probably wise for us all to limit our use of GPS strictly for occasions when we're finding the way to a new destination. Then, on the way back, or when we're going somewhere else we're already familiar with, we should turn it off.</p> <h2>3. Working Odd Hours</h2> <p>If you work the graveyard shift or otherwise make a living by a strange schedule, you may want to put in for a change of hours. Studies show that long-term shift work leads to impaired memory and <a href="http://www.swansea.ac.uk/media-centre/latest-research/researchshowslongtermshiftworklinkedtoimpairedbrainpower.php">stunted brain function</a>. &quot;The cognitive impairment observed in the present study may have important safety consequences not only for the individuals concerned, but also for society as a whole, given the increasing number of jobs in high hazard situations that are performed at night,&quot; wrote a team of researchers from the National Center for Scientific Research at the University of Toulouse in France. Experts say it all boils down to the toll sleep disruption has on the brain's ability to store information. The old 9-to-5 doesn't sound so bad afterall, now does it?</p> <h2>4. Getting Stressed Out</h2> <p>Only 37% of Americans feel they are doing an <a href="http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2012/impact.aspx#">adequate job of managing their stress</a>. And now there's evidence that stress could be <a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-mindful-self-express/201208/how-prevent-stress-shrinking-your-brain">shrinking our brains</a>. New research shows that prolonged stress is associated with decreased volume in the parts of the brain responsible for regulating thoughts and feelings and creating new memories. So it would seem to reason that it's more important now than ever to pick up a few little tricks to help release those tightly wound tensions we all accumulate in the mind and body as we go about our day. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-little-ways-to-de-stress-and-enjoy-life-more?ref=seealso">6 Little Ways to De-Stress (and Enjoy Life More)</a>)</p> <h2>5. Skipping Meals</h2> <p>When you skip a meal, you aren't just starving your stomach &mdash; you're also <a href="http://www.memphis.edu/update/feb10/health.php">starving your brain</a>. The brain relies on blood sugar from the food we eat as fuel to keep all our neural-activity functioning properly. All it takes is a few hours on an empty stomach for our blood sugar to drop to subnormal levels, which means the brain can't perform optimally. &quot;In short, skipping meals leads to poor cognitive functioning, including loss of memory, concentration, the ability to learn, hand-eye coordination, and the ability to catch mistakes,&quot; said Rallie McAllister, author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00C01L6WI/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00C01L6WI&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=WRRRAYANZHVFN22S">Healthy Lunchbox: The Working Mom's Guide to Keeping You and Your Kids Trim</a>.</p> <h2>6. Eating Soda, Candy, and Sugary Snacks</h2> <p>Yet another reason to wrangle in that sweet tooth: A diet high in <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/news/need-your-brain-this-food-can-make-you-dumber/">fructose slows the brain</a>, which hampers memory and learning. And studies show all it takes is six weeks of sugary eating for the effects on the mind to begin to show. &quot;Our findings illustrate that what you eat affects how you think,&quot; UCLA biology professor Fernando Gomez-Pinilla told CBS News. &quot;Eating a high-fructose diet over the long term alters your brain's ability to learn and remember information.&quot;</p> <p><em>Are you guilty of any of these bad habits? Planning to stop now? Tell us about it in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-habits-that-are-quietly-eating-your-brain">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-habits-you-must-start-right-now-and-be-a-better-person">20 Habits You Must Start Right Now and Be a Better Person</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-break-bad-habits">How to Break Bad Habits</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-habits-you-must-kick-right-now-and-be-a-better-person">20 Habits You Must Kick Right Now and Be a Better Person</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-office-potluck-dishes-everyone-loves">20 Office Potluck Dishes Everyone Loves</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-soda-alternatives-that-wont-bust-your-wallet-or-your-waistline">7 Soda Alternatives That Won&#039;t Bust Your Wallet — Or Your Waistline</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink General Tips bad habits habits intelligence Tue, 25 Nov 2014 13:00:05 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1260291 at http://www.wisebread.com People Who Love Expanding Their Minds Do These 13 Things — Do You? http://www.wisebread.com/people-who-love-expanding-their-minds-do-these-13-things-do-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/people-who-love-expanding-their-minds-do-these-13-things-do-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/puzzle-cube-86511536-small.jpg" alt="puzzle cube" title="puzzle cube" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are those out there who refuse to let their brain get into a rut. The intellectually stimulated, the cranially curious, the people who love expanding their minds. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-easy-ways-to-improve-your-brain?ref=seealso">13 Easy Ways to Improve Your Brain</a>)</p> <p>Are you one of them? If so, you just may engage in one or more of these 13 pursuits on a daily basis.</p> <h2>1. Doing Puzzles</h2> <p>Whatever their favorite sort of puzzle, whether it's a jigsaw puzzle, Sudoku, a crossword, or a logic game, people who love expanding their minds know that <a href="http://www.daisybrains.com/blog/brain-teasers/more-please-why-our-brains-cant-seem-to-get-enough-of-brain-teasers-and-logic-puzzles/">it's good for your brain</a>. You'll learn to concentrate better, have overall higher brain activity, remember better, and have improved sleep. Puzzles can also be quite a lot of fun, so solving them won't feel like work. Instead, you'll be helping your mind and having fun at the same time.</p> <h2>2. Writing by Hand</h2> <p>If you value expanding your mind, chances are you value having a lot of creative ideas and being able to communicate them to others. As it turns out, people who write out their thoughts and ideas on an actual piece of paper, not a computer screen, <a href="http://www.rd.com/advice/parenting/why-handwriting-makes-you-smarter/">have more active minds and express more ideas</a> than people who only type. Try writing by hand for a few minutes every day, and see what changes you notice.</p> <h2>3. Learning Math</h2> <p>Math may not be your favorite, but people who want to expand their minds know that if you want your brain to fluidly process letters and numbers and to have greater facility in your first language and others, you should <a href="http://healthland.time.com/2013/04/23/your-brain-on-math/">spend some time studying math</a>. It turns out that the areas of your brain that understand mathematical concepts and process numbers are related to the areas that do these other things, too. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-useful-genius-math-tricks-that-are-actually-easy?ref=seealso">11 Genius Math Tricks That Are Actually Easy</a>)</p> <h2>4. Exercising</h2> <p>Exercise doesn't just make us happier, it makes our brains work better. People who love expanding their minds know that they are better at <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/belle-beth-cooper/10-surprising-things-that-benefit-our-brains_b_4275770.html">focusing, solving problems, and even reasoning after they have exercised</a>. While it can take a lot of energy to get off the couch and out the door, even a quick walk boosts the brain's overall performance.</p> <h2>5. Studying a New Language</h2> <p>Learning a new language literally <a href="http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121008082953.htm">makes your brain grow</a>. Sure, language learning can be hard work. But it's so good for your brain, and it helps your mind learn to make new connections, too, so fans of expanding the mind will put in the effort.</p> <p>When your brain makes new connections you will become more creative, and you'll be able to communicate with a greater portion of the world. You can even study online, with <a href="https://www.duolingo.com/">Duolingo</a> and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-can-learn-a-new-language-just-use-one-of-these-3-apps">other resources</a>. There's not much more fun than taking a trip to a place where you know the language because you've studied hard. Maybe you can set a vacation as a goal after all your study!</p> <h2>6. Reading Novels</h2> <p>Reading a novel seems to raise the connectivity in your brain and cause other positive neurological changes <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/brain-function-boosted-for-days-after-reading-a-novel-9028302.html">for up to five days after you finish</a> your book. Anyone who loves expanding their mind could tell you that if you'd like your brain to work smoother and more efficiently, pick up your favorite page-turner. You don't have to read a classic work or anything like that. In fact, it seems like the important factor is that the book is written well enough that you feel you're in the main character's place.</p> <h2>7. Practicing Meditation</h2> <p>Meditation can help <a href="http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-12793/how-meditation-changes-your-brain-a-neuroscientist-explains.html">enhance your brain function</a> in areas that tie to learning, memory, taking different perspectives, regulating your emotions, and more. People who want to expand their minds know that, if you want your mind to work better, it's worthwhile to learn meditation.</p> <p>It's easy to be intimidated by the prospect of meditating. We tend to think that it is something that gurus do, or only enlightened people. Fortunately, it doesn't have to be hard at all. There are many <a href="http://tinybuddha.com/blog/8-ways-to-make-meditation-easy-and-fun/">easy ways to incorporate meditation</a> into your busy daily life.</p> <h2>8. Playing Board Games</h2> <p>People who grow their minds often play board games. <a href="http://examinedexistence.com/can-playing-games-make-you-smarter/">Different games have different benefits</a>, but overall you can improve your linguistic intelligence, improve your math and reasoning skills, improve how you negotiate and work with people, and improve your critical thinking. Try a lot of different games, and you could greatly improve your brain's capacity to work on a lot of different levels.</p> <h2>9. Listening to Music</h2> <p>Listening to music has <a href="http://greatist.com/happiness/unexpected-health-benefits-music">all sorts of benefits</a>, but notable among these is that it improves cognitive functioning, eases stress, and helps you perform better in difficult situations. And people who want better functioning brains know that it's easy, too &mdash; just play music from your phone in the car or carry headphones if you commute by transit.</p> <p>Expand your mind even more by listening to music that isn't familiar to you. Do this with someone who loves the music and understands it, so you can ask questions about what you're hearing and have them help you understand it. This will help you in taking on new and different perspectives, too.</p> <h2>10. Reading Poetry</h2> <p>Poetry can be intimidating. It only takes one bad memory from high school English class to put you off it for a long, long time. However, people who want better brains make the effort anyway, because <a href="http://blogs.hbr.org/2012/11/the-benefits-of-poetry-for-pro/">reading poems expands your mind</a> in some interesting and important ways. To understand most poems, you have to be able to look at things as both simple and complex. It also enhances the parts of your brain that think empathically, and help you become more creative, because it teaches you how to make connections between seemingly unrelated things.</p> <h2>11. Overcoming Fears</h2> <p>When you're afraid of something, you shut yourself off to that thing and anything that might lead to it or spring from it. For instance, if you're afraid of flying, it's easy to become shut off from travel and everything you can learn by doing that. You never get to experience new cultures, new foods, or the different perspectives that people in other cultures have. When you overcome your fears, you open yourself not only to the thing you're afraid of, but to everything that comes with that, too.</p> <p>Overcoming fears can be hard work, especially if they are deeply entrenched, but people who love expanding their minds love the benefits they reap when they make the effort. It will help you to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-techniques-that-can-help-you-conquer-any-fear">identify what you're afraid of</a> and where that fear comes from. However, you may need to work with a therapist to overcome particularly difficult fears.</p> <h2>12. Mind Mapping&hellip; Anything</h2> <p>When you make a mind map, you're giving your mind free range, at least within certain parameters. A mind map is basically a way of organizing information visually. You put your main idea in the center, then draw lines to show how it connects to other ideas. This can be as complicated of as simple as it needs to be to help you think.</p> <p>It can also help you see the connections between different ideas, and possibly between things that you might never have connected otherwise. Proponents of mind mapping for brain expansion say that <a href="http://www.edudemic.com/benefits-of-mind-mapping/">it helps them</a> understand their problems and solutions, organize their thoughts, make these new connections, and communicate with other people.</p> <h2>13. Getting Some Sleep</h2> <p>People who love expanding their minds know that getting plenty of sleep cannot possibly be overrated. They may not always want to go to bed on time, but they know one simple fact: when you sleep, <a href="http://www.helpguide.org/life/improving_memory.htm">your mind works better</a>. You learn better and recall what you've learned faster and easier. In fact, you may not be able to expand your mind in the other ways mentioned on this list if you're not getting enough sleep.</p> <p>While <a href="http://sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need">there's not a magic number</a> of hours of sleep that will work for everyone, it's good to aim for 7-9 hours every night. Use some trial and error and commit to figuring out what works for you, and your brain will be better off.</p> <p><em>How do you expand your mind? How do you fit it into your busy schedule?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fpeople-who-love-expanding-their-minds-do-these-13-things-do-you&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FPeople%2520Who%2520Love%2520Expanding%2520Their%2520Minds%2520Do%2520These%252013%2520Things%2520%25E2%2580%2594%2520Do%2520You_.jpg&amp;description=People%20Who%20Love%20Expanding%20Their%20Minds%20Do%20These%2013%20Things%20%E2%80%94%20Do%20You%3F"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><em><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/People%20Who%20Love%20Expanding%20Their%20Minds%20Do%20These%2013%20Things%20%E2%80%94%20Do%20You_.jpg" alt="People Who Love Expanding Their Minds Do These 13 Things &mdash; Do You?" width="250" height="374" /></em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/people-who-love-expanding-their-minds-do-these-13-things-do-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-can-learn-a-new-language-just-use-one-of-these-3-apps">You CAN Learn a New Language — Just Use One of These 3 Apps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-say-no-to-friends-and-family">5 Ways to Say &quot;No&quot; to Friends and Family</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-fun-games-that-make-you-smarter-too">11 Fun Games That Make You Smarter, Too</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-powerful-brain-hacks-you-can-do-in-under-2-minutes">8 Powerful Brain Hacks You Can Do in Under 2 Minutes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-feel-better-fast">25 Ways to Feel Better Fast</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Personal Development brains intelligence learning smarts Mon, 13 Oct 2014 11:00:07 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1231186 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Fun Games That Make You Smarter, Too http://www.wisebread.com/11-fun-games-that-make-you-smarter-too <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-fun-games-that-make-you-smarter-too" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-playing-chess-78375720-small.jpg" alt="couple playing chess" title="couple playing chess" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&quot;Life is more fun if you play games,&quot; said Roald Dahl. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-five-economy-based-board-games-that-make-you-think?ref=seealso">5 Economy Based Games That Make You Think</a>)</p> <p>And there's even better news: Those same games can also make you smarter. Here are 11 games that exercise different mental skills.</p> <h2>1. Super Mario Brothers</h2> <p>Good news fans of the lovable Italian plumber! A neurological research study has found that playing Super Mario Brothers for at least 30 minutes a day for two months <a href="http://www.nature.com/mp/journal/v19/n2/full/mp2013120a.html">improves neural plasticity</a> &mdash; the ability of the brain to change and grow.</p> <p>Guiding Mario and Luigi through the different levels augments the gray matter in your brain that is essential for &quot;spatial navigation, strategic planning, working memory and motor performance.&quot; The researchers concluded that the right dose of Super Mario Brothers adventures can help those struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, and neurodegenerative disease.</p> <h2>2. Scrabble</h2> <p>If you are competitive at playing Scrabble, you can brag to your friends that you have some mad language skills!</p> <p>A study comparing <a href="http://link.springer.com/article/10.3758/s13421-011-0137-5/fulltext.html">competitive Scrabble players against a test group of novice players</a> found that Scrabble experts are more adept at vertical fluency and semantic deemphasis. The first skill allows you to handle words presented in a vertical fashion, and the second one improves your ability to handle word responses. These two skills combined lead to better word recognition in adults. Unfortunately, the researchers <a href="http://bodyodd.nbcnews.com/_news/2011/08/18/7408409-confirmed-scrabble-players-are-smarter-than-everyone-else">don't believe that these same skills can be obtained</a> through Scrabble's digital counterpart, Words With Friends. So drop the smartphone and pick up the board game.</p> <h2>3. FitBrains</h2> <p>If the world-famous <a href="http://www.fastcompany.com/3023881/fast-feed/rosetta-stone-buys-brain-training-app-seeks-to-expand-beyond-language-learning">Rosetta Stone invests $12 million in a suite of brain training apps</a>, you ought to give these apps a try. And boy, does the brain training app developer, FitBrains, have a pitch. They claim that by using its apps for <a href="http://www.fastcompany.com/3027104/tech-forecast/do-brainpower-apps-really-make-you-smarter">15 minutes a day, five days a week</a>, you can improve your memory and concentration, and ward off mental diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. FitBrains includes memory, visual, focus, speed, logic, and language games, all accessible through its <a href="http://www.fitbrains.com">site</a> or its smartphone apps.</p> <h2>4. Chess</h2> <p>There is strong evidence of the mental benefits of playing chess on a regular basis across all age groups.</p> <ul> <li>Chess players in elementary schools make <a href="http://files.givewell.org/files/Analysis/margulies.pdf">significant gains in reading scores</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Elementary students who play chess show improvements <a href="http://chess.jliptrap.us/taas4.pdf">in mathematical skills</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Becoming proficient in chess at any age level is linked to <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21038986">better object and pattern recognition</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>There are several anecdotal accounts of <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/06/speed-chess-changed-my-brain/277151/">adults playing speed chess gaining benefits in other activities</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Testing the thesis that the <a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/blogs/nurture-shock/2009/12/11/is-the-brain-like-a-muscle-really.html">brain works like a muscle</a>, the New England Journal of Medicine concluded that adults over 75 that engage in activities in &quot;brain stretching&quot; activities, such as chess, are less likely to develop dementia.</li> </ul> <p>This is why chess is part of school curricula in close to 30 countries, including Russia, Iceland, and Venezuela.</p> <h2>5. Mahjong</h2> <p>While chess is considered one of the ultimate tests of intelligence in the Western world, Mahjong is its counterpart in the Eastern world. With high popularity in Eastern and South Eastern Asia, mahjong is played with a set of 144 tiles based on Chinese characters and symbols. Adults with mild-to-moderate symptoms of dementia may <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16779765">improve their cognitive functions</a> by playing the game.</p> <p>However, various studies point out that the <a href="http://repository.ied.edu.hk/dspace/handle/2260.2/13144">health benefits of mahjong extend beyond seniors with dementia</a>. Mahjong improves social skills, memory, and even math skills.</p> <h2>6. Tetris</h2> <p>If you are still suspicious that playing video games can make you smarter, then here is one game that will cast away your doubts. Through the use of brain-activity tracking technologies, researchers found that <a href="http://www.biomedcentral.com/1756-0500/2/174">adolescent girls showed improved brain activity</a> after three months of Tetris practice. The girls age 12 to 15 practiced Tetris 1.5 hours per week during the three-month period. During and after a Tetris session, your brain experiences significant activity that leads to greater brain efficiency. On top of improving your noggin, playing <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0195666314000828">Tetris may help you fight off cravings</a> and become part of your weight management or habit reduction plan.</p> <h2>7. Monopoly</h2> <p>This is my favorite board game, so I was thrilled to read comments about the game from renowned board game designer Philip Orbanes. He is a global authority on Monopoly and has judged U.S. and World Monopoly Championships for over 30 years. (Watch him judge the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZwmPBP2JHI">final game of the 2009 Monopoly Championship</a>, which gathered national champions from Russia, Norway, New Zealand, and the U.S.) He strongly believes that <a href="http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887324590904578288400723946868">Monopoly provides real life financial lessons</a>.</p> <p>Orbanes points out that <a href="http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2013/03/20/what-monopoly-can-teach-you-about-smart-investing">Monopoly can</a>:</p> <ul> <li>Provide kids their first important lessons in the art of negotiations in a safe environment;</li> <li>Teach players of any age an understanding of the concept of diversification;</li> <li><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Monopoly-Money-You-Game-2019s-Secrets/dp/0071808434">Offer practical training in managing money</a>;</li> <li>Help to exercise arithmetic and statistical skills without feeling like homework.</li> </ul> <p>Turns out that Monopoly is serious business!</p> <h2>8. Lumosity</h2> <p>This is an alternative to FitBrains. If you have seen one of Lumosity's ads on TV and decided to visit its site to check out <a href="http://blog.lumosity.com/the-science-behind-lumosity-3/">what neuroplasticity is all about</a>, you're not alone. The site has <a href="http://blog.lumosity.com/50millioninfographic/">over 60 million subscribers</a>, spending a bit over <a href="http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/lumosity.com">11 minutes on the site per session</a>.</p> <p>Lumosity provides 40 games that are designed to increase memory, attention, processing speed, mental flexibility, and problem solving skills. For example, the <a href="http://games.lumosity.com/waiter.html">Waiter Game</a> jogs your ability to remember names and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9d8cxl05k4k">RainDrops</a> works your problem solving. Could you search free alternatives to all 40 games on your own? Sure, but Lumosity already did the work for you and can provide you personalized reports and suggestions on what to work next.</p> <h2>9. LittleBigPlanet</h2> <p>If Lumosity sounds too grown-up for the taste of your inner child, then give <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001IVXI7C/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001IVXI7C&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=E6Q6WL5Z3C22XZ3E">LittleBigPlanet</a> a try. This game requires such high levels of critical thinking and creativity that a <a href="http://www.popsci.com/scitech/article/2009-09/first-public-school-based-games-set-nyc-debut">New York public school added LittleBigPlanet to its curricula</a>.</p> <p>There are many versions of LittleBigPlanet but the one that has been lauded the most for its skills development benefits is <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002I0K780/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002I0K780&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=O4CTH55QJA5BAWKT">LittleBigPlanet 2</a>. Given the availability of an in-game level editor to make custom levels, many have noted how it provides players a basic introduction into computing or game design. This opportunity to <a href="http://www.gamesradar.com/14-golden-rules-for-making-littlebigplanet-levels/">design and test your own game</a> levels could be a great investment. After all, the video game design industry offers <a href="http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/video-game-designer3.htm">annual salaries ranging between $37,000 and $200,000</a>.</p> <h2>10. Charades</h2> <p>The classic family living room game is a great way to give your brain a workout. Trying to decode and to communicate only through gestures recruits a series of areas of the brain that are <a href="http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0006801">necessary for simulation and mentalization</a>. While the benefits of charades are best enjoyed when actively trying to guess the charades, there are also marginal benefits when merely observing. Having to role play and present information without talking trains charade players to make sense out of new information more efficiently. Also, performing role plays facilitates your <a href="http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2206080">ability to put yourself in somebody else's shoes</a>.</p> <h2>11. The Professor Layton Series</h2> <p>Last but not least is the <a href="http://professorlayton.nintendo.com">popular saga for the Nintendo DS game platform</a>. While the game is known for its beautiful animation sequences, it is downright addictive due to its smartly designed brain busters. Up to 75% of players of indicate that the <a href="http://www.mcvuk.com/news/read/brand-map-51-of-professor-layton-players-are-female/096842">mental challenge is their most preferred aspect</a> of the game. This motivator is more than double than any other included in the survey. The variety of logic challenges keeps you engaged and, if you find them too easy, you can increase the difficulty level. Before settling on a specific game to buy, you can test drive a few of the puzzles, such as the ones from the <a href="http://professorlayton.nintendo.com/azran-legacy/#/demos">Arzan Legacy series</a>.</p> <p><em>What is your favorite game that helps you become smarter? Please share in comments!</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F11-fun-games-that-make-you-smarter-too&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F11%2520Fun%2520Games%2520That%2520Make%2520You%2520Smarter%252C%2520Too.jpg&amp;description=11%20Fun%20Games%20That%20Make%20You%20Smarter%2C%20Too"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><em><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/11%20Fun%20Games%20That%20Make%20You%20Smarter%2C%20Too.jpg" alt="11 Fun Games That Make You Smarter, Too" width="250" height="374" /></em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-fun-games-that-make-you-smarter-too">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-play-teaches-you-about-personal-finance">5 Things Play Teaches You About Personal Finance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-make-yourself-smarter-today">25 Ways to Make Yourself Smarter — Today!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-easy-ways-to-improve-your-brain">13 Easy Ways to Improve Your Brain</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-unexpected-benefits-of-volunteering">9 Unexpected Benefits of Volunteering</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-spending-3-on-you-will-advance-your-career">Here&#039;s How Spending 3% On You Will Advance Your Career</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development education games intelligence play Thu, 18 Sep 2014 17:00:05 +0000 Damian Davila 1213032 at http://www.wisebread.com Are You Smarter Than Your Sibling? (Your Birth Order Might Provide the Answer) http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-smarter-than-your-sibling-your-birth-order-might-provide-the-answer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/are-you-smarter-than-your-sibling-your-birth-order-might-provide-the-answer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/siblings-homework-178888000-small.jpg" alt="siblings homework" title="sibling homework" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Does birth order impact overall intelligence? It's a question researchers have been asking for centuries and continue to investigate today. And while there are many factors that contribute to personality and smarts, studies do show that where you fall in your family tree may have some impact on the person you become and the I.Q. you achieve. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/good-and-bad-habits-of-smart-people?ref=seealso">Good and Bad Habits of Smart People</a>)</p> <p>Here's what we know.</p> <h2>First Born Smarts</h2> <p>As the eldest in my family of two kids, I'm happy to report that a Norwegian study published in 2007 supports my brain power over my brother's. Researchers examined military IQ tests of 18- and 19-year-old men and corrected for factors that might otherwise skew data, including maternal age, parents' education level, and total family size. In the end, first born children scored an average of <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/21/science/21cnd-sibling.html">3% higher</a> on intelligence tests than second children (103.2 versus 100.3) and 4% higher than third borns (who scored 99.0 on average).</p> <h2>Age Matters</h2> <p>What's interesting to note is that younger siblings &mdash; second borns, in particular &mdash; seem to score higher on their I.Q. tests before age 12. The theory behind these findings? When kids are younger, the first born is impacted by his or her siblings, even negatively when it comes to both <a href="http://www.webmd.com/parenting/news/20070621/does-birth-order-affect-intelligence">language and cognition</a>. On the flip side, big brothers or sisters have the opposite effect, enriching the lives and brains of their kid siblings. This situation changes over time, perhaps as the eldest matures and fosters the intelligence (tutoring, etc.) of the rest of the pack.</p> <h2>Rank and Circumstance</h2> <p>There are other <a href="http://www.sciencemag.org/content/316/5832/1717.full">notable factors</a> that have the power to shift these basic findings. For example, if the eldest sibling in a family dies and the second-born is, then, bumped up in the lineup, the game changes. This kind of circumstance results in beefed up scores for a second born, who then becomes, for all intents and purposes, the biological and social leader to the rest of the kids in the family.</p> <h2>Age Gaps, Family Size, Etc.</h2> <p>Still, it's hard to declare first borns are inherently smarter than their siblings because so many other variables are at play. If there's not much spacing between brothers and sisters, for instance, birth order appears not to matter quite as much. In fact, small age gaps have shown an <a href="http://www.bioline.org.br/pdf?jp07012">&quot;unfavorable&quot; impact</a> on I.Q. levels. And there does seem to be some relationship between overall family size and smarts as a whole for everyone involved, but &mdash; again &mdash; the dynamic is complicated and requires further study.</p> <h2>Lonely Onlys</h2> <p>Then there are those only children &mdash; how do they stack up? Well, hundreds of studies in the 1980s &mdash; that continue to <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/09/opinion/sunday/only-children-lonely-and-selfish.html">gain support today</a> &mdash; show that only children often score significantly higher on intelligence tests, all while boasting higher self-esteem and emotional lives. The idea is that parents with only one child (a one in five chance in America) are able to devote all their resources, both time and money, giving singletons the best of all worlds. However, these benefits come with a price. Stress increases with age for only children, as they are taxed with facing elder care and other issues without the help of siblings.</p> <p><em>So? Does all this match your own experience? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-smarter-than-your-sibling-your-birth-order-might-provide-the-answer">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprising-way-birth-order-decides-your-money-habits">The Surprising Way Birth Order Decides Your Money Habits</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-liquidate-a-loved-ones-estate">How to Liquidate a Loved One&#039;s Estate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-travel-must-haves-for-nursing-moms">8 Travel Must-Haves for Nursing Moms</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/19-frugal-ways-to-entertain-teenagers">19 Frugal Ways to Entertain Teenagers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-end-of-life-cost-savings-your-survivors-will-thank-you-for">9 End-of-Life Cost Savings Your Survivors Will Thank You For</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family birth order intelligence sibling rivalry Mon, 21 Jul 2014 15:00:03 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1162785 at http://www.wisebread.com 13 Easy Ways to Improve Your Brain http://www.wisebread.com/13-easy-ways-to-improve-your-brain <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/13-easy-ways-to-improve-your-brain" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/reading-170082833.jpg" alt="reading" title="reading" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've probably heard before that &quot;Knowing is half the battle.&quot;</p> <p>However, becoming smarter doesn't need to be a battle in itself. The great thing about improving your knowledge is that it can be done on the cheap, providing you one of the highest ROIs you can ever get.</p> <p>Here are more than a dozen budget-friendly ideas to become smarter.</p> <h2>Expand Your Vocabulary</h2> <p>Like Steve Martin said, &quot;Some people have a way with words, and other people...oh, uh, not have way.&quot; The more words you know, the better you are at making your point.</p> <h3>1. Learn a Word per Day From a Dictionary</h3> <p>If you don't have a dictionary laying around your place, then borrow one from a friend or relative. With some old-fashioned dictionaries being so large and bulky, some people are happy to give them away. An alternative is to use free online dictionaries, such as <a href="http://www.merriam-webster.com">Merriam-Webster</a> and <a href="http://dictionary.cambridge.org/us">Cambridge</a>. Make it a habit to tie-in looking up a word to a daily ritual (e.g. drinking coffee, brushing your teeth), so that you are able to commit to this task. Another option is to sign up for a free <a href="http://www.vocabulary.com">word-a-day email service</a> or use an <a href="http://www.investopedia.com/dictionary/">industry-specific online dictionary</a>.</p> <p>If you think a-word-a-day is too wimpy, then you can take your daily word to the next level by adding its synonym and antonym. If you don't have access to a thesaurus, then you can use the free ones from Merriam-Webster, Cambridge or <a href="http://www.synonym.com">Synonym.com</a>.</p> <h3>2. Read More Challenging Books and Articles</h3> <p><a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/id/20381678/39541721#.U2nLc8ZVlBA">One in four Americans</a> read no books last year. This is a scary statistic, yet very easy to fix. You can commit yourself to read a challenging book per month when you have a specific goal to complete the month after.</p> <p>In March, for example, you can commit to read a book or series of online articles that helps you finish your taxes on time. In September, read a book that brings you completely up to speed on a character that you are planning to play during Halloween. This a trick that you can repeat over and over.</p> <p>If you prefer to read physical books, save money by looking for used copies on <a href="http://www.ebay.com/chp/books">eBay</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=IFACCL3WOLJ5WO42">Amazon</a>, and <a href="http://losangeles.craigslist.org/bka/">Craigslist</a>. Also, once you are done with your books, you can resell them on those sites as well. If you prefer to read online, then skip the magazine subscription and read its available online articles. You may be running one issue behind, but you can increase the amount of magazines you can read per month at no cost.</p> <h3>3. Play &quot;Word&quot; Games</h3> <p>If looking up words sounds like no fun at all, you can spice it up by making a game out of it. Invest in a Scrabble game board (<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0085UN694/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0085UN694&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=OLOSVXEMPEVDF5BF">about $15 for a used one</a> on Amazon.com) and play with your friends and family. Not only will you enjoy some quality time, but also you will improve your vocabulary. Keep a dictionary nearby or on a browser on your smartphone to check the definition of new words.</p> <p>If most of your family and friends live too far away, you can still play Scrabble with them through the free version of <a href="http://www.wordswithfriends.com">Words with Friends </a>(available on Android, iPhone, and Facebook). This is a fun way to discover words you never knew existed!</p> <h2>Ask Questions of Experts</h2> <p>As cliched as it may sound, the Internet truly has made the world a &quot;global village.&quot; Having access to experts from all around the world allows you to get them answers, most of the time for free!</p> <h3>4. Use Your Alumni Association</h3> <p>If you graduated from high school or college, then put your alumni association to work for you. Ask for the list of alumni living in your area and keep in the loop about educational events. For example, I have an undergraduate degree at the University of Alberta in Canada and have 65 fellow alumni that live in Hawaii. Through this network, I found out about a great talk on the latest research on geothermal energy happening right in my state.</p> <h3>5. Crowdsource Answers</h3> <p>Just like you use Yelp and Foursquare to crowdsource where to eat out the next time, you should use sites devoted to Q&amp;A's to crowdsource the answer to your next burning question. While there are lots of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_question-and-answer_websites">Q&amp;A sites</a>, you should stick mostly to <a href="http://linkedin.com">LinkedIn</a> and <a href="http://quora.com">Quora</a>. The reason is that both sites seek to maintain a professional tone. LinkedIn ties your answer to your resume, and Quora keeps an army of site moderators. (By the way, you can find <a href="http://www.quora.com/Damian-Davila">me on Quora</a> in case you have questions on email marketing, taking the GMAT exam, or Ecuador.)</p> <h2>Improve Your Health</h2> <p>A healthy mind goes with a healthy body. Breaking a sweat on a daily basis and taking care of your body are important to becoming smarter. Here is how to improve your health on the cheap.</p> <h3>7. Sleep Better</h3> <p>According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 25% of Americans suffer from a sleep disorder. If you are one of them, then you can fix this in three easy ways:</p> <ol> <li>Stop drinking coffee, 5-Hour Energy, or Red Bull before noon so that the caffeine can fully wear off by bedtime.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Start eating dinner before 7 p.m so that you have enough time to digest your meal.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Establish a wind-down routine, such as reading a book, doing a facial, or drinking hot cocoa, whatever ritual that allows your mind and body to relax for a better rest.</li> </ol> <h3>8. Eat and Exercise Like a Pro</h3> <p>Behind every Hollywood superstar is a great trainer and nutrition specialist. But there is no need to spend the same kind of cash that Gwyneth Paltrow and Gwen Stefani spend to get similar results. Talk with your HR department about the free or discounted gym and nutrition classes that are included through your health insurance plan. Preventive care is on the rise in the U.S., so you may be able to score a free class on the basics of yoga or healthy eating.</p> <p>Also, turn to the Internet to search for podcasts (e.g. <a href="http://www.nutrition.org/publications/podcasts/">American Society for Nutrition</a> and <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/nutrition-divas-quick-dirty/id289338154?mt=2">Nutrition Diva</a>), blogs (e.g. <a href="http://www.nerdfitness.com">Nerd Fitness</a> and <a href="http://www.fitmamamoxie.com">Fit Mama Moxie</a>), and sites (e.g. <a href="http://www.menshealth.com">Men's Health</a> and <a href="http://www.womenshealthmag.com">Women's Health</a>) dedicated to fitness and nutrition.</p> <h2>Get Social</h2> <p>I don't mean to join Twitter or open a Facebook account; I mean to actually get outside your home and start talking to more people. If you want to become smarter, you need to become more social and interact with more people.</p> <h3>9. Join a Club</h3> <p>Learning by doing is one of the fastest ways to absorb information or learn a new skill. For example, as expecting parents of twin boys, my wife and I joined a local group of parents of multiples. By attending the monthly group meetings and talking with other parents of multiples, we have been able to quickly filter lots of information and get those amazing &quot;golden nuggets&quot; of knowledge.</p> <p>Since two heads think better than one, just imagine when you can get 10 or more in the same room! Not only you are able to cover more research in less time as somebody is doing the work for you, but you also get a different perspective that you may have not considered before. From chess to backyard gardening to conversational Spanish, there are clubs for pretty much everything.</p> <p>Some groups may require a membership fee, but they often offer you free attendance to the first meeting. Other groups may be completely gratis. Look up groups based on your interests and budget constraints.</p> <h3>10. Start More Face-to-Face Conversations</h3> <p>SMS and email may be killing the art of conversation. The more we use them, the more we tend to avoid people. Even at the office we often prefer to email a coworker who is only three cubicles down. Get into the habit of starting more face-to-face conversations so that you can improve your social skills. Pay attention to your and your partner's body language to figure out how those cues affect the flow, meaning, and tone of the conversation.</p> <p>Surround yourself with people that have more experience than you in different fields. Don't become intimidated by their superior knowledge, but aim to learn from their experiences. Feel blessed that you have access to smarter people. That hot-shot lawyer that charges $100 per hour to a client may give you some good advice for free. It may only cost you a cup of coffee and an hour of your time. Make it a goal to start five face-to-face conversations every day.</p> <h2>Improve Your Memory</h2> <p>What a great feeling of accomplishment is to go through a full day without having forgotten anything that you needed to do! Your memory is like a muscle, and if you don't flex it often, it will go stale.</p> <h3>11. Write Things Down</h3> <p>Writing makes you smarter because it involves three key skills:</p> <ol> <li><strong>Visual:</strong> You develop the ability to focus on what is front of you.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Motor:</strong> You work on your hand-eye coordination so that the letters can make sense.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Cognitive:</strong> You exercise different parts of the brain to figure out the fastest way to put ideas down on paper.</li> </ol> <p>By practicing these three skills through writing, you become better at recalling birthdates, things-to-do, and names. The surefire way to write more throughout the day is to always carry a small notebook and a pen. Whenever you are on the phone or at a meeting, take notes of key action items and pieces of data. The more you practice, the better you become at taking notes and the more that you will remember.</p> <p>But don't just stop there. Use your notebook or the notepad app from your smartphone or tablet to make a daily list of things-to-do. Using 10 minutes a day to organize your list of tasks allows you to prepare yourself better, prioritize tasks, and increase your likelihood of completing each task. Besides, there is nothing more satisfying than scratching off the last item from your to-do list and screaming out loud &quot;done!&quot;</p> <h3>12. Use Mnemonics</h3> <p>Mnemonics (the initial &quot;m&quot; is silent) are hints that we use to remember something more easily. By associating information with a visual image, a sentence, or a word, we increase our ability to recall that information.</p> <p>Here are some useful examples:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Acrostics:</strong> The sentence &quot;Please Excuse My Dear Aunty Sally&quot; helps Math students to remember the order of operations: Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, and Subtraction.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Acronyms:</strong> STEM allows you to remember the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Chunking:</strong> Group numbers to remember phone numbers more easily. You'll have an easier time to remember 555-789-2143 than 5557892143.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Rhymes:</strong> &quot;Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November&quot; lets you know right away what months of the year that have 30 days.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Visual Imaging:</strong> To recall names faster, associate an obvious detail that you can pick up right away when you see it. Some examples are &quot;Golden Locks Mary,&quot; &quot;German Accent Peter,&quot; and &quot;Tall Mike.&quot;</li> </ul> <h3>13. Jog Your Memory Often</h3> <p>Just like jogging often prevents you from getting a cramp the next time you go for a run, jogging your memory often keeps it in good form. Test your memory with these two easy tricks.</p> <p>First, the next time that you have sit on front of a cluttered desk, try to memorize as many items as you can in 30 seconds, and snap a picture with your cellphone. Then, write down on a piece of paper as many items as you can recall within a minute. After the minute is up, check your answers against the picture.</p> <p>Another cheap way to jog your memory is to literally play the Memory Game. You can buy a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00000IWDD/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00000IWDD&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=XIXOW357YF6BTDVAv">Memory Game on Amazon</a> for as low as $13, download a <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.urbian.android.games.memorytrainer">free app such as Memory Trainer</a>, or build your own board game using pictures of your family and friends.</p> <p>By expanding your vocabulary, asking questions to experts, getting social, and improving your memory, you are working on budget-friendly ways to become smarter.</p> <p><em>What other cheap ways do you use to become smarter? Please share in comments!</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F13-easy-ways-to-improve-your-brain&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F13%2520Easy%2520Ways%2520to%2520Improve%2520Your%2520Brain.jpg&amp;description=13%20Easy%20Ways%20to%20Improve%20Your%20Brain"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><em><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/13%20Easy%20Ways%20to%20Improve%20Your%20Brain.jpg" alt="13 Easy Ways to Improve Your Brain" width="250" height="374" /></em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-easy-ways-to-improve-your-brain">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-improve-your-memory-and-even-get-a-little-smarter">How to Improve Your Memory (and Even Get a Little Smarter)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-powerful-brain-hacks-you-can-do-in-under-2-minutes">8 Powerful Brain Hacks You Can Do in Under 2 Minutes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-fun-activities-to-stimulate-your-brain">5 Fun Activities to Stimulate Your Brain</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-fun-games-that-make-you-smarter-too">11 Fun Games That Make You Smarter, Too</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-make-yourself-smarter-today">25 Ways to Make Yourself Smarter — Today!</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development brain hacks brain training intelligence Wed, 21 May 2014 08:24:21 +0000 Damian Davila 1139948 at http://www.wisebread.com 25 Ways to Make Yourself Smarter — Today! http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-make-yourself-smarter-today <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-ways-to-make-yourself-smarter-today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/reading-newspaper-3005779-small.jpg" alt="reading newspaper" title="reading newspaper" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Feel like you're in an educational rut? It happens to the best of us. The good news is that you don't have to go back to school to learn something new. In fact, there are many learning opportunities waiting for you today &mdash; literally right now &mdash; that will make you a little bit smarter than you were when you woke up this morning. Check 25 of them out below. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/download-a-yale-lecture-more-universities-offer-courses-to-the-public?ref=seealso">Watch a Yale Classroom Lecture Free</a>)</p> <h2>1. Read Everything You See</h2> <p>From the fine print on marketing collateral to the backs of cereal boxes, I try to read every word I see. It certainly helps inform my own profession as a copywriter and blogger from a strategy standpoint, but I sometimes learn new facts that I didn't know before. For instance, did you know that there are 119 grooves on the edge of a quarter? Neither did I &mdash; until I read the underside of a Snapple cap. Keep that little gem locked away until you're on the &quot;Million Second Quiz&quot; and trying to take home the big bucks. Fingers crossed that this is something Seacrest asks you.</p> <h2>2. Listen to an Educational Podcast</h2> <p>As in all other genres of media, there's an abundance of nonsense saturating the podcast world, but there are plenty of awesome shows that can teach you a thing or two. The Art of Manliness has compiled<a href="http://www.artofmanliness.com/2013/09/11/podcasts-for-men/"> 24 note-worthy podcasts</a> for guys, while ladies may be interested in this<a href="http://girlfriendology.com/1457/top-ten-great-podcasts-for-women/"> list of podcasts from Girlfriendology</a>. These suggestions aren't an attempt to be sexist, of course, but rather a way to let you know that there are plenty of podcasts out there to make you smarter today, no matter your interests.</p> <h2>3. Play a General Knowledge Trivia Game</h2> <p>Some of my friends and I are on a trivia league &mdash; yes, league &mdash; and we meet every Wednesday night of the season to show our fellow competitors just how smart we are. Sometimes, however, we're stumped by a question, the answer to which only makes us smarter (and better equipped for a trivia bout down the road) once it's revealed. Because bar trivia has become quite the phenomenon over the past few years, you shouldn't have a hard time finding at least one trivia night at a local watering hole near you. Pop in and smarten up. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/score-how-to-host-a-great-game-night?ref=seealso">How to Host a Great Game Night</a>)</p> <h2>4. Learn a New Skill From YouTube</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/learnnew-laptop-4829843-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>There are several benefits to logging onto YouTube and watching a tutorial to learn a skill you don't yet possess. For starters, YouTube is free, but it's also there right when you need it &mdash; including right now. From simple tasks like <a href="http://www.youtube.com/user/SierraTradingPost?v=An8e51gwmvk">how to tie a bowtie</a> and <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_f087CNDNtY">how to change a diaper</a> to more time-consuming endeavors like <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqlRJ-s3p4U">how to build a go-kart</a>, YouTube has a diverse library of instructional videos that will make you more intelligent that you were 10 minutes ago. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-free-ways-to-learn-something-new?ref=seealso">Free Ways to Learn Something New</a>)</p> <h2>5. Enlist the Help of Others</h2> <p>How did anybody get anywhere without the help of someone else? We all learn from each other, which is why it's important to sometimes take a step back, swallow our pride, and ask someone to teach us how to do something. Enlisting the help of others can sometimes be humbling, but perhaps that isn't a bad thing.</p> <h2>6. Take an Online Quiz</h2> <p>I often get sucked into an online quiz &mdash; sometimes it's &quot;Roseanne&quot; trivia, sometimes it's the <a href="http://quiz.history.com/">Ultimate History Quiz</a> &mdash; but no matter the subject, I always come out learning something new. And you better believe I'm taking it to the bar with me next Wednesday.</p> <h2>7. Read a Science-Based Article Online</h2> <p>I'm specifically suggesting science-based articles here because there's a lot you can learn from science. Just recently I discovered that <a href="http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/us/2013/10/28/nr-new-gecko-frog-discovered-in-australia.cnn&amp;iref=allsearch&amp;video_referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cnn.com%2Fsearch%2F%3Fquery%3Dspecies%26x%3D0%26y%3D0%26primaryType%3Dmixed%26sortBy%3Drelevance%26intl%3Dfalse">three new species were found in Australia</a>, and that our oceans are home to <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/15/us/california-18-foot-oarfish/index.html?iref=allsearch">creatures more frightening than I ever imagined</a>. I'm not sure what I'll do with that new information yet, but it's certainly a better use of my brain space than discovering how Kanye and Kim plan to spend their holidays.</p> <h2>8. Read the Comments Section of an Article</h2> <p>It's best to tread lightly when diving into the seedy world of online comments, and also take what you learn with a grain of salt until you can independently verify it, but there's still value in reading what other people are sounding off about. More than once I've learned something I didn't know from amateur &quot;experts&quot; trying to one-up each other. Sometimes even a fool can have a moment of brilliance.</p> <h2>9. Watch Smarter TV</h2> <p>You probably won't learn much from reality TV &mdash; besides how to throw shade like a pro &mdash; but there's plenty of educational programming on the tube that can teach you a thing or two. The Discovery Channel and History are two great ways to learn something you never knew. My personal favorite is Shark Week, where I learn all about terrors of the deep while reminding myself why I stay out of the water. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-guide-to-frugal-reality-tv?ref=seealso">A Guide to Frugal Reality TV</a>)</p> <h2>10. Solve Brain Puzzles on Your Phone</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/learnnew-186726297-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>I have a game on my phone called <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/brain-tuner-x/id287360582?mt=8">Brain Tuner X</a> that requires me to answer a set of 20, 60, or 100 simple math problems in the fastest time I can. I'm always trying to beat my record score on my subway ride to work, and I swear that playing this game for even 10 minutes makes my mind sharper when it's time to start thinking creatively at the office.</p> <h2>11. Tap Into Social Networking</h2> <p>Social media &mdash; especially Facebook and Twitter &mdash; is full of information to make you smarter. I'm always clicking on interesting links and videos that my friends post to learn more about a particular topic. Granted, there's a lot of nonsense on social media, but I still think it's more beneficial to my state of mind than it is detrimental. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-ways-to-use-social-media-in-business?ref=seealso">How to Use Social Media in Business</a>)</p> <h2>12. Eat Brain-Boosting Foods</h2> <p>Food not only keeps your body running like a well-oiled machine, but it helps boost your brain as well. <a href="http://www.eatingwell.com/nutrition_health/healthy_aging/eat_for_a_sharper_mind_5_brain_boosting_foods">Fish, dark leafy greens, grains, and berries are all super foods</a> to help you maintain your mental sharpness. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-improve-your-memory-and-even-get-a-little-smarter?ref=seealso">How to Improve Memory and Get Smarter</a>)</p> <h2>13. Quit Something Unhealthy</h2> <p>Stop smoking today, and you're smarter in an instant. That goes for any other unhealthy habits, too. Take your pick.</p> <h2>14. Take a Nap to Recharge</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/learnnew-147265946-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p><a href="http://content.usatoday.com/communities/sciencefair/post/2010/02/dont-knock-naps-they-make-you-smarter/1#.UpUmjo2E6eA">Naps make you smarter</a>, boost your ability to learn, and essentially let your brain make room for new information. So when you're feeling frustrated or encounter a creative block, take a nap; you'll get farther faster with a little shut-eye.</p> <h2>15. Browse Wikipedia</h2> <p>I learn a lot during the day, but I learn even more as I lie in bed Wikipedia-ing everything that comes to mind before I head off to Dreamland. I'm sure you know the routine. You start thinking about one topic you want to learn more about &mdash; probably from something you heard on the TV &mdash; and before you know it, you're 12 articles deep and onto a subject that you've never even contemplated. The more you know, right?</p> <h2>16. Rummage Through Family Relics</h2> <p>Most of us have time capsules hidden in our basements and our attics &mdash; relics of our family's past &mdash; that hold a wealth of information about what life was like way back when. Take a day to poke around these hidden treasures and immerse yourself in a time when life was a little slower and, arguably, better.</p> <h2>17. Browse an Antique Store</h2> <p>Another one of my favorite pastimes is browsing antique stores, where everything inside has a story. I never know what I'll find that day, but I'm absolutely certain I'll learn something great about America and its past by walking through aisles and aisles of nostalgia.</p> <h2>18. Have a Conversation With Someone Old</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/learnnew-80403962-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>You don't get to a ripe old age by being stupid. Sit down and talk to someone who has a few years on you to learn about life and how to live it better. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-practically-free-ways-to-make-new-friends?ref=seealso">Fun, Free Ways to Make New Friends</a>)</p> <h2>19. Have a Conversation With Someone Young</h2> <p>Young people don't yet have it all figured out &mdash; even though they think they do &mdash; but there's still value in tapping into the mind of a younger person. They tend to be quicker, savvier, and more open to new ideas than older folks, which is why it's wise every now and then to chat up the active learner in your life.</p> <h2>20. Ask for Help From a Professional</h2> <p>Professionals don't have a very expensive degree in a specialized field for nothin'. Help them put it to work by asking a professional for help when you need it. Whether it's advice on parenting, home improvement projects, or something simpler &mdash; like how to make the perfect holiday turkey &mdash; you're better off asking a professional than attacking your problem blindly. It also may help you save some money from having to fix a mistake you didn't have to make.</p> <h2>21. Participate in Something You've Never Done Before</h2> <p>How would any of us learn anything &mdash; at all &mdash; if we didn't try something new? If you want to become smarter today, get out of your comfort zone and try something completely different. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-step-out-of-your-comfort-zone-and-try-something-new?ref=seealso">How to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone</a>)</p> <h2>22. Use an Old Tool</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/learnnew-173572522-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>Two simple words come to mind when I think about using an old tool that technology has replaced &mdash; map and compass. I don't know how to read either one comprehensively because I have devices to do that for me, but they're probably great skills to have just in case this whole future thing doesn't work out like many of us think it will.</p> <h2>23. Start Learning a New Language</h2> <p>Learning a new language literally opens up a whole new world of experiences to you. I started learning Spanish when I was 11 years old, and I've never stopped. Because of my language skills, I've been able to travel to amazing places and enjoy my time there because I knew how to speak to the locals. If there's one thing on this list that you should do to become smarter today, this is it. It will literally change your life if you stick to it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-learn-a-language?ref=seealso">5 Ways to Learn a New Language</a>)</p> <h2>24. Visit an Ethnic Restaurant</h2> <p>As you're learning your new language, enhance the experience by visiting a restaurant connected to the language to get a taste for that culture's food and perhaps its people. You'll also be able to use your newfound language skills when order your meal and perhaps pick up a few new words from the menu that you haven't yet learned from Rosetta Stone. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-dining-out?ref=seealso">Best Credit Cards for Dining Out</a>)</p> <h2>25. Pop Into a Cultural Event</h2> <p>An art installation, a jazz session, a ballet performance &mdash; no matter what the cultural event, you'll learn something new&hellip; even if you're well versed in the subject at hand. Don't forget, too, that you'll be attending that event with lots of other learners, most of whom will be eager to strike up a conversation to make the most of the experience.</p> <p><em>Do you have other ideas on how you can make yourself smarter today? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F25-ways-to-make-yourself-smarter-today&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F25%2520Ways%2520to%2520Make%2520Yourself%2520Smarter%2520%25E2%2580%2594%2520Today%2521.jpg&amp;description=25%20Ways%20to%20Make%20Yourself%20Smarter%20%E2%80%94%20Today!"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><em><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/25%20Ways%20to%20Make%20Yourself%20Smarter%20%E2%80%94%20Today%21.jpg" alt="25 Ways to Make Yourself Smarter &mdash; Today!" width="250" height="374" /></em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-make-yourself-smarter-today">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-fun-games-that-make-you-smarter-too">11 Fun Games That Make You Smarter, Too</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-unexpected-benefits-of-volunteering">9 Unexpected Benefits of Volunteering</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mind-over-math-believing-it-makes-it-so">Mind Over Math - Believing It Makes It So</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-get-a-legit-business-education-online">3 Ways to Get a Legit Business Education Online</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-didn-t-learn-in-college-but-you-should-have">10 Things You Didn’t Learn in College (but You Should Have)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development education intelligence trivia Wed, 11 Dec 2013 10:31:23 +0000 Mikey Rox 1099941 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Improve Your Memory (and Even Get a Little Smarter) http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-improve-your-memory-and-even-get-a-little-smarter <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-improve-your-memory-and-even-get-a-little-smarter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/crosswords.jpg" alt="People doing crosswords" title="People doing crosswords" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My mother forgets things.</p> <p>Not everything of course, but a lot. She can still recall the names of her friends from high school for example, and she remembers every embarrassing thing we did as kids... but ask her what we talked about five minutes ago, and you're out of luck.</p> <p>What's really crazy is that I can't tell you when it happened. In fact, from my perspective, it was almost overnight. It's as if her brilliant mind blew a fuse &mdash; one minute she was fine and then &mdash; POP &mdash; the next minute she wasn't.</p> <p>And now my mother forgets things.</p> <p>But we're not beaten yet.</p> <p>From mental exercises to food, I've been doing a lot of research into what helps people improve their memories, boost their brain power, and even stave off dementia. So whether you just want to get better at remembering names or want to keep your brain healthy for years to come, follow these suggestions. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tips-for-remembering-names">5 Tips for Remembering&nbsp;Names</a>)</p> <h2>Diet</h2> <p>The idea of eating for your intellectual health is nothing new, but this new development with my mom caused me to take a second, harder look at which foods do what.</p> <p>The brain, it turns out, is made up of fatty tissue, so it requires quite a bit of fatty acids to function properly...but not just any fats will do. The popular Omega-3s are a good start, boosting your brain power as well as your immune system (while providing a whole host of other health benefits), so eat plenty of fatty fish (such as salmon, tuna, and shrimp), nuts (walnuts and almonds are wonderful), and leafy greens.</p> <p>Supplements are good too &mdash; certainly better than nothing &mdash; but experts still agree that adjusting your diet is the best way to get the nutrients your body needs.</p> <p>And speaking of leafy greens, the darker ones, such as spinach and chard, do a great job of controlling your homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is a non-protein amino acid that in normal levels apparently causes no harm. But elevated levels have been associated with Alzheimer's Disease as well as cardiovascular disease and a few other serious health concerns. To control your homocysteine levels, you should eat plenty of the dark, leafy greens and take both folic acid and B-vitamin supplements. Incidentally, whole grains are a great source of B-vitamins and give you a healthy dose of magnesium too &mdash; an essential mineral that is crucial to living cells. Magnesium deficiencies have been linked to a wide variety of diseases and disorders, including cardiovascular disease, asthma, diabetes, and yes, dementia.</p> <p>Antioxidants also play a big part in your mental health, so think blueberries, garlic, olive oil, pomegranates, and those popular acai berries everyone is talking about. In general, the darker the fruit, the more potent the antioxidant properties, so eat from this food group as often as you like.</p> <p>Cocoa power also contains a powerful antioxidant...more powerful than green tea even, so try sprinkling some on top of your coffee or mixing with your milk.</p> <p>And since we're talking about coffee, having a few cups of java in the morning has actually been shown to be an effective deterrent against dementia and other cognitive diseases. And it's not just the caffeine &mdash; coffee apparently has some mystery compound in it, according to Science Daily Magazine, that interacts with the caffeine to protect against Alzheimer's. How much is enough? Studies show that moderate amounts &mdash; 4 to 5 cups a day &mdash; is sufficient to provide the health benefit.</p> <p>And last but not least, that daily glass of red wine really does have its perks. In addition to helping ward off heart disease, red wine also contains some very powerful flavanoids that boost blood flow to the brain. Don't like red wine? Opt for grape juice instead.</p> <h2>Exercise</h2> <p>Getting as little as 20 minutes of physical activity each day can help ward off Alzheimer's and other cognitive diseases. Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to the brain cells and also increases your levels of BDNF, a chemical that encourages growth and survival of new neurons.</p> <p>Exercise also improves the quality of your sleep, another must for those delicate neurons.</p> <h2>Stimulation</h2> <p>We've all heard the suggestions that exercising your brain is the easiest way to improve your mental power...and that little tidbit is actually true. But to get the most benefit, you need to engage in mental exercises that require your brain to work.</p> <p>Learning a new language or a new musical instrument, for example, forces your brain to create new pathways and form new neurons. The result is improved mental capacity. Crossword puzzles and other brain games work equally well, but here's the catch...once you've mastered the task, it's no longer challenging, and your brain doesn't have to form those all-important neurons to keep up.</p> <p>The key, then, is to keep your brain working by challenging yourself with new puzzles, activities, and areas of learning. The more you broaden your horizons, the better off your brain will be.</p> <p>And in case you're wondering, yes &mdash; video games are beneficial too. In addition to increasing hand-eye coordination, those who play video games at least three to four hours a week have better depth perception, pattern recognition, and overall mental dexterity. You'll also find that you process information a little faster too.</p> <h2>Memory Hacks</h2> <p>Whether you're stepping out to the store or trying to remember the name of the person you just met, these quick tricks can help you remember information faster and easier.</p> <p><strong>Use Visual Cues</strong></p> <p>Linking an image to something you need to remember is an easy way to trigger that memory later when you need it. For example, my mother's license plate used to begin with PBJ. I love <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-update-peanut-butter-and-jelly">peanut butter and jelly sandwiches</a>, so I used that image to remember the number on her plates. And clearly it worked... that was some 15 years ago and I can still pull it up with no problem.</p> <p><strong>Use Acronyms</strong></p> <p>When I need a few things from the store, I try creating a word using the first letter of those items. For example, if I need milk, eggs, and tea, I might use the word &quot;MET&quot; to help me recall which items I need to buy. Obviously, sometimes the letters won't cooperate and try as you might, you just can't form an actual word. In those cases, improvise. I once remembered brisket, bread, cilantro, celery, and soda by memorizing BBCCS &mdash; as in BB's and CC's. The letters didn't have much meaning for me, but it was enough to help me remember what to buy.</p> <p><strong>Use Lists</strong></p> <p>Trying to remember three or four items at the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-grocery-shop-for-five-on-100-a-week">grocery store</a> is one thing...it's quite another when that list grows to 10 or 15. There's nothing wrong with making a list, and in fact, making those lists takes the pressure off of you to remember every little to-do or to-buy that might cross your path. Given the amount of information we process on a daily basis, that's probably a good thing.</p> <p><strong>Say It Out Loud</strong></p> <p>When meeting someone for the first time, say their name out loud as soon as you learn it. This helps reinforce the face (image) with the name (detail) for future recall. Incidentally, this little trick works equally well with non-human recall too, so feel free to employ this tactic anytime you need to remember a set of details or specifications.</p> <p><strong>Write It Down</strong></p> <p>If you read a chapter in a book, you can probably recite the overall gist of the content, but when you write it down, you'll find that your recall is much more detailed. This trick comes in quite handy when you're studying for a test, memorizing a speech, or just need to remember something important.</p> <p>Obviously, there's no guarantee that you won't still forget things from time to time, and as of this writing, there's still no fool-proof cure for degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's. But we're getting there. And in the meantime, just think of how healthy and happy you'll be when you implement these new habits.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-improve-your-memory-and-even-get-a-little-smarter&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Improve%2520Your%2520Memory%2520%2528and%2520Even%2520Get%2520a%2520Little%2520Smarter%2529.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Improve%20Your%20Memory%20(and%20Even%20Get%20a%20Little%20Smarter)"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Improve%20Your%20Memory%20%28and%20Even%20Get%20a%20Little%20Smarter%29.jpg" alt="How to Improve Your Memory (and Even Get a Little Smarter)" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kate-luther">Kate Luther</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-improve-your-memory-and-even-get-a-little-smarter">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-easy-ways-to-improve-your-brain">13 Easy Ways to Improve Your Brain</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-do-things-youre-bad-at">Why You Should Do Things You&#039;re Bad At</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-powerful-brain-hacks-you-can-do-in-under-2-minutes">8 Powerful Brain Hacks You Can Do in Under 2 Minutes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-fun-activities-to-stimulate-your-brain">5 Fun Activities to Stimulate Your Brain</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-make-yourself-smarter-today">25 Ways to Make Yourself Smarter — Today!</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development alzheimer's brain hacks improve memory intelligence Fri, 13 Jan 2012 11:24:13 +0000 Kate Luther 855144 at http://www.wisebread.com A Simple Remedy for the Economic Blues http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-remedy-for-the-economic-blues <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/a-simple-remedy-for-the-economic-blues" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/Depressed Bear.jpg" alt="" title="Depressed Bear" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In the wake of the frenetic holiday season coupled with all the anxiety over these uncertain economic times, it&rsquo;s little wonder that many of us are feeling a little down. In fact, when you add in the cold weather and the short winter days, it&rsquo;s a veritable perfect storm of discontent that is hitting many of us at a time when we can least afford to be anywhere but at the top of our game.</p> <p>So in an effort to battle the economic and seasonal blues, I&rsquo;d like to suggest a way that has been shown to not only lift your spirits, but might even make you smarter, more productive at your job, and may very well go a long way to help you to live a longer, more fruitful life.</p> <p>Simply put: get some exercise.</p> <p>Sure, we&rsquo;ve all know well enough that exercise is good for our bodies, and that a lack of exercise has been implicated in a whole host of ailments, including diabetes, heart disease, cancer and obesity. But now there is a growing body of evidence that seems to indicate that what benefits the body also benefits the mind, not only in terms of our <a href="http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17662246/site/newsweek/print/1/displaymode/1098/">intelligence</a>, but for our emotions and our <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1095783/People-exercise-work-days-happier-suffer-stress-productive.html">productivity</a>, as well.</p> <p>Truth be told, people have known about the mind body connection since antiquity, with the Greeks promoting the importance of exercise almost as much as learning. Even you and I, in the deep recesses of our minds, have experience firsthand how refreshed and clear our minds feel after a good period of exertion.</p> <p>Somehow, even in lieu of all that we know, we still have trouble getting some exercise. In certain instances, it&rsquo;s gotten so bad that we can&rsquo;t even get our of our car seats to buy cigarettes or donuts.</p> <p>Maybe with the new year, it&rsquo;s time to do change all that. The impetus lies with you, however, although it need not require a lot in terms of effort, time or money, and when you really get down to it, you can&rsquo;t beat that.</p> <p>1. Whenever possible, walk to where you&rsquo;re going, or ride your bike. I know, it&rsquo;s a no-brainer, but I grew up in a city (Los Angeles) where it was amazing what lengths people went to in order to avoid walking, even a quarter of a mile.</p> <p>2. Keep it simple. The biggest deterrent to making the first step is getting too ambitious, and then nothing gets done. Make it as simple as putting on something comfortable and getting out the front door.</p> <p>3. Eat healthy. The two go hand in hand, but also reinforce one another. Eating too much garbage will only motivate you to eat more garbage (Funny how that works). A healthy diet, on the other hand, will make it that much easier to get up and go.</p> <p>4. Avoid drive-throughs. You usually find them at fast food joints, and even though the amount of exercise you might get is negligible, it might discourage you from even going entering in the first place.</p> <p>5. Get an iPod. It doesn&rsquo;t have to be an iPod, just something that personalizes your routine and makes it more enjoyable. Besides, it could motivate you if you feel guilty having made the investment.</p> <p>6. Take the stairs. I know, another obvious one, but so hard to employ.</p> <p>7. Choose to be active. When you have free time, get out and try to break a sweat rather than sitting around the house. Sure, we&rsquo;re all tired people, but sitting around all day on the couch will only makes us more so</p> <p>8. Form a group. There is strength in numbers, not only in motivating you, but in sharing your goals or at the very least, clarifying them. And let&rsquo;s face it, camaraderie is fun.</p> <p>9. Join your kids. If you&rsquo;re a parent, join your children when they go outside. Not only is it a chance to spend some quality time with them, but as every parent knows, parenthood is the ultimate endurance sport.</p> <p>10. Create a schedule. Organization can be an amazing means to an end, especially for disorganized people like myself.</p> <p>11. Turn off the TV. Nothing saps your energy or motivation more than television. It&rsquo;s just too darn easy, and once it&rsquo;s on, it&rsquo;s like a vacuum that sucks you in, making not only your body soft, but your mind, as well (for all you TV advocates, this is true even when you watch the Discovery Channel). I&rsquo;ve generally found that most people who take that fateful plunge and stop watching TV don&rsquo;t regret it.</p> <p>In the end, getting more exercise will pay off in so many ways, but it is hard to appreciate this concept when you&rsquo;re not actually doing it.</p> <p>So just do it. Once you find a groove, you&rsquo;ll want to do it more, but you just have to take that first step. Otherwise, nothing will change. Plus, when your confidence and self esteem get a boost, the benefits will cross over into all areas of your life, including your love life.</p> <p>Whatever you do, dedicate yourself to getting more exercise as if your life depends on it, because the truth of the matter is, it does.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fred-lee">Fred Lee</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-remedy-for-the-economic-blues">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-keep-anxiety-from-ruining-your-budget">5 Ways to Keep Anxiety From Ruining Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-resistance-bands">The 5 Best Resistance Bands</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-age-well-for-0">10 Ways to Age Well for $0</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-get-fit-while-hanging-out-with-animals">8 Ways to Get Fit While Hanging Out With Animals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-7-exercises-are-scientifically-proven-to-increase-happiness">These 7 Exercises Are Scientifically Proven to Increase Happiness</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty Lifestyle depression exercise intelligence productivity Fri, 09 Jan 2009 11:07:39 +0000 Fred Lee 2726 at http://www.wisebread.com Mind Over Math - Believing It Makes It So http://www.wisebread.com/mind-over-math-believing-it-makes-it-so <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/mind-over-math-believing-it-makes-it-so" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000073710369_Large.jpg" alt="young students school" title="young students school" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are many, many web sites that are devoted to helping you find actvities for your kids that boost their brain power. Turns out that there is another great way to help your kids improve their grades and keep their brains active and growing &mdash; it's simply matter of mind over matter.</p> <p>From <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7406521">NPR.org</a>:</p> <p class="blockquote">A new study in the scientific journal <em>Child Development</em> shows that if you teach students that their intelligence can grow and increase, they do better in school.... &quot;Some students start thinking of their intelligence as something fixed, as carved in stone,&quot; Dweck says. &quot;They worry about, 'Do I have enough? Don't I have enough?'&quot; Dweck calls this a &quot;fixed mindset&quot; of intelligence. &quot;Other children think intelligence is something you can develop your whole life,&quot; she says. &quot;You can learn. You can stretch. You can keep mastering new things.&quot;</p> <p>A scientific study tracked 7th grade students whose math grades were suffering. One group of students was provided with a mini-neuroscience class, and taught that intelligence is not a fixed thing, but rather something that can grow and develop over time. The other group were simply given lessons on how to &quot;study well.&quot;</p> <p>The students who believed that &quot;the brain actually forms new connections every time you learn something new, and that over time, this makes you smarter&quot; showed a marked improvement in their math skills.</p> <p class="blockquote">&quot;If you think about a child who's coping with an especially challenging task, I don't think there's anything better in the world than that child hearing from a parent or from a teacher the words, 'You'll get there.' And that, I think, is the spirit of what this is about.&quot;</p> <p>To think, all these parents spending hundreds of dollars on Baby Einstein videos to show to tiny toddlers, and all they had to do was repeat &quot;You'll get smarter, little buddy. You'll get smarter every day.&quot;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mind-over-math-believing-it-makes-it-so">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-go-to-college-to-learn">Don&#039;t Go to College to Learn</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-time-management-skills-that-will-help-your-kid-win-at-school">10 Time-Management Skills That Will Help Your Kid Win at School</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-lessons-kids-can-learn-from-the-tooth-fairy">7 Money Lessons Kids Can Learn From the Tooth Fairy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-late-starters-can-save-for-their-kids-education">Here&#039;s How Late Starters Can Save for Their Kids&#039; Education</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-sell-your-house-despite-your-messy-kids">How to Sell Your House Despite Your Messy Kids</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Baby Einstein children education grades intelligence kids learning math neuroscience school science smart Thu, 15 Feb 2007 22:53:58 +0000 Andrea Karim 279 at http://www.wisebread.com