More and more studies are showing that IQ is not a set number randomly assigned to you at birth. Your capacity to learn new information is fluid, ever changing, and entirely flexible; especially so, as documented in a recent Scientific American article, when using a “dual n-back task” that targets working memory. As Andrea Kuszewski, behavior therapist and consultant for children on the autism spectrum, explains:
[A duel n-back task] requires you to focus on specific details while ignoring irrelevant information, which helps to improve your working memory over time, gradually increasing your ability to multi-task the information effectively.
There are five lifestyle changes that she recommends in order to increase brain training every day, and often conveniently, during your normal routines. Overall, it’s about putting yourself outside of your comfort zone or into problem-solving situations, both areas that smartphones or the ever at-hand Google have significantly reduced.
Here are a few favorites:
Seek Novelty: Always look to new activities to engage your mind—expand your cognitive horizons. Learn an instrument. Take an art class. Go to a museum. Read about a new area of science. Be a knowledge junkie.
Do Things the Hard Way: There are times when using technology is warranted and necessary. But there are times when it’s better to say no to shortcuts and use your brain, as long as you can afford the luxury of time and energy. Walking to work every so often or taking the stairs instead of the elevator a few times a week is recommended to stay in good physical shape. Don’t you want your brain to be fit as well? Lay off the GPS once in a while, and do your spatial and problem-solving skills a favor. Keep it handy, but try navigating naked first.
This article was originally published on 99u.com.
Sasha VanHoven is the assistant editor of 99u.com.