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August 23, 2012

How often do you stop and think about your brain? Do you ever stop in awe at how incredibly smart that piece of muscle is? Or, at least check in and give it a little spring clean and a re-furb from time to time?

If you’re like most people, then the answer is no.

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Research has shown that the capacity of the average person’s brain vastly outweighs what they use it for. And yet, it never occurs to us to invest in a little training every now and then!

For 400 years, scientists believed that we were stuck with the brain we were born with. Luckily for us, that theory has gone out the window along with other equally ridiculous theories like the earth being flat.

Neuroplasticity is an amazing new theory that has proven one very incredible fact: Our brains can change.

This means that if you’re not very intelligent in one area – that’s okay! You have the option to literally change that area of your brain through a little training.

An easy way to think about it is: Your brain is a muscle – you need to exercise it regularly!

The exciting thing is, you don’t have to be a millionaire to increase your brain capacity. All you need to do is invest a little time every now and then.

So, what can you do?

Here’s eight ways you can feed your brain and increase your intelligence.

1. Be curious

Instead of taking everything at face value, get into the habit of questioning everything. This could even be products, services and processes that you come into contact with on a day-to-day basis – such as the way the car wash machine works or the way a new building is being demolished down the street. Think of how you would or could improve upon everyday things. By being curious and questioning everything, you force your brain to innovate and create new ideas.

2. Exercise regularly

It’s been proven that exercise helps to increase brain function and enhances neurogenesis. This means that every time you exercise you are creating new brain cells! Get off the couch, and get moving! Your brain will thank you for it.

3. Do something new 

When you experience something “new,” you stimulate your brain. Don’t get stuck in a rut doing the same old things; the only way to change the structure of your brain is to try new things. This creates new neural pathways, increasing your intelligence. You could take a new route to work, try a new recipe for dinner, or even a new form of exercise – mix it up!

4. Train your memory

Discipline yourself to memorize phone numbers and other important numbers (passport, credit card, insurance, driving license, etc.). Your memory is also a muscle that needs training, and modern technology has made us lazy! Don’t reach for the iphone; use the calculator in your head instead!

5. Think positive

Stress and anxiety kill existing brain neurons and also stop new neurons from being created. Research has shown that positive thinking, especially in the future tense, speeds up the creation of cells and dramatically reduces stress and anxiety. Try and take control of negative thoughts, and make an effort to replace them with positive ones.

6. Eat healthy

Our diets have a HUGE impact on brain function. Our brains consume over 20 percent of all nutrients and oxygen that we consume. So, remember to feed your brain with the good stuff! (Think fresh fruits and veggies and plenty of omega 3s found in oily fish.)

7. Read a book

Reading relieves tension and stress (brain-cell killers), because it’s a form of escapism. Research has also shown that using your imagination is a great way to train your brain, because you force your mind to picture what you are imagining. Reading is a great way to trigger your imagination and fuel your creative genius.

8 Get enough sleep

Sleep is like a mini detox for the brain. This is when your body regenerates cells and removes all the toxins that have built up during the day. Get to bed between the hours of 9 pm and midnight to benefit from the most effective hours of sleep!

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