The first is hanging out with smart people. Intelligence can indeed rub off on you. People absorb ideas and knowledge from their surroundings. The people you often talk to will affect your mindset and vocabulary.
The second is getting better at listening. Most people only remember one out of every four things they listen to.
You can improve your listening skills by refraining from making noise for several minutes a day and focusing on picking out specific sounds. During conversations, acknowledge the person you're talking to and never be afraid to ask questions if you honestly didn't understand the matter.
The third is an expansion of the previous part. Never stop asking questions about who that person is, how the process works, why it happens, and so on and so forth. The more curious you are about things, the more you will learn and grow.
The fourth is to buck the trend and think differently. Be creative and use your imagination. Don't take everyone's word on something; see for yourself if you can improve on it. (Related: Chemotherapy found to stop new brain cells from growing, worsening depression in brain cancer patients.)
The fifth is to do mental exercises. You need to push your brain to work harder if you want it to grow. The harder you use your brain, the more it improves because you're using parts of it that you normally don't use.
One good exercise is to come up with random words while brushing your teeth or performing a similar activity. Find a connection between those nominally unrelated words.
For example, "seashells" and "moon" are not directly related. But seashells can be found on the beach, which experiences tides due to the gravity of the moon.
The sixth is to use your non-dominant hand to perform everyday actions. If you're right-handed, use your left hand and vice versa. Start with something easy, like brushing your teeth, and progress to more complicated things like playing sports with your non-dominant hand.
The seventh is to eat healthy food with brain-boosting nutrients. Avocado and fresh wild salmon have healthy omega-3 fatty acids; broccoli and spinach are just two of the many nutritious leafy vegetables that are good for your brain. Berries and fruits are full of nutrients and antioxidants and clean water is also a must.
The eighth is to widen your vocabulary. Find new words, look up what they mean, and use them in conversations or writing. Avoid filler words like "um" and "uh" that you insert between thoughts.
The ninth is to exercise the rest of your body. Physical exercise increases brain activity through various means, such as releasing chemicals in the brain that improve energy, digestion, mood, and sleep. Break a sweat every day.
The tenth is meditation. Bringing order to your rambling thoughts will rest and refresh your mind.
For newbies, sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and make sure your spine is straight. Concentrate on your breathing. If a stray thought comes to mind, acknowledge its presence before letting it go in order to return to your breathing exercise.
The eleventh is to read a lot. Spend at least 45 minutes per day reading a book. Finish that book by the end of a week before starting on a new one.
Above all, increasing your intelligence requires commitment. Add as many of these mentally stimulating practices as you can to your daily routine.
Learn more natural methods for improving your cognitive skills at Mind.news.