How to be smarter: 39 Habits proven by science

Have you ever wondered how to be smarter, have you felt that the people around you know more than you, or do you want to improve your mental capacity?

While it is impossible to know absolutely everything and to master in-depth all the subjects; certain habits, behaviors, decisions, and attitudes can help you be smarter.

How to be smarter?

The first thing is to understand that intelligence is something flexible, so you can acquire certain habits and behaviors that will allow you to encourage it, just like intelligent people did.

However, you need to develop three mental variables so that when learning how to be smarter, this is much easier.

Each of them will be indispensable for your objective.

  1. The first thing you need is to train your mental process.
  2. Have many sources of information and references.
  3. And focus on a problem, area of ​​interest or field of work.

We all know how intelligent Thomas Edison was and how his inventions took humanity to the next level. Analyzing your idea of ​​the light bulb under these variables, we find the following:

  1. Thomas Edison with hundreds of attempts was trained to think logically.
  2. He was an expert in electrical engineering
  3. And finally he focused on solving a problem.

What this demonstrates is that, before the question of how to be smarter, you will find the answer in the habits you practice every day. So to start, here are 17 things you can do every day to be smarter.

How to be smarter through your daily habits:

1. Drink two glasses of water within 30 minutes after waking up

Because you have been sleeping for hours, your body has not hydrated in the right way for a long period of time. It has been established that water is necessary to filter the “garbage” in your body and have a balance.

So two large glasses of water will balance again the amount of water your body needed during the night.

According to two studies ( 1 and 2 ) conducted in children, it was shown that drinking water increases the ability to complete mental tasks.

So make sure your brain is not dehydrated when you wake up, without a doubt, this will help you in your process of how to be smarter.

2. Read the summary of a book during breakfast

Reading books is great, but at breakfast, with the little time you have, something shorter is preferable.

Instead of reading news articles that help you little in your search for how to be smarter, you better read summaries of successful books.

3. Listen to podcasts or audiobooks when on the move

So be only 10 minutes on your bike, public transport or your car, keep on your cell phone some audio that stimulates your learning. This is one of the keys to reading more books in a year. Here are interesting sources:

  • TED talks (You can download these audios in such a way that they do not consume internet data).
  • Spanish audiobooks recommended for entrepreneurs
  • Podcast of your favorite authors.

If you think about it, one of the easiest ways to train your brain and be smarter is to change your music for podcasts or audiobooks. These are an inexhaustible source of knowledge that you have at the distance of a click.

Many times you don’t have time to sit down and read a book; Between your work, mobilize and work on other personal projects, you may not have much time left.

This is what audiobooks are for, to use that “downtime” when you mobilize and listen to the advice, strategies and views of great characters in the story, which certainly helps in your search for how to be smarter .

Also, thanks to Amazon’s Audible program with more than 180,000 titles you will surely find some that you like.

Best of all, you have a 30-day trial, so try it, see how you like it.

This program is that for a monthly payment you have access to the Amazon audiobook library, which has a wide variety of content, formats, themes, and languages.

Here are some of the best audiobooks you’ll find in this program to help you in your search for how to be smarter.

  • The secrets of the millionaire mind
  • Think and become rich
  • Nimbly
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People
  • Think like a genius

4. Drink green tea while working

While caffeine makes people anxious, green tea contains L-theanine. This amino acid generates an increase in brain “alpha” waves.

In simple words, while coffee can induce anxiety, quality green tea induces a state of calm focus without producing sleep.

This is why L-theanine is sold as a supplement that helps relaxation and better cardiovascular functioning.

5. Take naps during the day

Napping allows your brain to be cool. It has even been shown that naps during the day increase the speed of learning and therefore contribute to how to be smarter.

Your mind has a rhythm that determines when you are falling asleep and when you need to sleep.

The average person feels more sleepy between noon and 4 in the afternoon. So this is an exceptional time to take a nap, which will make you more productive and perform at a higher level during the day.

6. Do not drink sugar during the day

Ideally, you would completely forget about sugar. But, in the case of not being able (for any reason), make sure you don’t consume it at times when you need to be more focused.

High levels of sugar, followed by low levels, are not recommended for your mind to function intelligently.

You can try to change foods high in sugar to fatty acids, such as fish and eggs.

7. Use your social networks only a couple of times a day

The brain adapts to the type of information you throw at it. If you are constantly bombarding it with information that does not stimulate it and varies rapidly, such as social networks, your attention will be seriously affected.

How to be smarter?  Keep your brain stimulated with relevant and valuable information.

If you need to postpone or entertain yourself for a few minutes, set a timer and don’t lose your mind by scrolling down with the latest posts from your friends.

8. Prefer video games over television series or movies

Watching television is a passive activity unless you use Netflix to watch documentaries that form you in some way. This means that your brain is consuming information but not interacting with it.

Replace this activity with video games. A study conducted in 2014 showed that a simple game like Super Mario has a visible impact on the flexibility of your brain, and consequently in your search for how to be smarter.

9. Read a book instead of watching TV

Like playing a video game instead of watching a movie, reading a book is training for your brain.

While the consumption of audiovisual entertainment is a passive activity, reading a book requires you to build mental images of what you are reading.

How to be smarter thanks to reading?

The benefits of reading are the same, regardless of whether you are reading Game of Thrones, The Black Book of the Entrepreneur or The Complete Investment Guide of the Wall Street Journal. No matter what you read, this habit will make you smarter.

Reading reduces stress, something that makes you feel better about yourself and increases all three types of intelligence – crystallized, fluid and emotional.

This helps you solve problems, connecting different pieces of knowledge to have a better day, detecting patterns, understanding processes and correctly interpreting the feelings of other people.

In your work, this translates into a better understanding of how things happen and improve your managerial skills.

10. Learn some programming:

Programming is an excellent way to learn to think with logic and patterns.

Previously this ability was difficult to learn, but with platforms like CodeAcademy that teach you for free, or Udemy that has free and paid classes, the programming has become accessible to everyone.

You can consider this skill as the next level of the puzzles; also if you decide to learn, this increases your chances of acquiring a job.

11. Watch the TED talks while cooking:

While preparing your meal you have an interesting space to learn how to be smarter. Use this time to watch a talk that interests you in TED, many topics may interest you and that you can apply in your life.

With a single talk you see, you are transforming a downtime into a time of creativity and value for your life. It’s the same as watching the news but listening to the most intelligent and interesting people on this planet.

12. Do some simple exercises during the day:

The body and mind are strongly related. Having a good physical condition, and developing healthy habits , helps you make your mind work better, and therefore your search for how to be smarter will be facilitated.

Although this does not mean that you have to go to the gym every day to benefit from this (you should). Doing some push-ups and abs during the day, walking and climbing the stairs of your building or work can have a positive impact.

Try to get some exercise every hour of your day, even if you just get up and walk a little, stretch or strain your muscles as much as you can for 10 seconds.

Keep in mind that doing it occasionally does not work, occasionally the exercise will not make you smarter . When you exercise regularly it is much more effective than doing it from time to time.

This is because constant exercise makes your cells fill with a protein called BDNF, which helps you with memory, concentration, and understanding. What is also known as mental acuity.

Some scientists speculate that sitting for a long period of time has the opposite effect, affecting the functioning of your brain and your mental dexterity.

13. Spend time with people who are smarter than you

Habits are socially contagious. Believe it or not, it is a scientific fact that obesity is transmitted through social networks ( here you can see more of this ).

The positive thoughts or negative, and habits of people with whom you spend most of your time will end up being part of you, so choose well who you spend your time.

Expose and interact with people who are smarter than you, so you will benefit.

14. Talk to people who disagree with you

Generate pleasant and friendly discussions with people who disagree with you on any subject. Discussing with them allows you to:

  • Perfect your arguments
  • Convince yourself that you are wrong

In both cases you will win; in the first case you will convince the other person from your perspective, and in the second, understand something that you previously did not know.

15. Go and walk in a park or nature

Walking in a park, or near nature has many benefits as to how to be smarter:

  • You will find more oxygen produced by plants.
  • The human mind calms down when it is close to plants.
  • Walking helps your blood circulation.

Walking for a while during your lunch hour can help you greatly at work. Great characters like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg understand the importance and benefits of walking. So take advantage of any time of the day to go for a walk.

16. Keep an agenda or where to take notes

Great minds like Leonardo Da Vinci always carried an agenda with them where they could take notes. They used it to write ideas, make prototypes or to point out questions that arose.

Having a small notebook where writing interesting things can help your mind in its mental process and be more creative.

17. Take 10 minutes of your day to plan tomorrow

If you plan tomorrow before you start, you will start your day with a plan. This simple activity will allow you to be much more productive.

Understanding how to be smarter means being clear that to be successful you not only need to work hard but in an intelligent way. To develop a morning routine that prepares you for a successful day.

How to be smarter through the way you think

When it comes to learning how to be smarter, you should keep in mind that this goes beyond your IQ.

And it is important to clarify it because, unfortunately, the education system has made us believe that if we are not good enough in math, science or Spanish, then we are not considered intelligent.

However, this is far from reality; To learn how to be smarter we must be creative, thoughtful, kind and can adapt in a constantly changing world.

In other words, it involves developing different types of intelligence.

MIT neuroscientist Ed Boyden suggests the following mental habits that can help you in your search for how to be smarter.

18.  Constantly synthesizes new ideas

According to this scientist, reading passively does not help much to learn. Rather, it suggests applying the model of writing down, modeling, thinking and synthesizing.

This will allow you to deepen the learning, reach much more creative solutions and have a much more receptive mind to different points of view.

19. Learn how to learn

In an era where technology is changing rapidly, having the ability to learn fast is extremely important.

As  Alvin Toffler put it, “the illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who do not know how to learn, unlearn and relearn”

How to be smarter does not depend so much on what you know but on your ability to acquire new knowledge.

20. Work in the opposite direction from your goal

Working forward can be risky because it can happen that you never arrive. Instead, work backward, being clear about your goal, your efforts will be directed towards the next step that continues.

21. Always have a long-term goal

The vast majority of people focus on immediate reward and short-term goals, however, the real power lies in establishing a plan for your future.

22. Have contingency maps

Having a visualization of how things connect can make a big difference. You can be clear about how time and effort are correlated with your success.

23. To learn how to be smarter collaborate with others

Behind every great person, there is a great team. Do not believe that great achievements are the product of individual results.

In general, these are the result of the effort of teams of people who complement, improve and have long-term processes.

24. Get rid of yourself quickly

You already know this: There is nothing wrong with making a mistake. The question is to commit them as quickly as possible and continue with your process. The faster you do it you can apply your lessons in your process of how to be smarter.

What does it take to achieve it? Do not be afraid to commit them first and see them as part of a process of continuous improvement.

25. Develop winning formulas

When you find something that is working, evaluate what scenarios, behaviors and tools contribute to this result.

What is the purpose of this? That the next time you face something similar, you will know exactly what you should do.

To learn how to be smarter you must identify winning scenarios and apply them in the future.

26. The key is to document everything

It is preferable to have a short pencil than a long memory. Remember that intelligence and the learning process largely consist of the way you see, and interpret, what you see.

To achieve this you will have to document, identify patterns and points of reference points that allow you to learn much faster.

27. How to be smarter? Keep things as simple as possible

Intelligence, unlike what many people think, is not about seeing complex things or using terms that few know. So if you wonder how to be smarter remember:

Intelligence is to make the complex something simple, something that you can use in your day to day and that serves a lot of people.

How to be smarter training your brain

It is not a secret that training your brain has great benefits for your health and personal development.

Not only will you avoid those awkward situations of not remembering those people who greet you.

You will also reduce the risk of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, in addition to being able to get that increase, a better job and interact better.

So what things can you do to train your brain and answer your question of how to be smarter?

28. Learn a new language

The most important thing about learning a new language is that you expose yourself to new thoughts, to different mental structures and the alternative to express yourself differently.

Search online courses in English, or in that language you’ve always wanted to learn, there are many free alternatives on the internet. Here are 4 alternatives for example:

  • Duolingo
  • Babbel
  • Memrise
  • Bussum

Learning a new language will train your brain, make you smarter and open many new doors and business opportunities in your life. Money is not an excuse for not doing so.

Other ways to practice it are watching movies, listening to music and meeting people who speak the language you want to learn. You can even configure the language of your phone so that you are exposed to what you want to learn every day.

Research has shown that bilingual people are better at solving puzzles compared to those who only speak one.

Learning a new language allows your brain to perform better in any activity that is demanding; This includes executive functions such as planning and problem-solving.

Additionally, speaking at least two languages ​​positively affects your ability to monitor your environment and to better focus on the processes.

29. Take free online courses

You all have the opportunity to learn something new. Well, Mahatma Gandhi says :

Live as if you were to die tomorrow, learn as if you were to live forever.

From courses to master your finances, to courses in gardening, excel, languages ​​or anything you can think of, you will find free alternatives on the internet to do so.

  • Coursera
  • edX
  • Udemy

30. Learn to build a Rubik’s cube :

A Rubik’s cube beyond being a hobby is a real mental challenge that requires you to learn algorithms, have a systematic thought and understand the function of each piece within this cube. In other words, it teaches you how to be smarter.

Cubes are an excellent alternative to entertain and disconnect from your work, surely you will be much smarter and train your brain.

31. Play challenges or games that demand your mind

Challenge yourself learning to play chess, but not as a beginner, but understand and apply your strategies and way of winning.

As we mentioned, like video games, they allow you to train your brain and be smarter, since they require concentration, immediate decision making and a global view of your screen.

An excellent alternative is Lumosity, a web application with brain training created by scientists and designers. Seventy million people in 182 countries test their brains with more than 25 games.

32. Learn to play an instrument

When you listen to music several parts of your brain are activated, but when you play an instrument, this becomes a total workout for your brain.

It has been shown that learning and playing an instrument has long-term effects on your intelligence.

If you want to learn more, in the TED talk  Anita Collins, she explains how musicians’ brains work when they play an instrument and the benefits this has on their mentality (choose the Spanish subtitles option).

33. Memorize the phone numbers of your friends

This is not about learning it to surprise your friends. It is the fact of consciously remembering a number, an event or an object.

Moreover, when you remember something and then discuss it with friends or family, it has been shown with brain studies, that this helps train your mind and this influences how to be intelligent.

This type of activity activates your brain’s operating levels – receiving, remembering and discussing information is a great way to train your brain.

34. Creating a blog can help you be smarter

Surely you are wondering what is the use of creating a blog when it comes to training your brain and being smarter.

It turns out that the process of creating a blog from scratch has huge challenges, lessons, and riddles that have a positive effect on your intelligence.

While you can learn how to earn money online, and even live from your digital business; A blog becomes a source of learning.

What you write, research and publish; the comments, criticisms, and suggestions you receive. Everything is a source of knowledge.

The fact of not living doing processes, but investigating and making decisions is an alternative to achieve your goal.

35. Eat well and eat dark chocolate

Some foods help your brain work better, such as fish, fruits and vegetables. And even if you don’t believe it, dark chocolate is pure energy for your brain.

Why dark chocolate? This makes your brain produce dopamine, which allows you to learn faster and remember more. Additionally, chocolate has antioxidants that improve the functioning of your brain.

Finally, learn how to be smarter and have fun at the same time.

It is possible to be smarter through your hobbies.

How to be smarter and have fun at the same time? For a long time it was thought that people were born with a certain level of intelligence, and that the best we could do was live according to our potential.

However, scientists have shown that we can increase our potential and enjoy it while we are doing it.

Today we know that by learning new skills, our brain is creating new natural paths that allow it to work much faster and better.

So to finish this list of habits proven by science to be smarter we leave you some hobbies that will make you smarter and its explanation.

36. Test your accumulated knowledge

Many students in college and university try too hard to “learn” and master the subjects, to win their final exams.

The problem with this is that we tend to forget what has been learned very quickly, since, rarely, if it ever happens, you are required to repeat this knowledge in the same way as the exam.

This is one of the reasons to learn a new language since it requires accumulated learning; which consists of repeating the words, grammar, and vocabulary, again and again, to improve your skills in the new language.

Apply the concept of accumulated learning for your day to day and in your workplace, do so keeping track of the new knowledge that you are acquiring.

Such as a lesson from a book you read, a recommendation you receive in a negotiation or interview, or a piece of advice they give you.

Implement this methodology in your lifestyle, and in a short time, this will make you smarter.

37. Exercise your brain

Sudokus, riddles, puzzles, video games, board games, card games, among others, increase your neuroplasticity, that is, the functioning of your neurons.

This implies a wide variety of changes in the sequence of your neurons and in the ability of your brain to reorganize itself.

When the nerves of your cells respond in a new way, this increases your neuroplasticity, which allows you to have new points of view and have a better understanding of emotions and behaviors.

Simply put, you recognize new patterns and your cognitive skills improve. That is, you are learning how to be smarter.

Even people with high neuroplasticity are less likely to feel anxiety and depression and learn and memorize much faster.

38.  Teach others

To teach others, you must know well what you teach. When you try to explain an idea to someone else, you will not only remember it better yourself.

You will also find that the other person’s questions will help you realize how much you know what you are talking about.

Volunteer to convey what you know. Knowledge is something that must be shared to form a better world. Many international volunteers may interest you.

Don’t keep your shine under a rock, share your abilities, your talents and your knowledge with other people so that they can also develop their capacity and self-confidence.

39. Learn to meditate

In 1992 the Dalai Lama invited scientist Richard Davidson to study his brain while he meditated, to see if he was capable of generating brain waves.

It turned out that when the Dalai Lama and other monks focused on meditating and concentrating on compassion, their brains generated waves that showed they were in a deep state of compassion.

The benefits of meditation become interesting for ambitious people, since the study indicated that you can control your brain waves, feeling what you want to feel when you want to feel it.

This means that you can feel more powerful before a negotiation, more confident when you are going to ask for a raise, and more determined when you decide to start your business .

So how to be smarter?

In conclusion, your brain is able to develop beyond your potential, and you can do it on purpose. Different activities stimulate different parts of your brain, something that will undoubtedly make you smarter.

You can focus on becoming invincible in your strengths and work to improve your weaknesses.

Who serves this list with 39 habits that will teach you how to be smarter?

Developing brain skills and being smarter is suitable for all people who want to reach a new ascent.

For those who feel that their career has been stagnant or for those who have made the decision to resign to build their own business path.

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