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5 Scientifically Proven Ways to Get Smarter

5 Scientifically Proven Ways To Get Smarter

1. Be Positive

PAINTER Vincent Van Gogh once reportedly said: “If you hear a voice within you say, ‘you cannot paint’, then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”

It’s another form of the possibly more famous and modern Henry Ford classic, “Whether you believe you can, or you can’t, you’re right.”

In Learning, Remembering, Believing: Enhancing Human Performance, published by the National Research Council, it’s stated that “the major influence in the acquisition of expert performance is the confidence and motivation to persist in deliberate practice for a minimum of 10 years”.

This suggests that objectively, the path to achievement is beset with challenges that require persistence over a significant period of time. The most major aspect in facing these challenges is self-belief.

You must passionately and positively believe in yourself and what you are doing. It is possible, then, that everything else on this list will flow from this key component of smart behaviour.

2. Change Your Diet

EAT yourself smart. We hear lots about brain food, but here’s the thing. It’s now underpinned by scientific evidence.

In 2015, a paper published in the Neurology journal identified links between healthy eating and reduction in the risk of cognitive decline.

Baseline dietary intake and measures of the Mini-Mental State Examination were recorded among 27,860 men and women internationally at high risk of cardiovascular disease. Diet was measured using the Alternative Healthy Eating Index.

During 56 months of follow-up researchers noted that the lowest risk of cognitive decline occurred among those in the healthiest dietary quintile of the Alternative Healthy Eating Index.

The conclusion is that improved diet quality represents an important potential target for reducing the global burden of cognitive decline.

While the area of diet research can be contradictory, it certainly will not damage you by eating greater quantities of fruits, green, leafy vegetables, and fish.

3. Get More Sleep

AS OUR working lives get busier, sleep has become ever more important… yet many entrepreneurs are champions of burning the midnight oil.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Neurology facilitates replenishment of neurons, enables the brain to exercise any neuronal connections that can deteriorate from lack of activity, and increases production and reduces breakdown of proteins, “the building blocks needed for cell growth and for repair of damage from factors like stress and ultraviolet rays”.

All expert advice points to the fact that consistently burning the midnight oil is not a good idea. According to NINDS, the optimum amount of sleep for adults is seven to eight hours a night, a period of time that enables the REM stage to be maximised.

Here is Arianna Huffington in a great TED talk, with less scientific, more practical, and utterly compelling reasons to ensure that we get the maximum number of ‘Z’s per night.

Ignore the formidable Ms Huffington’s advice at your peril! And if you’re still in doubt, study this list of sleep research conducted by the National Sleep Foundation since 2002.

4. Exercise Regularly

AMONG the greatest benefits of exercise are the immediate and long-term advantages arising from even the minimum regular physical effort.

It’s been demonstrated that a brisk walk can freshen you up, and give your creativity a shot in the arm. Researchers from Stanford University in 2014 found that a person’s creative energy increased by an average of 60 percent when walking.

Over the long-term, regular, rigorous cardiovascular exercise or strength training elevates the heart rate, boosting the blood flow around your body and to your brain.

Such activity keeps high blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol at bay, and the psychological benefits are almost incalulable, especially later in life when people’s daily routines involve less physical activity.

There is no argument to be found against physical exercise. Physically fit people are generally sharper and more ‘on the ball’ in every aspect of their lives. Start planning immediately to incorporate a physical exercise routine into your life today.

5. Filter Out the Noise

REALLY successful entrepreneurs are notably good at filtering out any distractions that might waylay their progress towards their business objectives.

Allowing distractions to clutter the agenda is a key source of stress, and can arise from not delegating tasks, and devoting too much time to micro details at the expanse of movement towards the grand plan.

Many successful leaders use meditation as a means of fine-tuning their ability to focus on being in the present, and to concentrate on the most important tasks at hand, and keep at bay the ever-present threat of being swamped by the noise of smaller lower-priority tasks that can easily be delegated to others.

This is a fantastic TED Talk by Richard St John, dealing with the importance of focus in the success of achievers as diverse as film director James Cameron; Google CEO, Larry Page; NASA scientists; Domino’s Pizza founder Tom Monaghan; and Bill Gates.

Focus aids can emerge from the most unlikely places. The Wall Street Journal reported that neuroscientists and psychologists have demonstrated that doodling helps people stay focused, grasp new concepts and retain information.

Executive trainer Dr Jason Selk cited a recent study exploring the links between improved attention and superior cognitive performance in mice.

“The same is true for humans,” he opined. “In any endeavor… when people learn how to sharpen their focus, they become smarter, more productive, and higher performing.”

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5 Scientifically Proven Ways to Get Smarter


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