10 everyday habits that will make you smarter, according to psychology

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Becoming smarter isn’t always about hitting the books or solving complex equations. Sometimes, it’s about the small, everyday habits we engage in.

Psychology tells us there are certain daily routines that can enhance our cognitive abilities and make us more intelligent over time. These are things you can incorporate into your life without much effort.

In this article, I’ll share with you 10 everyday habits that, according to psychology, will make you smarter. Let’s get started on this journey to boost our brainpower, shall we?

1) The power of reading

If there’s one habit that’s universally acknowledged as a booster for intelligence, it’s reading.

Reading doesn’t just give you knowledge, it also improves your cognitive abilities. It enhances your comprehension skills, expands your vocabulary, and opens your mind to different perspectives.

According to Joseph Addison, “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.”

This simple yet powerful statement reaffirms the importance of reading in maintaining a healthy and agile mind.

Incorporating a daily reading habit might seem daunting initially, but it can be as simple as reading a few pages of a book or an article on a topic you enjoy.

It’s not about how much you read, but about making it a regular part of your everyday routine.

Don’t underestimate the power of a good book. It has the potential to not only entertain you but also to make you smarter.

Just remember to pick up something that genuinely interests you to keep the habit going.

2) Embrace curiosity

I can’t stress enough the importance of curiosity in my own journey towards becoming smarter. I’ve found that asking questions, seeking answers, and having an open mind has led to many learning opportunities.

Albert Einstein once said, “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” This coming from one of the greatest minds humanity has ever seen emphasizes just how crucial curiosity is for intellectual growth.

In my experience, I’ve found that simply asking “why” or “how” can lead to a deeper understanding of any topic. For instance, when I started gardening, I was curious about how plants use sunlight to create food. This led me into a fascinating world of photosynthesis and plant biology that I would have otherwise overlooked if I hadn’t been curious.

Make curiosity your second nature. Ask questions, seek answers, and don’t be afraid to explore the unknown. It’s the best way to learn and grow smarter every day.

3) Be okay with failure

This one is tough, but it’s also incredibly important. Being okay with failure is a habit that has the potential to make you genuinely smarter.

Famous psychologist Carl Jung once said, “The most intense conflicts, if overcome, leave behind a sense of security and calm that is not easily disturbed.” This quote resonates deeply with me because it reminds us that it’s through our failures and conflicts that we truly learn and grow.

I’ve had my fair share of failures, and I won’t lie – they were hard. There were times when I questioned my abilities and my worth. But looking back, it was during these moments of struggle that I learned the most about myself and the world around me.

Embrace failure as a part of your growth process. It’s okay to make mistakes. In fact, it’s more than okay – it’s necessary. It’s through these failures that you’ll gain valuable insights and wisdom that can make you smarter in the long run.

It’s not about how many times you fall, but how many times you get back up.

4) Practice mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness is another habit that has significantly contributed to my intellectual growth. Slowing down, focusing on the present moment, and appreciating the here and now can do wonders for your mind.

Psychologist and mindfulness expert Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn said, “Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing.”

This resonates with me because I’ve found mindfulness to be a powerful tool for clarity and focus.

In my own life, taking a few minutes each day to meditate and be mindful has helped me to better understand my thoughts and feelings.

It has improved my concentration, made me more aware of my surroundings, and ultimately, has made me smarter.

The beauty of mindfulness is that it doesn’t require any special equipment or a lot of time. You can practice it anywhere, anytime.

Even a few minutes of mindfulness each day can make a big difference.

Why not give it a try? You might be surprised at the impact it can have on your mind.

5) Embrace boredom

This might sound counterintuitive but hear me out. In our fast-paced, always-connected world, we’ve come to see boredom as something to be avoided at all costs. But embracing boredom can actually make us smarter.

Famous psychologist Sigmund Freud once said, “One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.” This can be applied to boredom as well. When we’re bored, our minds are forced to create, to imagine, and to problem-solve.

I’ve found that some of my most creative ideas and solutions have come when I’ve allowed myself to be bored. Moments without distractions have pushed my mind to think in ways it wouldn’t have otherwise.

When you find yourself reaching for your phone or television remote out of boredom, resist the urge. Instead, let your mind wander freely. You might be surprised at where it leads you. Embracing boredom can indeed be a powerful tool for intellectual growth.

6) Regular exercise

Exercising regularly is not just good for your physical health, but it’s also excellent for your mental well-being. Regular physical activity increases blood flow to the brain, enhancing cognitive abilities and promoting better memory and concentration.

Psychologist and exercise guru John J. Ratey remarked, “Exercise is the single best thing you can do for your brain in terms of mood, memory, and learning.”

And I must agree. Incorporating regular exercise into my daily routine has not only made me feel more energetic but also sharper and more focused in my thinking.

You don’t need to run a marathon or lift heavy weights. Even a short walk, yoga session, or dancing to your favourite tunes can do the trick.

The key is to keep your body moving consistently. Trust me, your brain will thank you for it!

7) Lifelong learning

Lifelong learning is a habit that has personally enriched my life in numerous ways. The pursuit of knowledge doesn’t have to end with formal education. It’s a continuous journey that keeps our minds active and sharp.

Carl Rogers, a prominent psychologist, once said, “The only person who is educated is the one who has learned how to learn and change.” This reinforces the importance of continuous learning for personal development and intelligence.

I have made it a point to learn something new every day. It could be a fact, a skill, or even a new word. This habit has not only expanded my knowledge but has also kept my cognitive skills honed.

Strive to be a lifelong learner. Explore new topics, take up courses, read widely, and never stop asking questions. The world is full of knowledge waiting to be discovered!

8) Learn to let go

This one is a bit personal and quite dear to my heart. Learning to let go of things that are out of my control has been one of the most liberating experiences in my journey towards becoming smarter.

Famous psychologist, Dr. Wayne Dyer said, “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.” This quote has been a guiding principle for me. It’s taught me to shift my focus from stressing over uncontrollable circumstances to investing my energy in areas where I can make a difference.

It’s not easy, and I’m still learning. But realizing that I cannot control everything has been freeing. It has allowed me to channel my mental energy towards productive thoughts and actions.

Letting go doesn’t mean giving up. It means understanding what’s in your power to change and what isn’t.

This understanding can lead to a healthier mental state, better decision-making abilities, and ultimately make you smarter.

9) Get enough sleep

In our hustle culture, sleep is often underrated. We’re encouraged to burn the midnight oil, to push through fatigue. But I’m here to tell you that getting enough sleep is not just good for your body—it’s crucial for your brain.

As Dr. Matthew Walker, a psychologist and sleep expert, put it: “The shorter your sleep, the shorter your life span.”

Sleep is the time when our brain consolidates memories, cleanses itself of toxins, and prepares for the next day.

Sleep deprivation can lead to poor memory, reduced cognitive abilities, and decreased creativity. It’s counterintuitive, but sometimes the best thing you can do for your brain is to give it a rest.

Prioritize your sleep. Your brain will thank you for it!

10) Keep a journal

The habit of journaling has been a game-changer for me. Writing down my thoughts, ideas, and experiences has not only provided me with a therapeutic outlet but has also enhanced my thinking skills.

Psychologist Maud Purcell once said, “Writing accesses the left hemisphere of the brain, which is analytical and rational.” By writing regularly, you’re engaging this part of your brain and improving your analytical skills.

I’ve found that journaling has helped me understand my emotions better, solve problems more efficiently, and even come up with creative ideas. The act of writing it all down helps to clarify my thoughts and gives me a new perspective.

Consider keeping a journal. It doesn’t have to be a detailed diary; even jotting down a few thoughts each day can make a big difference. You’ll be amazed at how it can contribute to your intellectual growth!

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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