Intelligence may be an inborn trait, but studies show that IQ levels can be improved with a few brain gym activities.

Do the new.  The easiest way to challenge our brain, is to do something new each day. Don’t order “the usual” at your favourite restaurant, force your brain to pick something new. Travel to a country where you are unfamiliar with the language and your brain will be forced to adapt itself to a new environment and come up with new ways of expressing yourself to overcome the language barrier.

Study. Once out of school and college, the idea of studying further may seem abhorrent to you. But you will be surprised at how quickly your brain will scale up to a new avenue of education. In the long run, investing in adult education will be the best investment of your time, energy and even money you will ever make, which will pay you rich dividends in the long run.

Go offline. Switch off that phone. Go off the radar and do something new after work. Make a list of priorities and to- do- chores and go through them one by one.  Take frequent breaks after 30 minutes of similar activity and go on to do something else

Read to grow mentally. And we don’t mean the TV timetable or local movie listings. Pick an interesting book, preferably a social or political commentary that forces you to think critically thereby stimulating your brain and literally “providing food for thought”. Plus you benefit by enriching your vocabulary and storing tons of information which you can reel off at a moment’s notice to duly impress your boss or a party guest.

Use 5Ws and 1 H to solve problems. Instead of worrying endlessly about problems, break them down by asking the 5 questions words, why, when, where, who, what, and how to into different steps in how to go about solving the problem. It will force your brain to solve problems logically and analytically instead of cluttering it with endless worry.

Shun the Calc: Human beings have learnt to depend on technology to such a extent that even for working out 2*2 we rely on the trusty old calculator on our phones. The next time you do grocery shopping or buy stuff, use the good old brain to work out what the expedition cost you and how much of change the shopkeeper owes you. This will force your brain to work out the monetary denominations mentally, thereby making it that much sharper.

Paint, sing, dance. Fostering your creative talents is a sure fire way of firing up the brain engines. Remember the finger painting classes in your kindergarten?  The mandatory music, drawing periods in school. All were different methods of getting your left brain to swing into action. So why not use the same logic now then?

Strum that guitar. Play those drums. Playing any musical instrument requires a tremendous amount of hand- eye coordination, focus and concentration all sharpening your brain skills in the long run. Now is the time to enroll for learning a new instrument, which will not only ensure your leisure time creatively, but also get those grey cells in the brain working.

Scare your brain. Stuck in our daily routine, the brain gets lulled into a stupor like trance. To get it up and going, do something that scares you. Go bungee jumping.  Speak in front of huge crowds. In other words, get out of your comfort zone and force your brain to adapt to unfamiliar situations.

Meditate.  Indian sages knew this secret centuries back, when they harnessed their brain power by exploring the unknown strata of knowledge through years of deep, silent mediation. So why don’t you try it too?

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