Scientifically Proven Ways to Boost Brain Power
College can seem like four years of your life spent attracted towards opposites poles. On one side, we strive towards self-improvement by attending classes, studying and fruitful endeavors that foster creativity, like trying to find every known variation of cooking pasta.
On the other hand, there is the systematic and dedicated delay of growth, knowledge and self-respect, through partying, lack of sleep, and general hooliganry. So it’s only appropriate that we discuss the myriad ways in which you can improve your brainpower, scientifically, to help tip the scales back towards positive development.
It shouldn’t surprise you that humans weren’t meant to sit in a chair, slouched, laughing at pictures of cats until 3am. Performing regular exercise will make you look and feel healthier, but more importantly, it will give you superhuman cognitive powers too. Getting up and moving around, whether it’s a trip to the gym, a walk around the block, or an intramural sport, will improve circulation, boost metabolism, decrease stress and improve your mood and attention. As if you needed another reason to exercise.
The N-Back Game
The N-Back Game was developed by researchers at the University of Michigan to see whether people could actively exercise their brain. Kind of like mental push-ups, although you probably won’t have to shower afterwards.
It requires a player to remember a sound or an image that was presented to them at different stages of a sequence. How far back in the sequence you have to remember your sound or image increases as you play. Sounds simple, but it gets difficult very quickly.
According to their research, playing the N-Back game for as little as 20 minutes every day, five days a week can have a significant effect on improving fluid intelligence (the ability to think logically and solve problems in new situations.) Even better, you can play on your computer, which means you can get smarter while still dicking around…kinda.
Learn a Language
Knowing two languages is more than just a cool skill. While it does serve as a nice party trick, being bilingual, and even the process of learning a language, can make you smarter. Among other things, acquiring a new language has the power to prevent cognitive decay, increase brain function, and, assuming you stick with it, even rewire your brain entirely.
If you’re still in school, there are plenty of opportunities to get started, including taking classes, joining clubs, and even language-specific housing. If you can afford the time and money to study abroad, it’s easily the best way to learn a new language.
Mom was right when she told you that breakfast was the most important meal. Breakfast is essential to kick-starting your brain, and making sure it stays running at top speed for the entire day. Simply put, your brain needs glucose (blood sugar) to function. After a night’s sleep, your brain is sluggish and more than a little pissed off. Just like you get bitchy without a snack, so does your brain. Information processing, visual/special skills, and memory recognition will all suffer without replenishing your food supply.
Turns out napping isn’t just for the lazy. A quick rest, especially after lunch, has been shown to not only consolidate information you already know, but prime your brain to learn new information too. Consider this a victory for college students across the country, who can now justify their napping habits to condescending roommates, skeptical parents, and alleviate the crippling self-disgust that comes with waking up when it’s dark out. Why not celebrate this victory with a nap.
Isaac Moche is the Editor-In-Chief at The Campus Companion, a college blog network dedicated to helping college students in every capacity. When he’s not working, he can be found in the field doing research, which usually involves too much coffee, beer, and not enough sleep.