Self Development By Mae Davies / May 6, 2016 Take a brief look into history and you’ll find several people like Socrates, William Shakespeare, Leonardo da Vinci, and Albert Einstein, who apparently were born geniuses. Mankind’s drive to succeed has grown to such an astonishing degree that to improve our chances at giving birth to even more geniuses, we had invented all kinds of means to help us do so (e.g., seemingly magical baby formula, baby food, and vitamins). Hence, it begs the question: are there ways that people like me and you can become smarter by ourselves than we are at present? Believe it or not, we know of several such ways. To be specific, there are several easy, low-cost activities you can do regularly or daily that can make you smarter. These activities keep your mind sharp by making you learn new things, think creatively, and/or be physically and mentally fit. To save you from the pain of having to sift through all of them in order to find the most suitable one for you, here are 3 that we consider the most effective: 1. Exercise A constant stream of studies proves again and again that people who regularly work out score higher on IQ tests than the takers who do not. The studies reveal that exercising stimulates brain cell growth. The process of increased neurotransmitter production called neurogenesis occurs during bouts of rigorous exercise. Neurotransmitters are chemicals found in the brain that can send signals among brain cells. The more neurotransmitters you have, the higher your mental capacity is. Exercise also stimulates your brain to release dopamine, the chemical found therein that basically makes us feel happy, enabling us to concentrate on the task at hand and do it properly. 2. Take Up a Creative Hobby Can you remember how your kindergarten teacher made you and your classmates paint during class? There was more to this activity than keeping all of you busy and well-behaved. Not only did painting improve your hand-eye coordination, but it also taught you how to look carefully at your surroundings, come up with the clearest mental images of them possible, and figure out how to recreate what you saw with paint. Unlike memorizing facts, dates, notable individuals’ names, and historical sites and events, creative activities enable you to discover new possibilities and new ways to solve problems, significantly improving your mental capacity. 3. Read When we tell you to read, we’re not saying you should read more blogs by your favorite blogger than you usually do. While there’s nothing wrong with doing so, we suggest you read more books, newspapers like The New York Times and The Guardian, and magazines like Time and The Economist. Nowadays, blogs and print publications provide equal amounts of information. But, as far as we’re concerned, readers shouldn’t prefer the former over the latter. First, and foremost, traditional authors possess firsthand knowledge of what they write about that they gained over several years. Most bloggers obtain most (if not all) of their information from the Web. Second, before being published, print publications are painstakingly edited, making how they are written (well, most of them at least) superb. Reading them can teach you a thing or two on how to write well, which is one of the most mentally stimulating activities. Blogs are seldom, if not rarely, edited before being published. Third, all of the pieces of information included in print publications are carefully double-checked for accuracy. Not all bloggers do this to their blogs. Given these ways that you can easily make yourself smarter than you are already, we hope to have made you realize that to become intelligent doesn’t require a lot of money, divine blessing, or a pact with The Devil himself—just belief in yourself, determination, and patience.