How to Become Smarter

It is a well known fact that muscles not used, atrophy. For example a broken arm, in a cast and carried in a sling for a period of time, will shrink in size and lose a lot of its strength. Then after it is removed from the cast, it will take several days of use to bring it back to functionality and a few weeks of work to bring it back to its former strength. Well your mind is the same thing, it is like a muscle that when used is strong and when not used atrophies. Today’s discussion is about building up your mind.

As we just mentioned; a mind which is not kept active will become less alert and will lose its brilliance and intelligence. So it is logical to assume that you must exercise your mind, as well as your physical body. We are all familiar with the benefits of exercise for the body, but it is rarely touched on about exercising the mind. As to relative importance, of the two types, mental exercise should have the priority, in fact, physical exercises should be coordinated with the mind to achieve the maximum results. Any trainer can tell you that you will gain far greater results from the type of exercise you enjoy, than you will from the exercise you force yourself to do. Biking, walking, tennis, or whatever you choose, will help you far more than following a routine of motions that are boring.

Happiness is relaxing, and muscles respond to exercise more quickly when you are relaxed than when you are tense. So it is with mental conditions which correspond with tenseness and relaxation. If your mind is tense, because of a number of disturbing thoughts attempting to enter, your thinking is not fully developed. You will have difficulty in thinking through your problems, and will be unable to make correct decisions. This little discussion will help you to stimulate and develop your mental faculties, the rewards will be great, and you will find yourself reaching a higher level of delight as you begin developing a quick thinking mind.

The number one emotional crippler among us humans is frustration. Fortunately for us frustration is not an incurable mental disorder. It is simply the product of an uncontrolled mind. If you allow disturbing thoughts to take over and block all rational thinking, you become almost panicked as your imagination sees yourself thwarted by many problems. You become entangled in a self destructive loop of thinking and soon can not see a way out of your troubles.

So the first thing you must do is simple, but so few people actually do it, is writing it down. Pick up a sheet of paper and name your problems, put them in a list so you can see what might be done. You will find that you can easily write down number one, and then it may take a few moments before you can set number two on paper. Then it will take a bit longer to find number three, and some concerted effort to think of and write down number four. Rarely will people be able to think of a number five, and even fewer ever come up with a number six. You will be amazed that the huge amount of problems and troubles you thought you had were actually so few, and some even so minor that they could be cured in an afternoon. You will have discovered that a state of frustration had taken your life away, and had completely occupied your mind, but with a little calm thinking your world was soon made right again.

Next we will discuss “Feeble mindedness”; it is a term that is often misused. When we think of someone as being feebleminded, we think of them as being a hopeless case. This is not always true; usually it is a result of an inactive mind. When you are thinking about plans you are engaging your mind, you are exercising it. This can be from such activities such as puzzles, crafts, reading, painting, gardening, and other “recreational” hobbies that we all have. Every person has a hobby, something you like to do, such as building model ships, growing flowers, etc. Since you like that activity, use it to your advantage and practice it frequently. Also try new hobbies from time to time so that your thinking does not grow stale.

Then there is the common ailment; Forgetfulness. This “condition” is often caused by having a disorganized mind. When our mind is in a state of turmoil, our powers of recall are lessened. Then when we try to remember any fact, it is slow in coming. So we erroneously accept the thought that we are becoming forgetful and, as we encourage such a condition, (by verbally affirming it) and we grow more forgetful. It is obvious that the memories of those with well disciplined minds are much keener than those with confused minds. So to “cure” your forgetfulness you need simple change your statement to “I’ll think of it in a moment” and do some mental exercises.

The symptoms of the three “F’s” (frustration, feeble mindedness, and forgetfulness) are sure signs that your mind is not being exercised. So it is a matter of causing your self to think, and any practice of exercises which causes you to think is of great value to you. You will be absolutely amazed to discover how quickly the mind will respond and that in a very short time you will notice major improvement in your ability to think calmly, quickly, and logically.

Let us discuss now some of those mental exercises. There is the game we learned as kids while in the car, using license plates. Take the numbers of one license plate and add them to the numbers of the next license plate, then add them all together to come up with a “hard” number. For example the first car has the numbers 1 and 4, and the next car has the numbers 3, 6, and 2. 14 plus 362 equals 376, then 3 plus 7 plus 6 equals 16, then 1 plus 6 equals 7, this is your hard number. Then do the next two cars to come up with another hard number, when your hard numbers add up to ten you are done. If you go over ten add those two numbers together to come up with a new hard number and keep going until you end up with ten. For example hard number 7 from the first exercise, is added to hard number 5 from the second exercise for a totally of 12, then add 1 to 2 that equals 3 and this is your new hard number. Continue until you can make a hard total of ten. If the traffic is too light use mile markers, destination and highway signs for the numbers.

The quizzes, and number or word puzzles which you find in newspapers, and magazines also help to stimulate the mind. Crossword puzzles not only add new words to your vocabulary, but also stimulate your mind as you have to think. As you continue to work with them, you will notice that words come to your mind much faster than they did when you first began to do them. Soon you will be looking forward to the daily paper for the new Sudoku, or word jumble, or crossword puzzle. You may even go out and buy those small books of your favorite type of puzzle, my wife likes to buy and work the word find puzzles.

Another great exercise is speed reading. Learning how is good practice for your mind process. There are many methods of speed reading to choose from, and courses can be found ranging from free to major investment. Start with the free courses, and if you choose to later, you can buy a course or two. Reading faster speeds up your thinking, and this of course, tends toward sharpening your mind, and aids you most rapidly in the other areas of your life that you choose to improve.

In association with your mental exercises, be certain to use your mind correctly. Use positive affirmations for the maximum effect. Most people, when called upon to arrive at some solution which requires their concentrated thinking, will immediately say: “Oh, I can’t do that. ” This, of course, is a sure way to block the mental processes. By this verbal affirmation you have just blocked your own thinking so that a logical solution will not be forthcoming. Always speak the positive, say things like: “This will be fun” or “This looks like a fun challenge” and so on. Build on the thought that these mental exercises are easy for you and that you will gain great benefits. Develop the awareness that your mind is becoming more active every day. It is inter
esting, and enjoyable, to discover your mind is becoming more relaxed, faster, and alert.

To sum up this conversation; exercise your mind and you will become happier and smarter.

Be Blessed

Ralston Heath recently retired from 25 years of active duty. Now that his life is his own again, he is working to share with the world all he knows. Check him out on his blog True Happiness