6 Simple “Brain Hacks” That Can Make You Smarter

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from The Moth

from World of Science Festival

What if you could make yourself smarter in just 4 minutes?

Wendy Suzuki, an award-winning neuroscientist and a recent guest on my Curious Minds podcast, talks about ways exercise can make us smarter.

In her book, Healthy Brain, Happy Life, she shares fun ways to enhance your brain. Since we ran out of time in the interview before we could get to them, I wanted to share six of them here:

Try a New Dance Move: Teach yourself a new dance move and practice it for four minutes to your favorite music. You can find all kinds of moves on Google Play and YouTube. It’s the perfect motor cortex brain hack.

Taste a New Food: Cook or order a cuisine you’ve never had before. If you can, try eating the meal in complete darkness and see how it affects your sense of taste. It’s a terrific taste cortex brain hack.

Learn Something New: For a cognitive brain hack, do one of the following: (1) watch a TED talk on a topic you know nothing about; (2) listen to a story from the Moth Radio Hour, a storytelling program; (3) listen to a podcast (how about Curious Minds?) you’ve never listened to before; or (4) read a story from a section of the news you tend to skip.

See Something New: For a visual cortex brain hack, go to an art museum or log onto one online and find a look for a piece of art you’ve never seen. Got lost in it visually for four minutes to stimulate your visual cortex.

Listen to Something New: Visit a music site you like to use, say iTunes, YouTube’s music channel, Spotify or Pandora. Find the most popular song in a genre of music you’ve never listened to before. Listen all the way through and consider why the song is popular in this space. You’ve just engaged in an auditory brain hack!

Smell Something New: For an olfactory brain hack, take a few minutes to sit and take in the smells of one of your meals today. Try to notice the different aromas of each aspect of your meal – what you’re drinking, the herbs or seasonings you’re using, and so on. This will help you tune into your olfactory senses.

Try one each day for a week to grow new brain cells!

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