There are a number of habits we can forge to boost our IQ, like reading, listening to podcasts, and flexing our mental skills with brain training games. But according to Inc., these activities focus on improving crystallized, rather than fluid, intelligence.
Crystallized intelligence refers to the ability to recall information and draw on learned experiences; it's what's commonly referred to as being "book smart." Fluid intelligence, which involves problem-solving and using logic in new situations, is much harder to build. While it was once largely believed that fluid intelligence is something we're born with and can't learn, new studies suggest one simple activity can boost these skills as well as your overall IQ: meditation.
Yes, in addition to improving stress levels and your physiological health, daily meditation has also been shown to make you smarter. Research into brainwave training, a type of meditation, found that those who incorporated the practice into their daily routine showed an average gain in IQ of 23%. What's more, when participants were analyzed one year later, they had developed strong skills relating to creativity, concentration, and self-awareness.
Another study published in Consciousness and Cognition found that 20 minutes of daily meditation might be all it takes to reap the benefits. Participants showed significant improvement in memory, cognition, and lowered stress—in just four days.
Looking to give it a try? Download a meditation app like Headspace, which offers guided routines and simplifies the process for novices.
Do you meditate every day? Have you noticed a difference in your stress levels and mental skills?