In less than the time it takes you to have breakfast, you could be raising your intelligence. Sound too good to be true? You might want to read on…
The Two Types of Intelligence
There are two types of intelligence: crystallized intelligence and fluid intelligence.
Crystallized intelligence is your ability to use information, skills and experiences. This increases with age and is utilized by most western cultures (think of every single exam you’ve ever had).
Fluid intelligence is your ability to identify patterns, use logic and solve problems. In essence, it involves your creativity, awareness and innovation.
It’s easy to increase your crystallized intelligence. You can read more, collect more facts, listen to podcasts etc.
But fluid intelligence is different. It’s commonly thought that this is largely fixed. Until now…
New Studies Are Showing Something Incredible
Now studies are showing that there’s something you can do to improve your fluid intelligence: meditation.
That’s right. Meditation is not only good for your mental health, it can also make you smarter.
The Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback found that participants using brainwave training (a specific form of meditation) showed an average gain in IQ of 23 percent.
This was result was long-lasting too. One year later, participants who meditated showed strong gains in creativity, concentration, and self-awareness.
This study published in Consciousness and Cognition showed that just after 4 days of daily meditation, participants demonstrated improvements in memory, concentration and lowered stress levels.
Why does meditation improve your IQ?
It is believed that the main reason for meditation improving your IQ is because it slows brain wave activity, which allows the brain to increase its plasticity and reorganize itself.
Of course, information like this always leads to the question:
How can you practice meditation?
Meditation isn’t difficult but it can take some time to get used to it. If you keep at it, you’ll begin to experience the benefits so many research studies are showing.
Here are some guidelines for how to practice breathing meditation. You can do this practice for as little as 5 minutes or for as long as you like.
Sit in a comfortable position. Keep your eyes shut, or you can gaze downwards. You can sit on the floor or any place comfortable.
Once you’re comfortably seated, draw your attention to the physical sensation of breathing. The best thing to do is focus on the rise and fall of your chest or abdomen whenever you breath through your mouth or nose. Concentrate on the sensations with every breath.
Avoid distractions. It’s quite natural to encounter a scattering of thoughts and feelings while practising breathing meditation. You should not block out these distractions. Notice the element or event that caused the distraction in the first place and move ahead to the next breath.
Make physical adjustments after stopping the meditation. Bodily movements cause a quick shift.
Do not wrestle with your wandering mind. Practice the breathing meditation, observe and note your attention and focus on the next breath.
Do not indulge in any other activity while practicing breathing meditation. The key is to maintain your attention and concentrate on your breathing.
Breathe in and out, whenever your mind wanders off.
Once you are ready to stop the meditation, open your eyes gently and focus on your environment. Notice the feeling in your body.
Continue the conversation
Our parent site, Ideapod, is a social network for idea sharing. It’s a place for you to explore ideas, share your own and come up with new perspectives, meeting like minded idea sharers in the process.
Here are some conversations happening on meditation on Ideapod.