There are two broad categories of intelligence: crystallized and fluid. Crystallized intelligence is the ability to utilize information, skills, and experience already learned. Fluid intelligence is the ability to identify patterns, solve novel problems, and use logic in new situations. It makes us creative, aware, innovative, and visionary.
To improve crystallized knowledge, learn: read, listen to podcasts, and collect more facts. This web site is a great place for that.
To dramatically improve your fluid intelligence as well as your overall IQ, meditate.
Meditation improves physiological health, reduced stress, improves mood, and sets you up for emotional equilibrium rather than reactivity.
It can also make you significantly smarter.
Siegfried Othmer, former president of the neurofeedback division of the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, conducted neurofeedback research on participants using brainwave training (a specific form of meditation). Those who meditated showed an average gain in IQ of 23 percent. Not only did the meditators improve their IQ, but the effect was lasting, according to a follow-up study conducted one year later. Participants who meditated showed significant gains in creativity, concentration, and self-awareness.
Another astonishing study in Consciousness and Cognition showed that after just four days of daily 20-minute meditation, participants demonstrated significant improvements in memory, cognition, and lowered stress levels. Perhaps most notably, the group that meditated scored as much as 10 times better on a working memory task — an important part of fluid intelligence.
Why does meditation improve your IQ? There are a few reasons, but one of the main ones is that deep meditation slows brain activity.
As slower brainwaves take over (also known as being in a delta or theta state), the brain increases its own plasticity, or ability to reorganize itself. By practicing focused attention during meditation, whether on your breath, a mantra, or even music, you give your brain just the right kind of respite. That’s all you need to do: You rest your brain, it improves itself. Amazing, no?
It’s worth noting that … the second group meditated for only 20 minutes a day over four days — that’s 80 minutes total, less time than it takes to watch a movie.