You there! Stay right where you are. Do not get off your butt. You’re exactly where you need to be to get smarter, so I hope you’re comfy. I know in this crazy world we live in you want to switch on some mindless TV as soon as your tookus hits the couch (I am 100% not knocking this, it happens to be a favourite past time of mine) you could actually do these things while in the same position to actually better yourself.
Read Literally Any Book (or 10)
Good news team! You don’t even have to read a thing that teaches you about the world. You can get right up into your Game Of Thrones (yes, I’m one of those people who reads the book first and forever proclaims it to the movie/tv newbs and I’m not even sorry about it) or bodice rippers and still get smarter.
This study found that reading a fiction novel actually makes lasting changes to the connectivity of your brain when it’s chilling.
Let’s be real, most of this info is way too sciencey for me to really understand but thanks to the summary I can tell you that reading a good yarn at night resulted in a brain that was firing on all (or at least more) cylinders for 5 days afterwards.
Another not entirely related finding but SUPER cool thing was that the changes in peoples’ brains also had to do with physical sensations and movements.
So in Average Joe language, reading a good book can put your brain not only emotionally, but also physically in the action on the page. Isn’t the brain weird?!
Don’t Bother With Brain Games, Just Read Another Book
Ok, I know this is a DON’T rather than a DO, but I had to leave it in because it genuinely shocked me. Turns out all those ‘play our brain games and you’ll be 1000 times smarter and never ever age’ ads are quite the lie.
According to actual, real research (not the short and self-funded ‘facts’ the brain games companies come up with) reported in Psychology Today, a recent independent study could find absolutely no proof what-so-ever that brain games have any effect on your brain waves. Sorry about it.
Some of those things are expensive too, just buy a crossword book or something.
This one is kind of obvious because clearly learning things makes you smarter, but guys it’s still great to note that you can sit on your hiney in PJs and do higher learning all at the same time.
It also makes it easier to learn and have a job at the same time, because being able to afford food and a roof over your head is actually really great.
If you actually want to come out of it with life skills and qualifications, many universities and colleges offer online study options, as does TAFE. There are also a bunch of free online courses that don’t end in a degree they’re just kinda fun for nerds like me who were sad they no longer got to study poetry and did this rad course to fill the void.
Go To Bed Already
It’s not news that missing out on ZZZs makes you, well, kind of stupid. According to Health.com, a range of different studies have shown this.
Like the one where uni kids who got less sleep had lower grades. And the one that found your memories are consolidated while you snooze and therefore you need sleep for what you learn to actually sink in. Or that your brain reorganises itself while you sleep which is believed to boost creativity while you’re awake.
And the kicker? Brain symptoms of not having enough sleep are basically the same as ADHD.
Learn a Language
LiveScience.com reported on a study that discovered that learning a language actually improves your brain function outside of linguistics. Young people who can speak fluently in more than 1 language had better concentration, and the good news is that it didn’t matter if they’d only just learned the second language or if they’d been bilingual since childhood.
A theory for this was that being able to switch back and forth between languages trained the brain to focus harder on auditory info.
If you have been jabbering away in multiple languages since you could speak good news! Another study in India found people who bilingual since they were young developed dementia about 4 years after people who only spoke one.
So basically you can use your couch potato status to your advantage and that makes me happy. Or, you know, just keeping watching for what those cheeky Kardashians get up to next.