140 is said to be the ‘genius’ benchmark. German physicist, Albert Einstein and British cosmologist, Stephen Hawking were both estimated to have about 160!

We are talking about Intelligence Quotient or IQ, as it is commonly known. This standard tool for measuring your intelligence is quite highly valued, as it is considered a near estimate of the power of your intellect.

The emergence of the knowledge industry has clearly established the dominance of brain over brawn. This has made IQ a household term, and the quest of how to increase IQ level has assumed special importance, as a result.

What exactly is IQ?

Intelligence Quotient or IQ is the total score derived from standardized tests that measure a person’s intelligence. In other words, your Intelligence Quotient (IQ) is a measure of your mental agility or comprehension speed. It takes into consideration your age. Most people score between 85 and 115 in an IQ test.

What improves intelligence? Genetics or conditioning?

You may have heard couples arguing about their child’s bad grades at school. While the wife may squarely blame the husband’s poor genes for the performance, the husband might lay a similar assault on the quality of her contribution! Not to be left out of an interesting tussle, grandparents might add to the chaos by claiming that it is a reflection of the quality of the upbringing!

So, is it genetics or conditioning? Just, what makes a person intelligent? Is it his/her innate traits (nature), or the social conditioning and upbringing (nurture)? Like most answers, it is neither black nor white, but somewhere in between – in the grey.

Why this is important is because you want to know if you can improve your child’s performance. Is it possible to increase his/her intelligence? Of course, we would like to believe we have some power to influence and increase the IQ level.

Here are some ideas on how to do it.

How to improve IQ Level

While IQ is often used to make judgments about a person’s mental faculties, it is, naturally, not completely reliable. Simply because intelligence is, itself, such an abstract term and can mean different things to different people. The numbers don’t show all aspects of a person’s intelligence. Still, since it is one of the most comprehensive tests out there, we all want to score as well as is humanly possible. How can you do this?

Here are a few simple tips that may boost your brain power and help you increase your IQ level.

1. Play games and solve puzzles

Corporate trainers use games and puzzles at the start of post-lunch sessions to offset the sleep-inducing effects of a heavy lunch! It is because games and puzzles help you sharpen and activate your mind.

This is very important because IQ tests incorporate fluid intelligence tests. Here, your ability to think logically and reason with unfamiliar or new information is tested. It relates to your working memory. Therefore, games and puzzles help you improve your ability to answer this aspect of the intelligence tests.

2. Make exercise a habit

Physical exercise promotes the flow of oxygen, glucose, and nutrients to your brain. “Increased cardiovascular fitness is associated with better cognitive scores,” says a US study by the National Institutes of Health. It is also one of the best ways to stimulate the brain.

Exercise is believed to modulate metabolic mechanisms that support brain functioning. So, run, jog, walk, skip, swim or, simply, play. You boost the chances of increasing your intelligence level!

3. Restrict the usage of gadgets

Don’t be surprised that your parents and grandparents can total the grocery bill faster than you! It is because they used their mind rather than machines to calculate. Today we use calculators, computers and cell phones to do the job for us.

One set of thinking inventors have paved the way for millions to stop using their brains and rely on devices to think for them. It has led to a convenient life as far as writing letters, carrying out bank transactions and paying bills is concerned. However, it has set a bad precedent in that it has made your brain slower and lazier.

Practicing your math skills by doing your calculations from time to time and turning off spell check when writing, can help keep your brain active. Learning a musical instrument also helps spur your grey cells.

4. Good nutrition for better cognition

A balanced and healthy diet ensures that you don’t have deficiencies in vitamin, protein, calcium or iron, which can mar your brain power. There is also some relation to intelligence, and a vegetarian diet as a British study found that those with a higher IQ were more likely to turn to vegetarianism later in life.

Both the lifestyle and nutritional choices of vegetarians are associated with strong intellectual functioning and slower cognitive decline. Consider the choice as you learn how to increase your IQ.

5. Practice yoga and meditation

Yoga is a science that harnesses the innate capability of the body to improve its powers and functioning. It can act as an instant cognitive boost. Yoga asanas help relieve stress, which enhances the functioning of the brain.

Super brain yoga, locally known as Thoppukaranam, has also caught on among professionals and educators. This short and simple exercise increases your brain power, as a US study found.

Meditation improves blood circulation to the brain. About six hours a week of meditation may actually change the brain structure. These changes help sharpen focus, improve memory and multitasking skills as substantiated by a 2011 study by Harvard-affiliated researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) substantiated this.

Meditation is associated with a thicker cerebral cortex and more gray matter. These are the parts of the brain linked to memory, attention span, decision-making, and learning. Thus, meditation is a means to increase brain power.

So, spare some time every day to follow these simple tips to lead a smarter life!