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Top 10 Everyday Things You Didn’t Realize Were Making You Smarter

VO: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Savannah Sher

You don’t necessarily have to crack open a book to improve your intellect. From dancing, to exercise, to music, these enjoyable moments can actually increase your IQ! WatchMojo counts down the Top 10 Things You Didn't Know Could Make You Smarter.

Special thanks to our user Ninou78 for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at https://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Things+You+Didn%27t+Know+Could+Make+You+Smarter.

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Script written by Savannah Sher

Top 10 Things You Didn't Know Could Make You Smarter

You don’t necessarily have to crack open a book to improve your intellect. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Things You Didn't Know Could Make You Smarter.

For this list, we’re looking at the most strange and surprising things that can actually boost your memory and improve your cognitive workings.

#10: Dancing

Who knew that boogeying down could also increase your IQ! In addition to the physical benefits of dancing, like giving your brain a boost of oxygen and making you feel happier, studies have show that dancing stimulates the brain and increases mental capacity. More complicated routines, like the Tango, which require higher brain function and memorization, can actually help prevent dementia! So get down and reap the benefits.

#9: Video Games


As much fun as they are, video games can get a seriously bad rap. Many claim they contribute to violence in users, anti-social behavior or are a giant waste of time. We’re not here to debate those points, but the good news is that they can actually improve the brain’s function. And we’re not just talking about games that are expressly created to be educational. An American Psychological Association study actually looked specifically at shooter games, and found that they potentially improved memory, problem solving and even social skills, so why not raise that GPA with a little GTA?

#8: Exercise/Sports


We know how beneficial physical activity is for the health of your body, and even for mental health, but did you know that exercise can also make you smarter? There are so many ways in which exercise improves the functioning of your body, and that extends to your brain as well. Working up a sweat every day can help with memory, productivity, energy levels, focus and keeps you in a better mood while you’re at it. And even if you don’t feel the cognitive improvements, at least you’ll have had a good workout! Similarly, but perhaps unsurprisingly, eating clean can also make yousmarter!

#7: Listening to Music


Playing an instrument has been long touted as a way to make you smarter, but studies have shown that simply listening to music can have similarly effective results. Research has been done on how students who listen to Mozart while studying perform on exams, and the results were pretty astounding. 60-70 beats per minute classical music can see a sizable improvement, but 50-80 bpm pop music can do the trick as well. So if your teacher tells you to take out your headphones and focus, you’ve got a good argument ready to go!

#6: TV


Good news, couch potatoes. It turns out that watching certain kinds of TV can actually be good for you. And no, we’re not just talking about Discovery Channel Documentaries. In a New York Times article published in 2005, Steven Johnson examined what he called the “Sleeper Curve” or the idea that watching TV shows with complex plots can make us smarter. If you consider the fact that this was long before premium TV hit its peak, you can only imagine how smart we’re getting while watching today's complex, multi-arc, long-game narratives.

#5: Napping


You definitely shouldn’t be snoozing at your desk, but it seems like the Spanish had the right idea with their siesta concept. Researchers have found that taking a midday nap can help revitalize you and improve your memory significantly. In Japan, workday naps are becoming more common, and we can totally see why. Timing the length of your nap is key, because too long or too short and you may not reap the benefits. Can you imagine replacing your 3pm coffee break with a half hour nap? You just know the results would be good!

#4: Daydreaming


Much like napping, video gaming, or channel surfing, daydreaming – especially when you have work to do or attention to pay – doesn't gain you many accolades. But, like those other seemingly time-wasters, daydreaming can actually help harness some additional brain-power. In fact, studies have shown that people who daydream tend to have better memories than people who stay focused on the task at hand. It may seem counter-intuitive, but this works because your brain actually is engaged, even if its not paying attention to what it’s supposed to be!

#3: Sarcastic Co-workers


Of all the things on this list, this one is the biggest head scratcher. We all have that work friend who has more disdain for your job than anyone, and never bothers to hide it. If your coworkers tend to make a lot of sarcastic comments, quips, jabs, and deep, deep cuts, it can actually improve your ability to think creatively. A study from Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes shows that hearing sarcasm forces you to think abstractly, which helps with creative thought. Additionally, per the same study, sarcasm did not lead to an increase in conflicts.

#2: Chewing Gum


Not chewing gum is classic, old-school short-sightedness. It makes sense that loud chewing could potentially be distracting to your classmates, but in reality all that masticating was actually making you smarter. Studies have been done with both sweetened and sugar-free gum, and participants who chewed performed better on a variety of intellectual tests. The problem is - the effect doesn’t really seem to last after you throw your piece away. But all the same, pop some gum in your mouth before a big test and your grades just might soar.

#1: Being in a Bad Mood


Given all the unlikely brain power-ups we've discussed so far, is one last splash of negativity really that surprising? Well, despite what the ever-cheery, and seldom solicited positive thinking brigade has to say, we’re here to tell you that being in a good mood isn’t always positive. A study from the University of New South Wales shows that being in a foul mood actually has some shocking benefits. Participants showed better memory skills, better judgment skills and were also less gullible. So next time you’re having a bad day, make the best of it!

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