Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Top 5 Ways to Get Smarter


5
Meditate

For thousands of years, we've known the benefits of meditation. The practice of meditation can be different for each person, but it generally involves quiet, focused breathing exercises in which the practitioner is able to achieve a state of mental calm. Regardless of whether you believe that this mental calm is an enlightened state of consciousness, no one can deny the benefits of relaxed, focused breathing. FMRI scans have revealed that regular meditation also affects the actual structure of the brain. Researchers believe that memory, function, attention span and focus all benefit from meditation. One study showed that regular daily meditation can even increase the size of parts of the cerebral cortex. Not surprisingly, some of the world's leading and forward-thinking corporations offer meditation classes for their employees.