Can Meditation Make You Smarter?

Many think of intelligence as being fixed, but this isn’t the case. Often, this thinking comes from fatalists and those with a fixed mindset. But studies have shown that meditation can raise an individual’s IQ points. 

Long-term meditators were believed to have higher IQs than their non-meditating counterparts by changing the prefrontal cortex and had a higher volume of gray matter. 

It’s easy for many to gravitate into fatalism or staying where they’re at, but until one starts experiencing their unlimited potential through meditation, one learns that once thought they reached a certain limit, it expands and now there’s a new ceiling to reach.

Photo by Olav Ahrens Røtne on Unsplash

It also expands our range of comfort, and by following that path we walk a path to becoming better versions of ourselves. 

Meditation stimulates logical thinking and our ability to solve problems, as well as think of new angles for approaching a problem. 

With meditation, you naturally tend to adopt an optimist view, and where you once might’ve seen challenges, you start seeing possibilities. 

This is the type of thinking that creates geniuses and great inventors. One way meditation makes us smarter is by changing our brainwave patterns, it’s been shown that consistent meditations physically restructure the brain

It’s usually over the span of months that we start seeing the fruits of our efforts, but some have been able to see benefits in the first few days of meditating. We all work differently. 

Training Your Mind To Do Nothing

The process of training your mind to do nothing for a certain period of time is difficult. It’s something you’ve never experienced before, but ironically, the result is better memory retention, focus, and learning. 

In fact, meditation has been shown to boost academic performance, and I myself, when I was in school, could see a drastic improvement in mine. 

It’s all about trusting the process, loving the process, and opening yourself up for the experiences you are presented with during meditation, rather than defaulting to certain thoughts. 

Thoughts will appear nonetheless by focusing on one thing. Whether we actively engage with these thoughts or observe them and let them go on about their existence determines whether we are meditating or doing a thinking exercise. 

The notion of taming the mind is foreign, which is one of the reasons meditation takes time to adopt as a habit. But the mind needs rest as much as the muscles need rest to grow. 

Not even sleep can relax the mind to the same degree meditation does, and meditation can even decrease the need for sleep, but not replace it. 

The combination of enough sleep and meditation creates an opportunity for meditation to work at its peak. After all, the best meditation is always done when you have the energy for it. Even if it’s possible to meditate while you are tired

It would make sense to think that constantly engaging with analytical activities would lead to the improvement of such analytical abilities, but sometimes, overanalyzing leads to overthinking, which can have the opposite intended effect. 

Therefore, when we give the mind the rest it needs, it can thrive not only in the creative sense but the analytical as well.

Forming New Neural Connections

Meditation allows you to form new neural connections that pertain to positive emotions, while simultaneously dropping emotions that don’t serve you a purpose. 

The practice may also preserve the brain from aging, which can be useful in preventing deterioration and keeping the fluid intelligence from getting worse. 

Memory-wise, just a few days of meditation can be enough to improve someone’s memory, all from a 20-minute practice, which is the standard. 

The combination of better learning improved memory retention and the ability to respond to new problems that arise all are contributing factors in making it possible for meditation practitioners to become smarter. 

Often, it’s recommended to purposely face difficult mental exercises to train the brain as a muscle, but this becomes easier when the mind creates a distraction-free environment, where our output ends up being significantly higher. 

Deliberately doing anything for one year can rival decades of experience done shallowly. Meditation amplifies our ability to stay on track with one thing, and once this becomes a new normal, the effects are lasting

Overcoming Limits

Many of the limitations we face today come from predisposed negative belief systems, and thus, many don’t end up doing the things they want to do because they think they are futile. 

But if you attempt to pick up a new skill, while simultaneously adopting the habit of meditation, you’ll often find it’s easier and you’ll find yourself learning such skill faster. 

Our increased scope of consciousness we get during meditation applies to our life outside of meditation. Earlier I mentioned that meditation can bring to our mind new angles to solve problems. Meditation has been attributed as a source of wisdom. 

From a spiritual point of view, this wisdom comes from connecting with divine beings or spirit guides that guide you in the right direction. But from a logical point of view, regardless of your belief systems, you can experiment with meditation and your ability to problem-solve. 

Two months of consistent meditation should be enough to get a basic feel of it and see some sort of change in attention span and better performance. Then compare the results side by side. These results can show both academically and in our professional life. 

Limits placed by the mind will be present until they are challenged. Fortunately, you let go of negative thinking and negative self-talk when meditating

Having an easier time learning, you may find yourself gravitating to learn new things and thus, amplifying your knowledge and creating a new cycle where you’re constantly striving to improve every area of your life, and not the least, intelligence. 

Adopting a Growth Mindset

With meditation, many find themselves positively surprised by what they learn during and after the practice. How they become more intuitive and how they approach situations differently in their day-to-day life. 

While not everyone adopts the same mindset while meditating, and while for many, it’s just a way to have their beliefs confirmed, overcoming limits can help many gravitate more to a growth mindset and detach from a fixed mindset, where the premise of a fixed mindset is that we’re stuck in a situation without being able to change it. 

But this is the equivalent of staying within a range of comfort and the perfect excuse to not make any moves to become our best versions. It’s an easy type of thinking to gravitate to, but it’s pessimistic and growth-hindering. 

Meditation helps you get to know yourself, what makes you who you are, and as a byproduct, you grow wiser and smarter. 

How long this takes depends on many variables, but the benefits are there for those who seek, so long as it’s practiced mindfully and we’re engaging our focus in the present moment. 

The mind is like a muscle and we’re not stuck in one place, we aren’t trees, but we can actually level up as we do in video games. 

Now, meditation may not explicitly have the purpose of making you smarter but it can certainly be a derivative of consistent practices. It happens over time, there aren’t any specific guidelines. 

Standard timelines set from meditation should be taken with a grain of salt as for some, it may take years, while for others, it may just take a few months. 

But there are various aspects we can improve with meditation, which may not be as clear from the start, but become clearer once we start noticing differences in our ways to handle different situations and problems. 

What many times stand in our way from getting smarter are our limiting beliefs that many times come from an unaddressed shadow, or perhaps the lies told by an authority figure such as a teacher. One never knows one’s true potential until it’s put to the test and challenged. 

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