We’ve all been in the situation where the snappy comeback comes when it’s too late. However, if we use some simple scientific techniques, we can soon learn how to think faster. Thinking faster can make people think you’re smarter, help you understand new information sooner, and even be the ticket to a promotion at work. So, how do you do it?
In this post, we will look at what the benefits of thinking faster are and how you can learn to do it.
What are the benefits of thinking faster?
As already noted, faster thinking is often strongly associated with higher intelligence. However, thinking faster also has a range of other benefits that can improve people’s daily life and be of huge benefit as we fight the negative impacts of aging on our ability to stay sharp. Here, we outline 5 of the key benefits of learning how to think fast that you might not have expected:
Studies have shown that tasks that force us to think fast lead people to report feeling more energized, happy, self-confident, and even more creative.
Improved mental sharpness
As we age, processing speed is one of the intellectual skills that are most affected. Our attention spans and the ability to be cognitively nimble can also deteriorate with age. However, training ourselves to think faster has been found to improve memory, independence, and even reduce the risk of dementia.
Appear more charismatic
William von Hippel et. al.’s study found that people tend to view people who think fast as being more charismatic.
Confident public speaking
Knowing you can think on your feet gives you a sense of innate confidence, ideal for public speaking and generally in social situations be they for business or pleasure.
Thinking quickly allows you to rapidly address multiple angles, stay focused, plan better, and find solutions to problems.
How to think faster?
Thinking faster gets harder as we age. However, with these science-backed hacks, everyone can train themselves to think faster and reap the associated rewards. Here, we outline 5 ways you can train yourself to think faster:
Race the clock & tackle Parkinson’s Law
Parkinson’s law notes that work takes as long as the time available to complete it. It may sound strange, but actually getting a timer out and tackling a thinking task can help us target the fundamental intellectual skills that are most negatively affected by age.
You can try exercises that involve something you are highly skilled at and add in a race against the clock element. It could be completing a puzzle, naming categories, or doing exercise more quickly. Give your brain a powerful boost for at least 5 minutes a day so it becomes routine. Racing the clock forces you to think fast.
Slow things down
How can you speed things up by slowing them down? Well, if you take a deep breath and slow down your heart rate, you’ll increase the amount of oxygen in your brain. When we pause in our mind’s eye and envision time to formulate a response, we can actually respond quicker and more effectively. Regular meditation boosts your memory and yoga can be a great way to give yourself more mental space.
When we think we are multitasking, we actually end up elongating everything we are doing. The brain can only ever focus on one thing at a time. Therefore, if we take on two tasks at the same time, the brain will just toggle between the two, divides attention and hurts performance.
Indeed, studies show multitasking takes a toll on productivity. If you have multiple tasks you need to get done, get that timer out and put a deadline on it for a bonus bit of brain training.
This one’s a fun one! When we socialize, we force our brains to think quicker. This means that when we spend time with friends and family, we actually speed train our brain naturally.
For example, as we follow a conversation and find the moment to chip in with our own ideas, we actually improve our brain’s health. This doesn’t include chatting via instant messaging as this gives us the time to ruminate on our responses! Socializing outside of our comfort zone can be even more effective at getting our brain thinking faster.
Exercise has been found to boost memory, improve concentration, slow cognitive decline, and even reduce the risk of dementia. Whilst all exercise is good for the brain, a recent study found aerobic exercise to be the most effective. This includes things like walking, jogging, cycling, and swimming which are all particularly good at enhancing processing speed – just what you need to think faster.
It is easy to think that someone’s ability to think fast is down to raw ability. However, we can train ourselves to think faster by using the science-backed hacks above.
Fortunately, this means we can soon train ourselves to think faster for ourselves. Whether we want to get ahead in the workplace, make new friends, or make sure we keep our independence for longer as we age, using the above methods will have you thinking quick in a flash.
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