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8 Ways to Make Your Brain Smarter
Billions of neurons in your brain can reshape themselves in response to what you do and learn. Help them along with these eight strategies to be sharper, make wiser decisions and stay focused.
brain power
Wake Up in Wonderland
Any time you encounter "meaning threat"—that unsettling feeling you get when something makes no sense—your brain starts to work harder, says Travis Proulx, a researcher at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Test-takers were almost twice as accurate in analyzing data and learning patterns after Proulx and his colleague made them read bizarre, nonsensical stories by Kafka and David Lynch.

Try this: Expose yourself to unusual experiences that may surprise or confuse you. There's no surefire prescription for "meaning threat," but experiment with immersive avant-garde theater (like Sleep No More) or David Lynch-style surrealist shorts (humanoid rabbits muttering non sequiturs—chew on that)...or hightail it to a country where you don't know the language or customs. (Other research has found that people are 20 percent more likely to solve difficult problems after thinking back to culture-shock experiences they had when living abroad.)