There are small things you can do every day to make yourself smarter—and some of them are fun, too. These six perfectly enjoyable activities can make you smarter immediately, as well as gradually over time.
1. Read more. Read books. Read magazines. Read the back of your soap bottle while you’re on the toilet. Just reading anything will make you smarter. Seriously.
2. Take up an instrument or just listen to various kinds of music. Not only can music make you more popular at parties, but studies show it improves your memory capacity as well.
3. Play mind games. Not the kinds you play with the people you date, but actual mind games: Trivia, sudoku, the Jumble, crosswords, puzzles. They all keep your mind sharp (and in some cases, may improve your vocabulary, too).
4. Keep a journal. Whether you’re writing to vent about your rude boss and crappy landlord or to daydream about the guy or girl of your dreams or just that you’re really excited about Captain America: Civil War, keeping a diary can keep you sane, as well as improving your communication skills.
5. Work out. A healthy body is pretty well documented to link to a healthy mind. Not only that, but you’ll also improve your coordination and responsiveness, and the endorphins will make you happier. Pretty awesome, right?
6. Cook. Studies show that people who cook regularly tend to be more creative, better at multitasking, and more detail-oriented—and, yes, smarter.