A certain degree of intelligence may be granted at birth, but you can still sharpen your mind or dull it down. As many know, you can amp up your IQ by playing brain-games like Sudoku and getting a top-notch education, while you can kill brain cells with drug use and alcohol consumption. What you may not know, however, is that your busy, routine-filled schedule may be causing your brain-drain. By learning to break bad habits, you can keep your mind keen and make brain-boosting practices a way of life.

Step 1

Get eight hours of sleep a night. According to a study at Loughborough University’s Sleep Research Centre, getting fewer than eight hours can actually lower your IQ by one point for every hour you lose. Reasoning skills and speech fluency can also suffer.

Step 2

Break your routine. Putting your mind on auto-pilot doesn’t exercise your brain, but adding novelty to your daily activities can. Try changing your morning commute by using a different route, carpooling or rolling down your windows. Change your shopping routine by visiting a farmer’s market instead of the usual grocery store.

Step 3

Engage your senses. Multi-sensory experiences help the brain absorb and remember information. Strengthen your senses by going on walks outside, drinking herbal tea and taking baths with aromatic bath salts. Take the world in with all of your senses--not just your sight.

Step 4

Eat a healthy diet. Swedish researchers have said that frequent fish consumption can lead to a higher IQ, possibly due to the high levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in fish. Other hearty-healthy foods can also boost IQ, as a healthy heart pumps more oxygen to the brain than an unhealthy one.

Step 5

Get plenty of exercise. As with eating healthy foods, getting regular exercise (about thirty minutes a day) can help keep the heart and brain fit, positively impacting mental function.

Step 6

Socialize. Share ideas and discuss provocative topics to boost brainpower and improve your mental health.

Step 7

Use your non-dominant hand. Try writing, brushing your teeth or dialing telephone numbers with your non-dominant hand to exercise lesser-used parts of your brain.