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9 Ways To Get The Most Out Of Your Mind

Spaced Interval Repetition (SIR)

This is a learning technique that uses repeated testing over increasing intervals until what you're trying to memorize finally sticks. 

You test yourself a lot at first, then less and less over time.

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9 Ways To Get The Most Out Of Your Mind

9 Ways To Get The Most Out Of Your Mind

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/sharp-mind_n_5411762

huffpost.com

9

Key Ideas

Never stop learning

Research shows that people with more education have a greater cognitive reserve and this works as a protection in the face of mental decline.

But there's a twist to it: educated people tend to get Alzheimer's at a later age but once they get it, they're getting it at a higher load of the disease and appear to decline at a faster rate.

Crosswords

Cognitive activities like crossword puzzles, reading or playing music may delay memory decline among people who eventually developed dementia.

Stereotype threat

It happens when a person is in a situation where they are anxious that they may conform to a negative stereotype aimed at his or her social group.

Positive stereotypes, or success on previous memory tasks, can help combat this negativity. 

Engage all your senses

Research shows that involving multiple senses, like the picture of a flower with a floral scent, enhances people's ability to memorize what their senses are taking in.

Socialize

Research suggests that socializing may help our minds because it encourages people to take better care of themselves, reduces stress and releases beneficial neurohormones, stemming from the emotions usually caused by being with loved ones.

One thing at a time

Splitting our attention is more problematic than productive.

We generally have a hard time refocusing when we switch attention between tasks.

Spaced Interval Repetition (SIR)

This is a learning technique that uses repeated testing over increasing intervals until what you're trying to memorize finally sticks. 

You test yourself a lot at first, then less and less over time.

Exercise

It can reverse the shrinking of the hippocampus, the part of the brain essential to the formation of long-term memory that tends to shrink as we age.

Even just six minutes of exercise post-learning can help boost memory.

Eat right

Researchers found that consuming foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (like salmon, walnuts, and soybeans) may help counter sugar's brain drain.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Buying New Books

Lifelong learners are often found browsing for books on Amazon, visiting their local library or book stores. They also ask people for book suggestions, especially ...

Asking Questions During Class

Deep engagement with learning makes the experience more valuable and easier to remember.

You can take notes about the material to ask questions later or even send questions by email or ask for an appointment.

Learning To Earn

Continuing education is vital to maintain your career growth. Lifelong learners view their education as a portfolio with several components.

If you want to earn more, consider learning sales and marketing skills. Those skills are useful even for non-sales jobs.

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Keeping Your Brain Healthy
Keeping Your Brain Healthy
  • We can improve every aspect of our lives by keeping our most vital organ, our brain, healthy.
  • Exercise is not only good for your body but helps your brain by enhancing many brain s...
Tea and Brain Health

Drinking tea is good for the brain, helping regulate the age-related decline. It also strengthens the brain connections, the neural network inside the brain, making information processing more efficient.

Even coffee is said to be good to ward off the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Better Heart = Better Brain

Anything that is bad for the heart is bad for the brain, including smoking cigarettes, or having a sedentary lifestyle, or having diabetes.

Your blood sugar, body mass index, diet and blood pressure all contribute to the health of your heart, and your brain.

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Over-The-Counter Pills
Over-The-Counter Pills

About 25 percent of adults above 50 years of age try to improve their brain health and memory by taking supplements.

These pills claim to enhance memory, attention and foc...

Powdered Nutrients: The Facts
  • Most pills are a combination of vitamins and minerals, along with omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Scientific studies show the natural forms (like fish in case of omega-3 fatty acids) contain the real benefits, and popping supplements do not have the same effect.
  • Vitamin E supplements can help to a limited extent but high doses can increase the risk of a hemorrhagic stroke.
  • Vitamin B supplements are only to be used if one’s normal diet is not enough for them, or in case of a deficiency.
  • Taking time to do some exercise and having a plant-based diet is a better long term health solution.
Our Brains are Upgradable

Our minds are not static, but dynamic. The Brain has the capability to modify itself, change its structure, and to alter its biochemistry, at any age.

We can renew, rewire, ...

Juggling

You can improve your grey matter by learning a new, complex skill like juggling.

The simple act of juggling has recently been linked with better brain function. A new study reveals that learning to juggle may cause certain areas of your brain to grow.

Learn Something New

Even if it is just for 10 minutes before going to bed, you should be learning new stuff every day, a new skill, a new word, a new kind of idea or philosophy. Expose your brain to new frontiers.

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How Memories are Formed
  1. Create a memory. Our brain sends signals in a particular pattern associated with the event we're experiencing and creates connections between our neurons, called s...
Effective Ways to Improve Your Memory
  • Meditate to improve working memory. Take a pause to empty your mind and to reduce stress.
  • Although still debatable, drink coffee to help improve memory consolidation.
  • Eat berries for better long-term memory. Berries contain flavanoids,  which appear to strengthen connections in the brain.
  • Exercise not only to improve memory recall, but also to enhance cognitive abilities.
  • Chew gum to make stronger memories. It is proven that it increases activity in the hippocampus. It also increases heart rate which causes more blood to flow in the brain.
  • Sleep more to consolidate and easily remember memories.
Loneliness Is A Kind Of Pain
  • Loneliness affects 19 to 43 per cent of adults who are now past 60 years of age.
  • Just as physical pain is a warning from the body telling us to take appropriate ac...
Loneliness And Mental Health

Studies show that older adults who are lonely see a decline in their thinking abilities, which is rapid if paired with other factors like physical inactivity, anxiety, poor sleep and high blood pressure.

Prolonged social isolation is a kind of mental stress leading to various mental and physical health issues like faster ageing, dementia and cognitive decline. It has also been linked to the factors that lead to Alzheimer’s disease, like a build-up of certain toxic proteins in the brain.

Social Activities As A Form Of Self-Care
  • The negative impact of prolonged loneliness can be curbed with maintaining high-quality relationships and social activity.
  • How we manage our feelings and relationships is important for our brain’s health.
  • Self-care is an essential component of our mental and physical health, and we have to focus our attention towards better sleep and exercise routines, healthy eating and engaging in enjoyable activities.
Doodle to remember

Drawing can be a more effective memory aid than writing and rewriting. You don't actually have to be good at drawing to reap the memory benefits. It is effective because it involves multiple ways ...

Getting wiser with age

Some things do get better with age: the ability to make decisions, control emotions, and have compassion for others.

The challenge to aging well is to be an optimist, resilient and pro...

3 Components of Aging
  • Physical;
  • Cognitive - when memory and other abilities decline;
  • Psycho-social:  includes things like well-being, happiness, quality of life, control of emotions, socialization.

Successful aging mainly refers to better well-being, greater happiness, and not just arriving at old age, but thriving and even flourishing.

Strategies for successful aging
  • Calorie restriction
  • Physical activity
  • Keeping your brain active: do something that is somewhat challenging. Not too stressful, but somewhat challenging. 
  • An appropriate degree of socializing
  • Attitude and behavior: resilience, optimism, compassion, doing things for others, volunteering activities.
  • Other strategies like meditation for reducing stress.  

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Never Too Late To Learn

The general perception is that an old brain past its prime cannot learn new things, as it cannot grasp information like a young adult.

New studies show that complex skills like reading ...

The Adaptiveness Of The Brain
  • The adaptiveness of the brain, which scientists have now better understood is called Neuroplasticity.
  • Studies show that brains of adults and elders can learn a new language just as a child could, provided they get the opportunity and are not inhibited towards making mistakes.

A child's brain is indeed completely raw, known as 'Tabula Rasa' and they can find it easier to master certain skills of perception, but at the same time, adults have the advantage of analysis, self-reflection and greater discipline.

Psychological Barriers

The barrier to learning in adults may consist of preconceived notions, negativity or lack of confidence.
Older adults also underestimate the power of their own memories, reinforcing the belief that they cannot learn or remember, and making it a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Education has no age limit, and older adults need to break these psychological barriers to learning, leading to profound benefits and a sharper mind.

The Science of Memory
  1. Encoding - the stage when the brain consciously acknowledges information based on our senses. When we attach meaning or factual knowledge to any of this sensory input, that'...
Lifestyle Changes That Can Improve Memory
  • Get a good night's sleep or take a power nap after learning something new, to help retain and retrieve memories better. Sleep deprivation and acquisition of too much information will not help you save those memories.
  • Get moving, to improve the flow of oxygen-rich blood in your brain and to trigger neuron growth and new connections in the brain - critical for memory.
  • Improve your diet. Fats from food can build up the brain, resulting to poor blood flow.
Mnemonics

Any system or device designed to aid memory:

  • patterns of letters or words (common mnemonics)
  • ideas (memory palace)
  • associations (chunking)

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