Tag Archive | practice

7 Ways to Overhaul Your Brain

While most exercise is focused on strengthening and improving your physical body and muscles, there is very little focus on keeping your brain sharp and healthy. This is interesting because the brain is obviously the most important organ in your body, not only controlling the muscles people spend hours working to build up, but also your memory, thought process, attitude, etc. Don’t get me wrong, abs are great, but the brain needs to be supplemented too. It is far more important to your overall well-being. Here are the best exercises/activities that you can do to keep your brain in tip-top condition:

1. Challenge Your Brain

The majority of people are stuck in ruts. They go to the same job everyday, hang out with the same friends and eat at the same places. While that may feel safe, it’s not the most stimulating lifestyle for your brain. Those synapses have been built up enough, so try something that you do NOT know how to do! Buy a model car kit, master the art of sudoku or crosswords, or go pick up another major at your nearest college. The point is you need to be learning new things to keep your brain honest. Form new synapses by forcing your mind to work in ways it has not worked before. Just like physical workouts, doing too much of the same exercise will eventually give no results. Switch it up!

2. Brain-Food

Eat:

– Sources of Omega-3 fatty acids, mainly fatty fish and grass-fed animals. Omega-3′s are instrumental in making your brain membranes fluid, allowing signals to be passed back and forth. Obviously communication is pretty important in the brain, so keep those signals flowing!

– Enough food everyday! Your brain needs energy too, not just your muscles.

Do Not Eat:

– Too much cholesterol, high amounts are linked to brain diseases like Alzheimers.

– Too much fat, sugar, etc. All of that bad stuff is linked to brain health in addition to overall bodily health! System-wide diseases like hypertension, Type-II Diabetes and obesity have been linked to loss in cognitive ability and memory loss. If it’s not good for your physique, it’s probably not good for your brain either.

3. Sleep Well

R.E.M. sleep is critical for the for being able to retain information and maintaining learning ability. Sleep is the time when your brain resets, builds new synapses and brain cells and rids itself of the by-products of normal use. Sleep deprivation leaves you feeling not only tired, but less able to perform simple to advanced cognitive functions. So make sure you are getting that healthy minimum of 6, if not 8 hours of sleep per night. If that’s impossible, take a short nap during the day. Naps can do a lot more than you think, so use the info below to decide how long of a nap you need:

2-5 Minute – Reduces sleepiness

5-20 Minute – Increases alertness, stamina and cognitive performace.

20-30 Minute – Perks of the 2-20 minute nap, plus helps with muscle memory and clears the brain of information build-up, hence improving memory ability.

50-90 Minute – This get’s into the REM sleep cycle, so it helps with memory consolidation and virtually everything else. REM sleep is the one cycle that we as humans need to live without going. Alternate sleep cycles adjust the body to going directly into REM sleep, skipping out on the other non-important cycles. This nap will leave you a little groggy but will reset everything and restore complete cognitive power unless you have a massive REM sleep debt built up already.

4. Remember Stuff!

When it comes to memory, the use it or lose it rule applies. And considering your cognitive ability is relatively useless if you cannnot remember what you learned yesterday, you should probably start using it. Try pulling out an old photo album and recollecting entire days or events related to the photos you see. Really try to recall even the most insignificant of details; this should be a workout for your brain. Even try to remember a full conversation that you had yesterday, anything that get’s your memory going. If you’re having a lot of trouble with even those exercises, start a journal to get yourself to remember at the end of each day. That will build you up immediately so that you can start remembering less recent events.

5. Relax Regularly

With constant activity, overthinking and stress, your brain can get very over-loaded with a bunch of thought that just does not need to be there. More importantly, stress increases the chances of dimentia and Alzhiemers. Stress relseases the fight-or-flight hormones into your brain, reducintg your ability to think clearly. So throw out the insticts and relax instead: Take 15-30 minutes during the day and just sit in silence. Eyes open or closed, breath deeply for a little bit and try to empty your mind. Think about nothing. Then meditate, pray, do yoga, or just sit there. Whatever suits you. Just get that relaxation break in during the day so you can clear your mind.

6. Concentration

The ability to concentrate is obviously huge in terms of cognitive ability. You will dramatically increase your ability to think clearly and efficiently if you are able to concentrate better. So:

1. Practice! While you are relaxing, concentrate on something. One thing that you want or a problem that needs to be solved. Keep your mind on that topic for the length of your relaxation period. This is much more difficult than it sounds so just keep doing it. If you space out, shake your head and go back to concentrating!

2. Realize when you are distracted and what is causing it. If it is something that is weighing on you, address it right there and then! If you keep getting distracted, you will just be inefficient at whatever you are consciously trying to accomplish.

7. Alcohol is a poison, you know…

Don’t go overboard. Alcohol is just bad for the brain in large amounts. Check out this page which lists a seemingly infinite amount of brain functions that alcohol abuse impairs. Memory gets hit pretty hard in addition to overall cognitive ability. If you feel the need to intoxicated, try other safer drugs (like marijuana) instead of the “devil’s juice”.

Via http://www.highexistence.com

Practice makes perfect

For those of you who have read the “Outliersby Michael Gladwell and/or my 30-second review on it, here is a marvellous infographic that shows what exactly 10,000 hours of practice look like.

Enjoy 🙂

I read and review – Outliers by Michael Gladwell

Today is the launch of my new column I read and review where I will be giving you my 30sec. opinion on my last readings.

Your feedback on contents of the review and its visual formatting is important and what is more, interesting to me, so please, feel free and encouraged to share it in the comments below. 🙂

Without further due, my first guest, Michael Gladwell:

(click to enlarge)

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Five Ways to Break Through Writers Block

Bottom line is there are two types of writers: those who believe in writers block and those who don’t. Neither will deny the magic and energy that possesses an author when inspiration rears its mysterious head, but where their approach to writing differs is how the time is spent between those moments of inspiration.

Picture a blank page and what do you see? A canvas waiting to be filled with your words and your voice? Or a taunting emptiness that has you despairing over your first line?

When you are daunted by the incessant cursor winking at you from the shoreless white sea on your computer, one of the biggest mistakes a writer can make is succumbing to doubt.

Here are five practical tips that will snap you out of your daze and dissolve your writers block so that you can get back to the book you’re dying to write.

1) Just write!

Remember that nothing is perfect the first go-around, and if you let a blank sheet of paper intimidate you, you’re doomed from the beginning.

A book doesn’t write itself after all.

Take a walk and clear you head. Put on some music and brew some coffee. Then crack your knuckles, sit down in front of your computer and type out ideas, images – whatever pops into your head. Perhaps transcribe a dialogue between two friends, or something you overheard in line at the grocery store; before you know it, you’ll have painted an entire scene.

Maybe the language and tone aren’t your best ever, maybe the flow is all wrong and a section or two jumps into a completely different dimension, but now you have something real, something to work with and mold to your liking.

Even if out of an hour’s worth of work you keep only two or three sentences, you now have direction.

At the very least you now know what to avoid the next time you write.

2) Make an outline

Think about the beginning, middle and end of your project. Where are you starting, where are you headed and where would you like to end?

Jot down general ideas and details you plan to mention. Find a rhythm and progression to the entire project.

Reestablish your authority and realize that you can speak confidently on the subject you’ve chosen.

Once you have your bearings and a firm grip on your subject, you’ll move ahead with greater clarity and less stress.

3) Exercise

Writing exercises are another great way of dodging writers block. Sometimes all a writer needs is a little push in the right direction, and exercises can be just the ticket.

In addition to sharpening your writing skills and developing your own voice, exercises also get your creative juices flowing.

Take a few minutes, step away from the project that has you sweating, and write something for fun. These exercises can range anywhere from using a word randomly selected to detailing the dream you had the previous evening to the quirky how-did-this-green-umbrella-get-in-this-room explanations.

Long story short, you can’t write if you’re not enjoying yourself. Remember the reason you’re writing at all. Exercises can help you laugh, learn and realize your passion for writing all over again.

4) Practice makes perfect

Inspiration comes in spurts, but, like sleeping, you can regulate your cycle.

Set aside a specific hour or two each day devoted strictly to writing. Say you prefer writing in the morning. Then wake up an hour early, brew some coffee, and pull a chair up to your computer.

Before the end of the week, you’ll have a writing schedule ingrained in your daily routine, and you’ll discover that your creative groove makes its appearance at the time you’ve established.

5) Who’s listening?

Don’t forget that you’re writing for an audience – one that targets your writing for its authority and knowledge on a given subject.

Like you, your audience wants the whole story. They want the facts and scenes delivered to them without hesitation, without vagueness, but most importantly, without dilly-dallying. The last thing your audience wants is to be bored.

Writers block can be a good indication that you’re simply bored with what you’ve written, and you can safely deduce that your audience will be as well when they open your future book.

Go back and read what you’ve written. Where did the energy fizzle out and the tone take a nosedive? What was the most interesting part and what made it so invigorated? Your readers are smart people, not unlike yourself, and the flaws as well as the virtues you notice in your own writing will be the same ones your audience sees as well.

Some authors envision a single person to whom they are telling their story in order to give their audience a face, a listening ear and a doubtful expression.

For example, Kurt Vonnegut pictured himself writing to his sister when he started a book. For him, she acted as the devil’s advocate, frowning when a sentence sounded sour, laughing when a scene tickled her.

Don’t get bogged down by the incomprehensible size of your audience. Take a page from the Vonnegut book on writing and picture a friend, a family member, anyone you trust, and let them be your guide!

 
Via Wordclay Writing Help Center

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