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Brain Power Level Up: 8 Ways To Remember Absolutely Everything You Learn

Brain Power Level Up: 8 Ways To Remember Absolutely Everything You Learn

Many people wish they had a better memory for revising and learning, but through using only a few tricks you can vastly improve your memory. The mind has a phenomenal ability to store and recall huge amounts of information. Anyone can improve their learning abilities and their memory; check out these 8 ways to remember absolutely everything you learn below.

1. Summarize every paragraph you read

After you have finished reading a paragraph, write a small summary of the paragraph in the margins of the page. This means you have to process the paragraph, make sense of it in your mind, then rephrase it in a way you can immediately understand.

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2. Pace yourself

If you put yourself under pressure to learn a lot in a small amount of time it is very unlikely that you will succeed. The pressure will make you feel stressed and you may struggle to stay focused. Set realistic goals that you can actually stick to so you only have to worry about learning.

3. Remove all distractions

The world we live in is filled with distractions, from social media, to your phone, to an open-plan office. You will learn best if you shut out all distractions, so switch off your internet and mobile and sit in a room alone. It is also helpful to switch off any music, or replace it with music without lyrics. It isn’t enough to say yes to learning – you also need to say no to the distractions.

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4. Use repetition

Write down everything you learn at least three times. This may seem excessive but it means you are far more likely to remember everything. Writing out facts will help you to recall them quickly, and it will help you to realize what you already know so you can focus on the facts you don’t know as well.

5. Use visuals

Many people are unaware of the link between vision and memory, but you are much more likely to remember something if you associate an image with it. For instance, if you are introduced to 10 new people over a telephone, you may only remember a name or two. However, if you were introduced to the same people at a party, you are more likely to remember more people because you have an image associated with them.

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To help you to remember everything you learn, visualize what you are learning about happening in front of you. The image will stick in your mind, making it easier for you to recall the information.

6. Learn about things you enjoy

It is much easier for us to remember things that we enjoy rather than things that bore us. For example, it is very likely that you still know all of the words to an engaging song you haven’t heard for years. If you are learning about something that you find dull it will be tough for you to become genuinely interested, but it is likely you can actually make it interest you.

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Ask yourself these questions; why do I find this dull? How can I make it interesting? Will learning this benefit me? Can I use this knowledge to improve my situation?

7. Make sure you get enough sleep

How much sleep you get will determine how well you learn and remember things. Instead of staying up all night to study, make sure you get a full night’s sleep so you can be refreshed before you start learning. This means you are more likely to stay focused and remember what you learn.

8. Connect what you’re learning about with something you already know about

The more mental connections you can attach to a piece of information, the more likely you are to remember. When you learn something new, try to link it to something you already know. This will make it easier for you to recall the information.

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Amy Johnson

Amy is a writer who blogs about relationships and lifestyle advice.

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Last Updated on September 17, 2020

5 Practical Ways to Get Over a Mental Block

5 Practical Ways to Get Over a Mental Block

There’s nothing quite like a state of “flow” when you’re working. The rare moments when your inspiration aligns with your motivation likely lead to some of your most creative work. Plus, it feels great to actually check a task or project off the list so you can move on to the next thing. Meanwhile, a mental block — its opposite — can cause work to feel laborious and uninspired. Forget creativity when you have a mental block — it makes it difficult even to start working on what you need to do.

A mental block can manifest in several ways. Perhaps your imposter syndrome is squelching your creative ideas, for instance, or you’re overwhelmed by the breadth of a project and its impending deadline. Maybe you’re just tired or stressed.

Either way, having a mental block feels like being trapped in your own head, and it can seriously dampen your ability to think outside the box. The problem is, you’re so locked into your own perspective that you don’t see more innovative approaches to your problems.[1]

Luckily, jumping over these mental hurdles is simpler than you think. You just need the right strategies to get your flow back.

Try these five practical ways to overcome a mental block.

1. Break Your Project Down

A few years ago, I was working on changing a company product that I believed would hugely benefit our customers. Sounds great, right?

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As inspired as I was to make people’s lives easier, though, the sheer magnitude of the task at hand felt overwhelming. Every morning, I cracked open my laptop to work and felt totally paralyzed. I loved the idea, yes, but actualizing it felt risky. What if it didn’t turn out the way I pictured in my mind? More importantly, where would I even begin?

A former colleague gave me great advice over coffee:

Change how you think. Start by breaking the big project down into small tasks.

When a major project overwhelms you, you only see the entire forest instead of the individual trees. And as you stare it down, you start to feel discouraged by your own lack of progress, thus slowing you down further.

Breaking down a massive task into smaller chunks makes the work feel more manageable. You’ll have multiple clear places to start and end with, which will lend a motivating sense of productivity and mastery to your process. Learn more about it here: The Motivation Flowchart: The Mental Process of Successful People

Think of it as accumulating small wins. When you realize you’re more capable than you have once thought, you’ll develop the momentum and confidence needed to get your big job done little by little.[2]

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2. Change Up Your Scenery

Of course, there’s a time and place for sitting down to get things done. But if you’re experiencing a mental block, switching up your surroundings can make a big difference in your output.

Have you ever noticed how your environment directly impacts your performance and mood?

Your brain associates your physical surroundings with certain feelings and activities. So, if you feel mentally stuck, your mind may need some new sensory stimuli.

During this time in your life, it may not be possible to set up shop at a cafe or move from your cubicle to a conference room, so you may need to think outside the box. If you’re working remotely in a home office, try going to your dining table or couch. If the weather cooperates, sit outside for a bit with your computer or take a walk around the block.

You can also simply rearrange your workspace. Not sure where to begin? Try decluttering. Some studies show that an organized desk enhances productivity.[3]

The point is to stimulate your brain with new sounds and sights. You may find a much-needed dose of inspiration when you work while breathing in the fresh air, listening to city sounds, or staying in the comfort of your own living space.

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3. Do an Unrelated Activity

When it comes to productivity, a bit of distraction isn’t always a bad thing. That’s especially true if your chosen distraction helps you get things done in the long run.

Have you realized how your most creative thoughts tend to bubble up when you’re, say, lying in bed or taking a shower? In their research of the “incubation period,” scientists have discovered that people’s best ideas seem to surface when they aren’t actively trying to solve a problem.[4]

In a 2010 study, participants needed to look for a roommate or new employee based on the profiles that the researchers gave. The people who had a brief “incubation period” — in this case, working on an anagram — consistently made better choices than those who spent more time weighing their options.

If you can’t seem to prime your brain for a project, try doing something completely unrelated to work, such as washing your dishes, working out, or calling a friend. Some experts say finding another low-stake project to work on can help jump-start the creative part of your brain and activate your flow.[5]

The key is to allow your unconscious mind to do its best work: eliciting the new knowledge your conscious mind may be ignoring or suppressing.[6]

4. Be Physical

Feeling antsy? When your mind won’t seem to settle into a state of flow, it may help to swap out your mental activity for a physical one and see how it impacts your perspective.

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While any physical activity is beneficial for your body — and getting up to move can serve as a helpful form of distraction — certain forms of exercise can more directly impact the mind. To be specific, relaxing, flow-based exercises like dance, yoga, or tai chi can create a gentle sense of momentum in your body, which can prime your brain for the same state.

Stress-reducing activities may also be necessary. Meditating or taking slow, deep breaths will also calm your nervous system if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Evidence shows that the logical, creative part of your brain essentially shuts off when you’re stressed.[7]

On the flip side, when your mind and body are relaxed, you can think more clearly, be more creative, and focus for longer periods — all of which will help you overcome a mental block.

5. Don’t Force It

It can be frustrating to fight against your own mind. If your mental block won’t go away after some effort, it may be time to take a break. Forcing creative thoughts only adds to your stress levels, which in turn inhibits your ability to think creatively. And if you sit and stare at a project for too long, you’ll not only waste valuable time but also begin to associate this specific work with frustration and produce work you’re not proud of.

“I know that forcing something is not going to create anything beyond mediocre, so I step aside and work on a different project until it hits me,” the artist Ben Skinner said about his creative process.[8]

If your work isn’t time-sensitive, then it may make sense to step away for a while to focus on something else, be it an administrative task that requires less creativity or a project that you feel motivated to work on.

When the time is right, you’ll find your way back to the original task with a fresh, creative perspective (hopefully).

More on Getting Rid of a Mental Block

Featured photo credit: Jonas Leupe via unsplash.com

Reference

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