A new day starts and your brain is like a fully-charged battery- fully active- but as the day proceeds you become overloaded and drained because of streams of information. The world can be overstimulating with ongoing tweets, Facebook flashes, emails, radio, television, and attention-grabbing billboards. By the time the clock says that it’s time to go home you shuffle along like a zombie.
With this daily information influx, how can you develop and expand your ability to learn?
Step out of the world through meditation.
Release your mind and let it wander away from task-related thoughts. By “letting go” you boost the capacity of your brain to retain information and to perform at a higher level. Breaking out of your regular routine and rigid structure inspires creativity and allows the brain to recharge.
“Empty your mind of all thoughts. Let your heart be at peace.”- Lao Tse
Stress and tension from excess mental activity are released by meditating. Relaxing the mind and body is crucial to reaching a thoughtless state and for relaxation. Meditation decreases the overload of “noise” in the brain which has been shown to improve memory and scores on intelligence tests. It has many positive effects on memory such as regulating alpha rhythm brain wave – crucial to reducing the volume of distracting information. According to research studies on mindful meditation, brain cells use waves or frequencies to regulate the flow of information like radio stations that broadcast at particular frequencies. The alpha rhythm is particularly active in the cells that process touch, sight, and sound in the brain’s outermost layer, called the cortex, where it helps to suppress irrelevant or distracting sensations and regulate the flow of sensory information between brain regions.
By allowing yourself to become fully immersed during meditation, the brain makes deeper connections and the ability to recall information is enhanced. Silence, or the sounds of nature, relax the mind. Watch your thoughts drift away and breathe away the tension.
There are times when you need good concentration. Those may just be the right times to take a drive or get away to the nearest coffee hangout. Although this may sound counter-intuitive, a slight level of distraction can sometimes be the perfect formula for creativity and heightened focus according to a study in a consumer research journal. Humans are social creatures. Being in the vicinity of others (on the road or in a coffee shop) can be psychologically reassuring enough to allow better concentration than being solitary.
Advances in neuroscience have good news for all music lovers. Music activates every part of the brain. Music is a universal healing tune that can uplift your mood, motivate you, and even help you to concentrate.
Take on a challenge!
Get out your surfboard and take on the waves or go bungie jumping. If you are not ready for an adventure of that sort, there are other relatively simple challenges that can be done from the comfort of your couch. Challenging your brain can be as simple as thinking of names of famous people that begin with the same letter. Even a crossword puzzle or board game stimulates the brain. Research indicates that unlike being glued to a television set, surfing the web activates complex reasoning and decision making. While watching television is passive, the virtual world is interactive and boosts brain power.
Confirm that booking! Venture forth.
Boosting brain power comes from new experiences. Examples include learning a foreign language, learning how to play a music instrument, participating in community activities, and traveling. With the memories of unforgettable experiences, the benefits of travel endure.
Neuroscience Professor Huganir described the brain as a circuit board where new experiences create brand new circuits. Emotional peaks with electro-chemical connections causing heightened emotional states can facilitate memory and learning, so turn up those emotions as you step out of your rut and into the unfamiliar.
|||^||frontiers: The role of alpha-rhythm states in perceptual learning: insights from experiments and computational models|
|||^||Science Daily: Listening to music lights up the whole brain|
|||^||Medical News Today: Some emotional responses to music are universal, study finds|
|||^||Be Brain Fit: Smart Ways to Improve Concentration and Focus|
|||^||Chicago Tribune: Travel as a health regimen|