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Many People Fall Into This Trap Of Thinking. If You Can Overcome This, You’ll Be Outstanding

Many People Fall Into This Trap Of Thinking. If You Can Overcome This, You’ll Be Outstanding

It’s February now, and chances are, most of us have long since let go of our resolutions for 2017. It’s such a familiar happenstance – you want to lose weight and get fit, so you start an exercise routine. You pat your back every day that you do it. One day, you fall ill or just have too much work to do. So, you skip exercise that day. Then, you skip another day and one more. And then, poof, exercising is out the window altogether. Why? Because we fall into the trap of thinking that it’s everything or nothing!

It is the greatest mistake of all to do nothing because you can only do a little…

Imagine a day when you have far too many errands to run and a lot to do on the professional front too. That day, you know you cannot make it to the 50-minute yoga class or the 45-minute bike ride. But, what stops you from taking a quick 15-minute jog? We stop ourselves. We fall into the trap of thinking that if we cannot do it fully, we cannot do it at all. It’s a perfectionism trap – it either has to be done perfectly, or it shouldn’t be done at all.

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Those harsh, unrealistic promises we so often break

We often tend to slip from our goals or even resolutions because we tend to make very black and white promises to ourselves. It’s like when you drink too much at a party, wake up with the mother of all hangovers, and swear that you will never touch another drop of tipple for as long as you live, so help you God. How long does that last? A day or two, or maybe till the next weekend. You drink again, and it’s back to berating yourself and your ineffectual willpower.

The problem doesn’t lie in your willpower to begin with. It lies in making all-or-nothing promises to yourself and falling victim to this trap of thinking. Instead of harshly telling yourself to ban the drinks, make a promise to yourself that you will nurse each drink for at least 30 minutes and that you will not let more than three drinks pass down your throat. That’s a promise you can stick to, for sure.

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Open your heart to shades of gray

The black-and-white trap of thinking is also very limiting. It makes you think of yourself as either someone successful or a loser. You are either worth something, or you’re worthless. The problem that arises has got to do with self-esteem. If you are feeling good, you might think too highly of yourself and have a gargantuan ego to match. And if you are in the doldrums, then your self-esteem takes a battering. With a thinking process like this, you tend to become judgmental too – labeling your friends, family and colleagues with the same “good” or “bad” definitions.

In turn, thinking like this makes you an anxious, somewhat depressed person who has low self-worth. A better way to deal with this is to expand your thoughts and open your mind and heart. You cannot just be good or bad. Everyone is a mixture of good and bad, and most of us are aiming to be more “good” and less “bad.”

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Step out of the black-and-white trap of thinking

Black-and-white thinking makes us prejudicial and makes us look at everything with a jaundiced eye. It literally closes the open doors in our lives and ruins personal and professional relationships when we are too busy measuring and labeling people to realize their worth.

This is also one of the main reasons we simply give up on something the moment we slip up on it. We become immersed in the need for a perfect outcome, forgetting that life often lies in the journey to a goal. All we need to remember is that life is negotiable – it always allows for U-turns!

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Rima Pundir

Health, Wellness & Productivity Writer

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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