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Your Brain is a Muscle, Make it Strong with “Lumosity” Today

Your Brain is a Muscle, Make it Strong with “Lumosity” Today

By now you have undoubtedly heard about how important it is to keep your brain healthy and active. In order to prevent issues as you age, such as Alzheimers, you should try to exercise your mind. This can be done through many different types of brain-training games, but unfortunately they can often be a bit boring or repetitive. For example, Sudoku or other puzzle games can be fun at first, but once you get the hang of them it can feel a bit robotic.

Some apps claim to be brain-training, but often focus on one specific goal such as focus or logical thinking. Plus, those apps tend to ignore progress reporting which can present challenges when trying to monitor any type of improvement.

Why You Should Care about Brain Health

When discussing mental fitness, your mind may conjure up memories of school exams or even IQ tests, but it’s actually more about your physical and emotional health. When your brain is healthy it’s easier for you to slow down, decompress and even boost a flagging memory [1].

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Now think about the way your mind and body are connected. Do you remember the last time you had a really great workout? Maybe you ran a mile or biked through your neighborhood. That physical activity increased your oxygen flowing up to your brain and triggered a response of released endorphins. These are the chemicals that make you feel happy. When you have a constant stream of endorphins, you tend to be a happier person and maintain a balanced lifestyle. Mental exercise is just as important! Brain games like those found in the Lumosity App can increase your ability to reason and solve problems.

Sometimes it can be hard to turn your brain off. Maybe after an especially stressful day you couldn’t wait to sleep, but despite how physically tired you were, you couldn’t stop thinking. In this instance, brain health and fitness is crucial. If you’re mentally fit enough to be able to visualize something peaceful, you can physically reduce tension in your body and mind. Lumosity can help you achieve that state faster.

The Right App for Brain-Training

Luminosity is an innovative app that excels where the other apps lack. The impressive amount of thought that went into this app was no coincidence. In fact, it was created by a team of real-life scientists and designers who wanted to explore new ways to challenge the brain while simultaneously pushing cognitive research forward.

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What Makes Lumosity So Different From Other Brain Training Apps

Over 85 million users already enjoy challenging their brains with cognitive games, and they’re never bored; you can access a new brain workout every day of the month. The creators of the app made sure the experience seems fun and not at all like a chore.

Lumosity’s scientists took common cognitive and neuropsychological tasks, along with some new challenges, and partnered with designers to they transform these tasks into fun games that challenge core cognitive skills. They accomplished this though game-like memory training, attention training and more all while monitoring and tracking progress.

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    Along with a training calendar (showing days you have played at least one game), users can also access a performance trend. This feature monitors performance from the previous four weeks and tells you how many points you are in either direction. Performance categories include speed, memory, attention and flexibility.

      This free app can be used by almost anyone, as it comes in English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, and Spanish [2].

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      Don’t Wait and Start Your Training Now

      The app is available for Apple devices from the App Store. Not only is it free, but it’s easy to use and fun, too! What’s holding you back from having a healthier brain that gives you the ability to take charge of your life and also extend it? Try Lumosity today.

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      Brian Lee

      Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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      Last Updated on April 19, 2021

      The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

      The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

      Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

      The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

      Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

      In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

      When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

      Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

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      1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

      When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

      As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

      That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

      The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

      What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

      Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

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      There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

      So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

      2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

      When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

      No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

      3. Move Your Body

      A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

      It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

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      So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

      4. Connect With Another Person

      Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

      One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

      Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

      5. Use Your Imagination

      When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

      That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

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      And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

      Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

      Final Thoughts

      Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

      Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

      More on the Importance of Taking a Break

      Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

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