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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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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How Exercising Makes You More Productive

How Exercising Makes You More Productive

It’s no secret that exercising will improve your health. Working out on a regular basis is good for your internal organs and help you get fit. But, did you know that living the fitness lifestyle will improve your brain power and make you a more productive person? That’s right! Going to the gym isn’t all about bulking up and getting amazing six-pack abs to impress the ladies and gentlemen at the beach.

Helps You Handle Stress Better

Anyone who works in the corporate world will tell you that it’s an extremely stressful situation to be in. Those who doesn’t let stress knock them down tend to perform better at the office. It’s not uncommon that people voluntarily leave a perfectly well paid position because they can’t deal with the stress and anxiety that comes with the job. If only they knew exercising will fix this problem…

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Here is a video by Dnews which will explain how exercising helps you cope better with stress.

Gives You More Brain Cells

According to the process of neurogenesis, the rate of which your brain cells are growing will decrease as you get older. Luckily, this can be prevented. In 2008, a study showed the brain cells of the people who exercise on a regular basis have a higher brain growth rate. Meaning, adults who don’t neglect the gym have more brain power than those who choose to be inactive. This causes them to have an advantage in their workplace in order to advance their careers.

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More Energy

I am no scientist but I know a thing or two. So, here is a quick biology lesson: The majority of the cells in your brain contain something called mitochondria. The purpose of this component is to produce the energy that your body needs. Now, when you exercise, it causes your body to develop more mitochondria, which leads to you having more energy (you can read all about it at WebMD). And the more energy your brain has to use, the sharper your decision making skills will be.

Makes You Happier

When you do intense exercises, it releases a huge amount of endorphins and serotonin into your body. Did you know, a study from Duke University showed that depressed adults who started to exercise had the same positive results as those who took antidepressant Zoloft? This is why endorphins and serotonin are known as natural cures for depression. The benefits don’t stop there. Endorphins improve your abilities to prioritize tasks. This helps you stay focus on urgent matters on the workplace rather than procrastinate.

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Gives You a Memory Boost

Your memory works better when you are active. The American College of Sports Medicine published a study that proves this. In the experiments, a group of students were given some a list of letters to memorize. Then, one part of the group was asked to go run, and lift weights while the other part of the group was asked to stay put. When the students were tested on their memories, it turned out that the group who went exercising scored much better than the other one.

Working out won’t turn you into a genius but it will help you gain more from your life. I don’t know about you, but that’s enough reason for me to dedicate one hour a day to into staying fit.

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