Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Unleashing The Power Of Our Mind

It has been said that our brain is capable of such immense powers and that ordinary people use only ten percent of it. William Clement Stone, in his famous book “Success through a Positive Mental Attitude” quotes that ‘whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” This might be a kind of mind-boggling, but it is true. How do we “ordinary people” obtain this goal?

Tapping the power of the mind is not really a difficult task, as long as we know the techniques. It can even be enjoyable to practice them daily, with patience.

      1.      Visualize.

When you read something, a book or a magazine, try to imagine the scenery around it. Pretend it’s a movie. Watch the scenes, hear the sounds. Imagine the scents and feel the texture. This way, neural passages are created, stimulating brain cells. Visualize as many details as you can. This is a great memory booster.

2.      Rest.

A cellphone needs to be recharged when battery power runs out. Long usage and opening too many apps can drain its power. Like a cellphone, our minds need to recharge after long concentration. Closing our eyes and resting is the means to recharge it. Rest ten minutes after an hour of heavy mental task. Sleep at least six hours nightly to give your minds its much-needed rest.

Studies show that storing information in our long-term memory is a complex process, and it needs adequate sleep and rest to perform correctly.

3.      Use mnemonics.

Mnemonics is the art or practice of improving or aiding the memory. This is used in combination with visualization. Use the law of association to facilitate quicker recall. For example, you meet a woman named Angel Bender. In your mind, visualize an angel with her face bending over you. Another popular example is what your music teacher taught you: that the notes on the treble staff are EGBDF, which stands for Every Good Boy Does Fine.

4.      Mental Exercise.

Just as the brain needs rest, it also needs exercise. Like our bodies, our mind thrives in the alternate shifting of exercise and rest.

Trying something new and different will increase our mental flexibility, our reasoning capability, and memory hold. Try your hand at solving brain games like Sudoku or scrabble. Try also computer video games that stimulate our mental ability. A new set of neural pathways are created which can increase mind power.

5.       Be stress-free.

Physical, emotional, and mental stress can exact a heavy toll on our whole system. A little stress can prepare us for bigger challenges in life, but too much of it can be our enemy. Staying focused on a task while under stress decreases our capabilities and may produce unwanted results. Relax, and get into the habit of distressing yourself.

Interacting and socializing with family and friends is a good stress reliever. Lavish love on a pet. Take time to meditate. Spend an afternoon listening to your favorite music. These can soothe tense nerves and increase feelings of well-being that improves focus.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Keeping The Brain In Shape

Our brain is a very special organ in our body. Being the seat and center of our own universe, it needs special care to boost its potentials. How does one increase one’s mind power?

A. Diet and supplements

Just like any other part of our body, a healthy diet will be very beneficial. Foods considered as “brain food,” meaning foodstuff that can nourish and stimulate brain cells, are fish, green, leafy vegetables, nuts, lean meat, and olive oil. Many believe that almonds improve memory.

Ensure that your diet is rich in vitamins A, B complex, C, E, and folic acid. Supplements to consider are selenin and alpha-lipoic acid. They are known to be helpful in improving memory.

Be adventurous and try some tea. Tulsi tea, made from holy basil, and Indian herb, and ginseng tea are fine examples of herbs that keep you alert. They can help reduce cortisol, a stress-hormone that deters memory.

Popular herbal supplement  Ginkgo biloba is known to increase blood flow to the brain. Also helpful are St. John’s Wort and apple juice.

B. Daily exercise

A good dose of daily exercise is good not only to the muscles, but also to our brains. Take a twenty-minute walk with your favorite dog. Not only does it lift your spirit, it also keeps your blood flowing in your systems, including those tiny blood vessels in the brain. It makes us think clearly, too. Dance, jog, swim, weight-lift. The list of fun things to do is endless. Learning new steps and new movements activates our brain and form new neural connections.

After the exercise, don’t skip on the rest. Relaxation is just as good. Five to seven hours of restful sleep refreshes us with a joyful readiness to start the day right. It is relaxing for the body, mind, and spirit. “Power naps,” a 20-30 minute doze after lunch break, is believed to be beneficial to our productivity, because it improves and recharges the mind.

Other must-try’s:  meditation and yoga.  In the book “Your Maximum Mind” by Herbert Benson, an experiment was cited wherein group of students who were taught meditation was compared to another group who were not taught any meditation technique. The first group showed that they have a higher level of academic achievement and cognitive growth, through standard academic and psychological tests.

C. Keeping Mentally Active

Keeping ourselves mentally stimulated will sharpen our memories and keep our brain agile. Solving puzzles, writing, and word games are good examples. Learn a foreign language or an instrument. Memorize the names and faces of new acquaintances. Play Scrabble, Pictionary, or Boggle. Reach for your computer and search out for video games that offer brain teasers. Who says they’re only for children? They are useful in keeping our motor and neural nerves active.

Like our muscles, our brain needs exercise and a period of rest after some activity. This is important to give it time to process any incoming information and organize it within. That way, we can access any info with ease when we need to recall.

Tips In Upgrading Our Body’s Mental Processor

That super computer between our ears called the human brain can slow down and lag if we do not take care of it. Actually, we can reverse the process of deterioration and decline, and boost its capacity to a greater potential by revving up with the following tips:

Get the right exercise. Physical activity is great for the heart, the muscles, and the brain. Regular exercise stimulates the production of new brain cells and reinforces their interconnection. It keeps blood pumping and oxygen flowing to the tiny vessels of the brain, which will result in our mental alertness.

Walk around the block, notice the sights, sounds, and scents. These details reawaken the visual and aural parts of our brain, as well as our memory.

Have a good night’s rest. Five to seven hours of sleep gives our brains the relaxation in needs to consolidate the memories and the data input for the day. Sleep deprivation will affect our mental functions.

Never skip breakfast. This is the most important meal of the day, as it provides the body and mind with sufficient energy to sustain through the day. Chew your food well. Researches reveal that slow chewing elevates the heart rate, and thus pushing more oxygen to the brain. Chewing releases insulin, which in turn stimulates the memory function.

Munch on walnuts. The Omega-3 found in them is linked to the maintenance of our brain functions. Rolled oats with cinnamon makes a good brainy breakfast combination. Grab some fruit instead of candy. An elevated blood sugar can impede brain cell movements.

Avoid chronic stress. While a small dose of stress is useful in increasing our coping mechanism, long term physical and mental exposure can be damaging to our brain cells.

Get out of your comfort zone and try something new. Redecorate your bedroom. Plant new flowers in your garden. Rearrange the furniture in the living room. These activities keep our brain cells active and moving.

Learn to play a musical instrument or learn a foreign language. Not only are they fun, they prevent boredom and discourage our brain cells to atrophy.

Who says games are only for children? Look around and there are a lot of games that are mentally stimulating. Computer games, board games, word games, have your pick.

Avoid going overboard with your temper. A lot of chain reaction ensues, like strained relationships and misunderstandings that can trigger more conflict. A lot happens inside us, too. It affects our heart, our digestive system, our outlook, and shrinks our memory center. Cool down and address the problem before you erupt.

Take your siesta guilt-free. Power naps consisting of 20 – 30 minutes after lunch spells a lot of difference in terms of productivity and mental function