Are you obsessing about someone fabulous you just met? Preoccupied with a sticky problem? Bored? Sleepy? Excited by anything but the mental task you’re supposed to be doing, like studying or working?
No matter how motivated you are – to score a high grade or master a subject so you can move on – your concentration can dive. Sometimes learning just feels hard. That expression about “getting it through your head” seems real.
If you’re an active person, it may help to think about training your brain like it’s a muscle. The first time you to do something physical is tougher than after a few days of practice. Same for learning. And the more different from other skills you already have, the more challenging.
Sculpt your brain and learn more easily
Learning has been shown to “sculpt” the brain in that it creates new patterns in brain activity, which show up even during sleep. Described as a “memory trace,” a new pattern may make it easier to learn the same skill next time. One take-away message may be simply that if you stick with a learning task, it will get easier, like lifting weights.
We’ve borrowed a few more ideas from the gym that may help with learning (we’re not recommending making micro-tears in your brain, mind you!).
1. Have a plan (and coach) – Break it up and schedule it. Sit down with a buddy, teacher, or tutor and map out a road to success in segments.
2. Train with a buddy – Build willpower with a friend and add some fun.
3. Do reps – The more often you can dip into the material, the easier.
4. Rest between sets – Your brain needs R&R. The best part: there’s evidence that sleep consolidates learning.
5. Mix it up to stay balanced –Mix up the media you use to learn. Put details in the context of concepts. Alternate the part of your brain you’re using: balance math with English.
6. Intersperse cardio – Take regular breaks and get moving. Your brain needs oxygen and fresh nutrients.
7. Recharge – Supply your brain with the nutrients it needs. Make good nutrition a mainstay.
Super-smart muscle heads are no strangers to us. Time to take a tip from them?
Article Written by Stefanie Hartman www.stefaniehartman.com
Photo source: Microsoft Clip Art
2012 © Stefanie Hartman Enterprises Inc. You may republish this article, if you keep the article in tact as is and credit the authors name and website: “Stefanie Hartman” and website: www.stefaniehartman.com. Thank you.
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