Source: Turtlejar Tutors
With June exams over, we all need a break and some well deserved time to relax and unwind. However, when the new term begins we have to face the daunting reality that end year finals will indeed be upon us sooner than we think. Here are 8 ways to help boost your brain functioning as well as your memory for the upcoming exam period.
- Exercise your Body
Sufficient exercise helps to increase blood flow, unclog your arteries and reset your energy levels. By exercising regularly your body pumps fresh oxygen to your brain and this assists with brain functioning and mental accuracy. Grab a friend and go for a fast walk or jog to some great music that gets you inspired and your heart pumping! Breaking that sweat is not only good for your waistline, but does wonders for your memory too.
- Exercise your Mind
We are responsible for both our body and our brains’ fitness each day. Various studies have shown that taking 15 – 20 minutes to do a crossword puzzle or read an interesting article trains our brains to concentrate. This can also help increase our mental capacity to retain information and delay the onset of dementia at a later stage. So, next time you are tempted to reach for the remote, rather opt to pick up a Sudoku book instead.
We cannot emphasise this point enough. Your mind simply cannot and will not work at its optimum level when you are feeling exhausted and drained. When we are tired our brains do not receive as much oxygen as they do when we are rested, awake and alert. Get those 8 hours of sleep each night and you will feel refreshed and ready to hit the books again.
- Eat Right
When gearing up for exams make sure that you get enough protein and nutrients as they feed your body and your brain. Start your day right with eggs and fresh fruit and try to eat as many vegetables and protein packed products throughout your day. It is all too tempting to munch on sweets, chocolates and inhale litres of coffee while cramming, but don’t. Snack on nuts, bananas, blueberries, eat fish and drink plenty of water. These foods are packed full of nutrients our brains need to work at their best.
Just like we train at the gym to build our muscles, we can train our brains to actually increase in size. Meditation has been found to be one of the best sources for increasing concentration. When meditating we are forced to focus our attention and block out anything around us. We have to train our minds to control our thoughts and breathing, and in this way we can improve our study sessions as we find it easier to focus our thoughts on our textbooks.
Studies have shown that little changes in our daily routines can teach us to stimulate our brains in different ways. Try writing with your other hand, shop somewhere new for your groceries or get dressed in the dark. Doing things differently to your regular routine teaches your brain to think outside the box and make use of other nerve endings that you may not usually use. By stepping out of your usual routines you will stretch your brain and this can greatly aid you in memorising new work.
- Write things down
We often have tons of things to remember each day and it becomes hard to keep track. Start to make a list of what you would like to accomplish at the start of your day and hold yourself to it. If you have a specific chapter of Algebra that you need to cover, write it down. Make sure that you do it and cross it off your list when it’s done. By writing things down we also teach our brain’s to automatically keep certain things in the back of our minds throughout the day. This also helps us to remember important facts better when studying.
- Control your Stress
Stress causes damage to our brains and our bodies, as we focus on what is currently “wrong” in our lives. Not being able to maintain our stress levels will only eat away at study efforts as our minds are constantly preoccupied with the things we are concerned about, rather than what we should be learning. Learn to control your emotions by practicing deep breathing and making peace with the things you cannot change right now. Decide to focus only on your work and to deal with the stressors later. Switching off cell phones, emails and unplugging the computer may be just what you need to allow all your energy to flow into your studies.
Apply these 8 simple steps to your daily life and they will add to your abilities to prepare for the upcoming study period ahead. These are not only great ways to improve your study efforts, but they are also positive lifestyle changes that will work well throughout the years ahead.