Boost Your Brain Power with These Super Foods

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Now that school is starting back up, it’s time to give your brain everything it needs to stay sharp and attentive in class.

So here are 5 foods to help you improve your memory and supercharge your brain:

Fish
Fish is not only high in good protein, but also filled with essential vitamins and minerals for your brain; including: phosphorus, magnesium, selenium, and vitamins A and D. And fish oil is a great source of Omega-3 fat, which can improve your brain’s chemistry and development. We recommend: tuna, sardine, anchovy, salmon and bluefish.

Blueberries
The Journal of Neuroscience published some research from Tufts University that suggested that blueberries can improve memory loss. Blueberries are also filled with antioxidants and have been reported to inhibit colon cancer and Ovarian cancer.

Wholegrain Foods
Wholegrain foods are a great way to get folic acid and B vitamins into your body. You see, B vitamins like Thiamine, Pantothenic Acid, and Pridoxine have been shown to reduce memory loss. If you’re not eating enough wholegrain foods, we recommend taking a good B vitamin that has B1, B5, B6, and B12.

Pumpkin Seeds
Buy a bag of roasted pumpkin seeds and chew on them throughout the day. Pumpkin seeds are filled with zinc, which has been known to help improve thinking skills.

Broccoli
Broccoli is filled with vitamin K, and can help improve your brain chemistry and overall brainpower.

Eating all the right foods won’t guarantee that you’re brain is at its best performance. You need to balance healthy eating along with good sleep, cardiovascular activity, and plenty of water.

How to Improve Your Memory Power – 7 Effective Techniques

When I was an undergraduate student, I had to take 5 classes in a foreign language to complete my degree.

I took classes in Spanish, classical Latin, and ancient Greek to fulfill my requirement – and needless to say – Im glad thats over with.

Ive literally spent hundreds of hours memorizing verb conjugations. And Ive probably killed many trees with all the note cards Ive used up.

The more I memorized, the easier it became – not because I was getting smarter – but simply because my brain was used to memorizing a lot of information every single day.

Pretty soon I was able to memorize stacks of vocabulary cards very quickly. It just took practice, and anyone can do it.

Here are some of the strategies I used to help me memorize my vocabulary terms and conjugation rules quickly:

Make Creative Associations
When I was memorizing a new word or grammar rule, I tried to develop a fun way to make it stick. The more outlandish the association, the better it would stick. For example, lets say that I had to remember that word domus is Latin for home. I would simply imagine a huge dome hanging over moose. (The classical Latin pronunciation sounds like Dome-oose.) That association would help me remember the word easily. I know this sound simplistic, but it really works. I would sometimes draw out fun associations on the back of my vocabulary note cards to really make these bizarre associations remembered.

Break-up Your Study Time
Our brains tend to remember less the longer we study. Thats why its often easier for us to remember the beginning and end of a lecture than all the details in between. So I found that by studying in short one hour stints helped me remember more. Everyone is different, so find out what amount of study time is perfect for you. You might find that you can memorize more in three one-hour sessions than one four-hour session.

Use Your Mind and Body
Sitting at a desk staring at some grammar rules might work for some people, but I always learned quicker by actively doing something with the information. I would draw association pictures or read my book aloud to help make things more permanent in my mind. I also found that studying note cards while walking around campus was a way to keep myself energized and focused.

Repeat What You Need to Know
One way to help something stick in your mind is to recite it to yourself. Read it aloud to yourself – and then read it again. The key here is to saturate your mind with the content in every way possible. One fun way to do this is to imagine your vocabulary cards or textbook being read by someone you think is funny. Imagine your textbook being read by Jon Stewart. It will at least keep things a bit more interesting.

Reduce the Noise

Some people study well listening to music. It really depends on the subject matter. However, if you find yourself drifting off, or focusing on the words of the song, its probably best to dismiss the music for a while. If you enjoy music, listen to some classical music or some other music that helps you focus. You basically want to situate yourself in a place with the least amount of noise interference.

Stay Positive (if possible)
Youll remember far more information about a subject if you try to find it interesting. If you think the topic is boring and useless, than youre going to make memorization that much harder. Look for some sort of connection on how the subject you need to learn about fits in with your life.

Study When Youre Most Productive
Everyone has their best study time, and often its during the daytime. Theres just something about memorizing and studying when its daytime that can keep you more motivated and more focused. I find that Im most productive during the early morning. I often go to a coffee shop around 6:30 a.m. and just drink coffee while I write and study. Find your best time to study and keep on that schedule. It will do wonders for your memory power.

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Making Planning a Routine

You’ve probably heard that it take 21 days to form a habit. Or was it 30 days? Some are saying 66 days. However long it takes, you can’t seem to maintain a schedule where you get stuff done. This was me just a couple years ago, but after trying out different methods as an undergraduate student, I’ve finally formed a good habit: planning.

I now religiously believe that the key to success is good planning. It’s not enough to just show up. There needs to be an action plan where all the steps are clear. So how did I get started?

I forced myself to really live with this notebook. I kept it on my desk next to my alarm, I put it in my backpack whenever I left my dorm room, and tried to use it to keep little memos to get into the practice of using the notebook. Over the few months I tried out different notebooks and planning styles, these are the main tips I found were useful for all of them.

Don’t micromanage.

The first few weeks were test runs. I got a random small free notebook at a fair and wrote a literal hour-by-hour schedule. It was a total mess, since the minute I was behind because I had not finished a certain assignment by the time I thought I would, it ruined the rest of my day because it pushed all my other activities behind. I still have all my notebooks, and looking back, there are a lot of crossed out lines. Planning your day doesn’t have to mean have a rigid schedule. Now I use my notebooks as to-do lists, usually in order of importance. I draw a circle next to it if I finished it, and a red X if I didn’t.

Learn to prioritize.

It’s understandable when things don’t work out like you thought it would. Family emergencies, traffic, team member suddenly calling sick, you getting sick, etc. When certain tasks on your list haven’t gotten done by the evening, it’s time to practice your planning skills! Planning is also about learning to prioritize tasks. Can your calculus assignment be done tomorrow instead of today? Do you absolutely need to do the dishes tonight, or can your roommate tolerate it one more day? When things are written down, it’s easy to simply move it off to the next day, but also be warned. One thing I saw during a busy season was that my to-do list continued to get bigger and bigger. When you notice that your to-do list is growing, and you’ve lost the motivation to feel like you have to do it that day, you’re procrastinating. Reorganize your plans, and focus on trying to get the list down to zero.

Keep yourself accountable.

Just having your day opened out in front of you may help, but sometimes you look back at your day and realize, wow, you barely got anything done! Think- what was the reason? Write it down, and if that reason keeps popping up, figure out a way around it. For me, my most unproductive days were because I ran into a friend either while walking from class or at the cafeteria, and ended up having an extremely long lunch. After that, I consciously trained myself to never eat for over 45 minutes on days I needed to get things done.

Another important thing about developing this habit is to not give up when you realize you haven’t opened up your planner in days. It took me maybe 2 months to actually integrate it into my daily life. It takes time for a routine to be created, so don’t get discouraged!

Try different styles.

Every student is different and the type of planner and level of detail is totally up to you. It is also a good tip to schedule a specific period of time you get all your work done. Some people enjoy bullet journaling (it’s very time consuming however), and others go even more minimalistic with a simple to-do app. However you do it, take the first few weeks to test out new methods. You may even learn something new about yourself, like I did!
And with that, hopefully you’re ready to start a planning routine. Be sure to take time to find the right fit, and don’t be discouraged! If you think planning is not for you, try switching it up. There’s definitely a good match for every student.

This post was written by Shannon from www.regularlee.com, a student life blog. Regularlee shares various productivity tips, student resources, daily life hacks, and guides on starting off an internship.

Memorizing Dates and Numbers Quickly

There are a lot of techniques to help you memorize numbers and dates quickly. One of my favorites involves associating numbers with letters.

For example:

0 = Z or S (zero)
1 = T or D (one downstroke)
2 = N (two downstrokes)
3 = M (three down strokes)
4 = R (R looks like 4 backwards)
5 = L (Roman Numeral for 50 is L)
6 = G (six looks like a G)
7 = K
8 = F
9 = P (9 looks like a P backwards)

You can associate any number with any letter, but the key is to memorize one letter for each number. Any letter not associated with a number doesn’t mean anything.

So this is how it works:

Let’s pretend you had to memorize that George Washington was born in 1732. To do this, you simply substitute the numbers for letters.

In this case: 1732 = TKMN

TKMN doesn’t make any sense, so you can add vowels to develop a fun way to associate TKMN with George Washington.

For example:

Take Men George Washington had to take men to war
Took Men George Washington took men to war
Teak Man Imagine George Washington made out of teak

The more creative you can use the letters, the better youll remember the date.

4 Easy Ways to Improve Your Brain Health

SharpBrains.com published an article on maintaining a healthy brain that will function better. Here are the four keys to improving your brain health:

Physical Exercise

  • Do something you enjoy for even just 15 minutes a day. You can always add more time and activities later.
  • Schedule exercise into your daily routine. It will be become a habit faster if you do.
  • Do something cardiovascular to get your heart beating faster

Mental Exercise

  • Be curious! Get to know your local library and community college, look for local organizations or churches that offer classes or workshops
  • Work puzzles like crosswords and sudoku or play games like chess and bridge
  • Try computerized brain fitness programs
  • Learn something new every day

Good Nutrition

  • Plan your meals around your vegetables (especially leafy greens), and then add fruit, protein, dairy, and/or grains
  • Add some cold-water fish to your diet (tuna, salmon, mackerel, halibut, sardines, and herring)
  • Try to eat more foods low on the Glycemic Index

Stress Management

  • Get enough sleep each night
  • Practice meditation, yoga, or a calming activity to help you relax
  • Set aside 5 to 10 minutes to just breathe deeply

Check out the other ways to improve your brain health . . .

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How to Persuade More Effectively (Without Changing a Word) – 9 Nonverbal Strategies That Work

You may not know this – but your nonverbal communication plays a big role in how persuasive you are.

Thats right.

Your body gestures, movements, tone of voice, touch, distance from the person, eye contact, and physical appearance can make you more or less persuasive.

Here are 9 nonverbal ways to dramatically increase your persuasive power:

1. Touching
There have been countless studies on the power of touch – and its effectiveness on persuasion. Jacob Hornick (1992) studied waiters and waitresses who touched and didnt touch diners during their meals. Touching not only increased tips significantly, it also caused customers to evaluate the restaurant more favorably. Interestingly, attractive waitresses who touched female customers received the highest tips of all. Other studies have shown that customers in bars drank significantly more alcohol when touched by cocktail waitresses (Kaufman and Mahoney, 1999). Burgoon, Walther, and Baesler (1992) found that touch carries favorable interpretations of immediacy, affection, similarity, and relaxation.

2. Smiling
There have been dozens of studies showing the persuasive power of smiling; for example: waitresses earn more tips (Gueguen & Fischer-Lokou, 2004), job interviewers create positive impressions (Washburn & Hakel, 1973) and more likely to get the job (Forbes & Jackson, 1980), and even students accused of cheating are treated with greater leniency when smiling (LaFrance & Hecht, 1995). Smiling doesnt always work in every situation, but it can definitely help you seem more positive and upbeat which often aids in persuasiveness.

3. Mirroring
A lot of people in sales like to use mirroring to improve their persuasiveness. The assumption behind mirroring is that people like others who are just like them – so if I smile, the sales person should smile; if I laugh, the sales person should laugh, etc.

4. Lean Forward
People who learn forward tend to be more persuasive than those who dont – and people who use open body positions (e.g. arms and legs positioned away from body) rather than in closed body positions are also more persuasive (McGinley, LeFevre, & McGinley, 1975).

5. Eye Contact
As you know, eye contact can help you reveal your interest in something or somebody. Well, it is also a good way to make yourself more persuasive. In a university research study, they found that beggars who were able to establish eye contact with strangers (and made legitimate requests) were more likely to get money from that person (Robinson, Seiter, & Acharya, 1992). Interestingly, lack of eye contact has also shown to be successful when making illegitimate requests since it makes the person seem more humble or embarrassed (Kleinke, 1980).

6. Distance
Your geographical location to someone can increase your persuasive power. In a study by Baron and Bell (1976), diners in a cafeteria were approached by an experimenter and asked to volunteer for a survey for a period of 30 minutes to 2 hours and 30 minutes. The experimenter made requests of diners either 12 to 18 inches away or 3 to 4 feet away. Results showed that diners volunteered for longer surveys when approached by closer distances.

7. Dress for Success
Research shows that what we wear can greatly impact our credibility and status (Burgoon, Buller & Woodall, 1966). This includes our grooming, hair length, cosmetics, etc (Atkins & Kent 1988).

8. Talk Faster
Miller, Maruyama, Beaber, and Valone (1976) found that speeches delivered at fast speeds were more persuasive than those at slow or moderate speeds (perhaps because persuaders who speak faster appear more competent and knowledgeable). Faster speeches also have less scrutiny (Smith and Shaffer, 1995).

9. Use Hand Movements
Using hand movements encourages attention and retention in your persuasion attempt. Woodall and Folger (1981) found that people recalled 34% of a verbal message when accompanied by hand gestures, compared to only 11%. And Saigh (1981) found that the more teachers gesture, the more their students learn.

Hopefully, some of these strategies work for you the next time you ask for a paper extension from your professor.

How to Add RAM to Your Brain – 8 Memory Hacks

You can instantly retrieve more information faster and easier by memorizing data in organized patterns.

Here are 8 ways to make information cement in your mind:

1. Acronyms
I’ve used acronyms throughout my college and grad school career. They’ve helped me memorize information for class presentations, and helped me memorize details for exams. An acronym is simply a word wherein each letter represents another word. For example: HOMES (The Great Lakes: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior)

2. Acrostics
Acrostics are sentences in which the first letter of each word helps you remember items in a series. For example: Zoe Cooks Chowder In Pink Pots in Miami (The Essential Minerals: Zinc, Calcium, Chromium, Iron, Potassium, Phosphorus, Iodine, Magnesium).

3. Act it Out
Use your acting ability to make a connection with the material you’re trying to learn. For example: reenact a dialog between two historic figures – or carry on a debate between two different philosophers, politicians or literary critics.

4. Categories
Organize information into broad categories to help you remember information faster. For example: Types of Joints in the Body (Immovable, Slightly Movable, Freely Movable).

5. Peg Words
Develop a chain of associations between whatever list you need to memorize and a peg word. Peg words are associated with numbers (e.g. zero is hero; one is a bun; two is a shoe; three is a tree; four is a door; five is a hive; six is sticks; seven is heaven; eight is a gate; nine is wine; and ten is a hen). Here’s how peg words work with the atomic numbers in a periodic table: (1) Imagine a hydrogen hotdog on a bun; (2) Imagine a helium shoe balloon; (3) Imagine a lit tree on fire (lithium); (4) a door made of berries (beryllium); (5) a hive with bored bees (boron); and the list can go on. The odd pairing helps you memorize information quickly.

6. Rhymes
Make up a silly rhyme or pun to help you memorize information. For example: Brown vs. Board of Education ended public-school segregation.

7. Recordings
Make a recording of yourself giving a lecture about the subject you’re studying. This is especially helpful for foreign language classes or a vocabulary section on a standardized test.

8. Visualizations
Turn an abstract idea into an image of something that is as specific as possible. For example, visualize a scene from a historic period. Make it as real as possible in your mind. Use all your senses and imagine what it must smell like, feel like, etc. The more specific you are, the more you’ll remember.

What are some strategies you use to memorize information faster?

[Photo by Rofi]

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Hack Your Mind with These Memorization Techniques

California Polytechnic State University provides 10 tips to help students memorize information better.

Here are some of my favorite tips:

Use all your senses. When we are learning, we should try not only to get a strong impression but to obtain as many different kinds of impressions as possible. Some people can remember colors distinctly, but have a poor memory for shapes. But anyone, by putting together and using all of the impressions our sense organs bring us about a thing, can remember it much more clearly than if we rely on sight or sound alone. For example, try reading your lesson aloud. In doing this, your eye takes in the appearance of the printed word, your ear passes the sound of the words to your brain, and even the tension of the muscle of your throat add their bit to the total impression which your mind is expected to store away.

Intend to remember. The mere intention to remember puts the mind in a condition to remember, and if you will make use of this fact in studying you will be able to recall between 20 and 60 percent more of what you read and hear than you would if you were not actively trying to remember.

Logical memory. One of the most important of all aids to the remembering process is the habit of associating a new idea immediately with facts or ideas that are already firmly lodged in the mind. This association revives and strengthens the old memories and prevents the new one form slipping away by anchoring it to the well-established framework of your mental world.

How much study? You should study more than enough to learn your assignment. Experiments have proven that 50% more resulted in 50% better retention. After a week had passed, it was found that extra work had salvaged six times as much of the material as in the case when it was barely learned

Read the other memorization tips . . .

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Reduce Stress During Finals Week with Self Hypnosis

One way Ive reduced stress during finals week is through self hypnosis.

As you know, hypnosis has helped people manage pain, reduce stress, and even quit smoking.

It doesnt work for everyone, but Ive personally found it as a way to help me get into a relaxed state quickly. It has also helped me sleep very well.

One self hypnosis method that I enjoy is guided imagery.

Guided imagery is based on the concept that your body and mind are connected. Using all of your senses, your body seems to respond as though what you are imagining is real.

You can achieve a relaxed state when you imagine all the details of a safe, comfortable place, such as a beach or a garden. This relaxed state may aid healing, learning, creativity, and performance. It may help you feel more in control of your emotions and thought processes, which may improve your attitudes, health, and sense of well-being.

A lot of companies charge money to purchase guided imagery mp3s, but here are some free ones that you can upload to your iPod . . .

You can learn more about guided imagery on Squidoo.

How to Sleep Amazingly Well – And Wake Up Refreshed

Now that final exams are almost here – and term papers need to get turned in – its time to make sure youre getting enough rest.

You see, proper rest is vital to keeping your brain functioning to its full potential. Quality sleep is also important so that you can stay energized and focused on your various assignments.

Stanford University published a great list of ways to help you sleep better. Heres an excerpt:

Take a hot bath.
People with trouble falling asleep might benefit from taking hot baths about 90 minutes before bedtime, the researchers speculate. When they get out of the bath, body temperature will drop rapidly, and that might help them to fall asleep faster

Drink some warm milk.
If youre stomach is empty, it can interfere with your sleep schedule.However, a heavy meal can also interfere with good sleep. Dairy products and turkey contain tryptophan, which acts as a natural sleep inducer. Try a warm glass of milk before bed.

Dont take naps.
Try not to nap during the day. A nap will often it make it more difficult to go to bed at night.

If you dont fall asleep within 20 minutes, get out of bed and do something boring.
Staying in bed longer wont help you fall asleep. If youre having trouble sleeping, get out of bed until you feel tired. You need to teach your body that your bed is a place of sleeping – not worrying, brainstorming, or thinking about tomorrow.

Dont expose yourself to bright lights.
Dim your lights prior to bed, and refrain from turning on bright lights if you wake up during the night to use the restroom. Bright lights signal to your brain that its day. Try to only use dim lights at night.

Check out the other ways to sleep better . . .