You exercise your body to stay physically in shape, so why shouldn't you exercise your brain to stay mentally fit? With these daily exercises you will learn how to flex your mind, improve your creativity and boost your memory. As with any exercise, repetition is necessary for you to see improvement, so pick your favorite exercises from our daily suggestions and repeat them as desired. Try to do some mentalrobics every single day!
Worrying about a problem reduces our ability to focus 100% of our attention on the task. One way to focus your attention is to answer the following questions.
1. What exactly is the problem? There is no sense in worrying about something if you do not know exactly what you are worrying about. Take some time to write down specifically what the problem is that you are trying to solve.
2. What caused the problem? Sometimes solving the immediate problem is not the correct solution because it does not fix the root causes. Try to determine if this problem was caused by something else.
3. What are all the possible solutions? Too often, one solution is proposed and time is wasted arguing about that one solution. Try having a brainstorm to find every possible solution before you argue about the merits of each one.
4. What solution is best? Once all the solutions have been laid out, it should be a pretty easy task to pick the best one and move forward with it.
If you are in a position where people bring their problems to you for help, this is a great strategy to help them solve their own problems. Simply, ask each person to answer these four questions before coming to you. It is likely that they will solve their own problem, but if not, it will make your job much easier.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is caused by exposure to a highly traumatic experience. Symptoms usually include nightmares and flashbacks where the event is re-experienced over and over again. These recurring memories can become overbearing and interfere with the brain's ability to learn and consolidate new information.
PTSD is considered to be primarily an anxiety disorder that should subside after several months, but in extreme cases symptoms can last much longer. Long term stress like this can cause permanent damage to the brain due to the build up of the stress hormone, cortisol.
Cortisol is a hormone that is release by the body in response to stress. Its effect on the body is to increase blood pressure and blood sugar levels. It also causes the immune system to get weaker, bone formation to decrease and inflammation to lessen. In fact, artificial cortisol, called hydrocortisone, is intentionally used to fight inflammation.
Short-term exposure to cortisol can actually improve memory. This is the method by which flashbulb memories are believed to be formed. Additionally, a small amount of stress can increase the mind's ability to focus on a task. However, long-term exposure to high levels of cortisol can damage the hippocampus which can cause serious memory problems. It is unclear how much time it takes to cause permanent memory impairment, but finding ways to reduce stress in your life is always a good idea.
The mind is very receptive to suggestions. If you repeat to yourself that you feel stressed out and uncreative, then you are going to be stressed out and uncreative. If you tell yourself that you are calm, creative and full of energy, then you will feel and perform better in your daily life.
An affirmation is a carefully crafted statement that you repeat over and over to yourself as a form of auto-suggestion. Affirmations can be a powerful way to reprogram the subconscious and become self-fulfilling. The key to crafting an effective affirmation is to make it appeal to your imagination. Imagination usually trumps intellect and common sense. For example, you probably don't have any problem walking in a straight line without falling down, but if you place a plank of wood over a pit of hungry alligators, you might think twice about walking across. Your imagination takes over and prevents you from performing the simple task.
To make an effective affirmation, choose words that are simple, positive and to the point. Avoid statements of fact that your intellect might reject. For example, a bad affirmation might be, "I am the most creative person in my company." A better affirmation would be, "I am confident in my ability to think creatively."
Stress has many physiological affects on the human body. As we have already learned, certain types of stress can be good, but too much stress can lead to all sorts of problems.
The first thing that stress does is to cause the adrenal glands to start secreting adrenaline and epinephrine. These hormones are produced to help use get ready to fight or run away from a threat. Fortunately, we don't face mortal danger on daily basis anymore; but unfortunately, this means that these hormones just make use feel a lot of anxiety.
The "flight or fight" reaction also causes our body to have an increased metabolism. Your heart rate increases, your breathing speeds up, you start sweating, and your blood sugar levels increase. If you are temporarily escaping from a lion this is a good thing, but if you are living your life in a constant state of stress, this can lead to some serious problems, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
Additionally, the body turns off certain unessential functions. After all, if you are running away from a lion there is really no point in wasting energy with things like digestion, reproduction and growth. This is exactly why highly stressed people get ulcers, have trouble getting pregnant and under extreme conditions have stunted growth.
Finding and eliminating stressful parts of our lives is important, but for short term relief, relaxation exercises can be a big help.