As a student, it’s important to find ways to enhance your focus. Perhaps you’ve already tried many methods. Whether it’s a magic supplement promising to turn you into the next Einstein or a veggie smoothie your roommate promises will help you ace every exam, there’s a lot of reason for skepticism. Are there methods that really work?
Just like your abs, your mind muscles need resistance so they can stretch and grow. Challenge your noodle with the exercises listed below, all of which have been proven to sharpen the brain.
1.) Practice mindfulness
In a super fast-paced world, doing one thing at a time is nearly passé. Multitasking is the wave of the future – or is it?
When your brain is constantly being pulled in multiple directions at the same time, it’s hard to focus on any single task.
Defeat this downside of 21st-century life by resolving to do one task a day with complete mindfulness. When jogging to class, leave your phone in your bag and concentrate on the pull of your muscles, the wind whipping at your face and the rustling leaves underfoot. When brewing your morning coffee, take the time to let the tendrils of steam warm your skin and to inhale the heavenly aroma. When tackling a homework assignment, power down your electronics and focus on nothing else.
Practicing mindfulness on a daily basis will soon turn it into routine.
2.) Play memory
Remember that matching game you played as a child? It’s time to dig out the stack of cards again! Get a bunch of friends together for a trip back into childhood and play a round of memory. You’ll have loads of fun trying to outdo your friends’ powers of recall and you’ll be giving your brain a real workout at the same time!
If you want to give the game a grown-up spin, have a roommate gather a bunch of random items on a tray. Look at the tray for 30 seconds and then have your partner remove it. How many displayed items can you remember? Keep on playing until you can remember all of the objects easily.
Not only does meditation help keep you relaxed and calm, research has repeatedly proven that it significantly boosts your attention span.
You don’t need to run off to a mountaintop for three hours every afternoon. You likely don’t have time for that sort of commitment – not to mention your roommates will think you’ve fallen off the deep end. Try meditating for just 10 or 15 minutes a day. Even short bouts of meditation can improve your focus.
4.) Play brain games
You may be sick of Sudoku, but there are loads of other brain games that’ll keep your gray cells in top form. Search “brain training games” on Google for dozens of fun games that challenge your brain. You’ll find some that boost your memory, improve your attention span and increase your cognitive speed and mental flexibility. To up the fun factor, compete against a friend!
Another childhood favorite, jigsaw puzzles are a great way to exercise the brain. If you’d rather not work with a physical puzzle, you can find lots of free puzzles online.
6.) Physical exercise
When your body starts moving, so does your mind. Physical exercise has lots of benefits for the body – and one of them is keeping your brain cells healthy! You’ll also improve your mental stamina, which is always a good thing.
Give your brain a real workout and give yourself the tools you need to ace every exam!
Your Turn: How do you train your brain? What works and what doesn’t? Share your best tips and techniques with us in the comments!