Thursday, July 29, 2010
Monday, February 16, 2009
What's the latest about the effects of caffeine on the brain? You may recall a report in the newsletter a while back about studies which show an increase in academic test scores for students who have a cup of coffee. I have probably also mentioned that too much caffeine, especially once a person is addicted to it, tends to make clear thinking less likely. So is that tea or coffee good for your brainpower or bad for it? Let's take a closer look.
Caffeine is a stimulant, meaning it accelerates physiological activity. Specifically, it speeds up the action of your brain and makes you more alert. It does this by binding to adenosine receptors in the brain. Normally the chemical adenosine binds to these, causing drowsiness by slowing down nerve cell activity. The caffeine doesn't have this effect, but does get in the way of the adenosine.
Because the caffeine is blocking the adenosine receptors, your neurons become...
Sunday, February 1, 2009
The 7 habits that follow will make you a creative problem solver. These actions and thought patterns can be used to generate dozens of good creative ideas at a time. But they will only make you an effective problem solver if you use them habitually, so how do you make a habit of them? Just repeat the following daily for few weeks.
1. Relax And Take A Deep Breath
Breathe deeply through your nose for a few minutes and let the tension release from your neck and shoulders. There is some evidence that tensed-up shoulders and neck can reduce blood flow to the brain. There is a lot of evidence that creativity increases when we are relaxed.
2. Examine Your Assumptions
Anytime you approach a problem, take a look at the assumptions you and others are making. Challenge them, to see what you might learn. For example, if you are trying to design a new pet store, you might challenge the idea people have to...Continues here...
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Here are ten quick tips on how to improve memory:
1. Use Repetition - Repeating to yourself the thing you want to remember may be simple, but it really does work. Repeat a phone number several times, for example, and you should remember it for a short while. This works even better if you "sing" it in your mind to engage other parts of the brain. To remember things long-term, repeat or review them several times upon learning them, then the next day, the day after that, the the next week and the week after that.
2. Write It Down - Let the paper remember for you. The point is to have use of the information later, and if that's more easily done by way of an "external memory device" like pen and paper, why not take advantage of these tools? Also, writing things down is another way to more strongly "fix" something in our minds.
3. Clear Your Mind - Sometime to recall something you just need to relax and empty your mind of all the other stuff going on in there. Take three deep and slow breaths through your nose and relax your muscles. Pay attention to...
Monday, January 26, 2009
Two Easy Meditation Techniques
The following easy meditation techniques are for anyone who has hesitated to learn how to meditate because of the perceived difficulty. It's true that you can spend years to get to the deepest levels of meditative practice. However, it also true that you can get some benefit - and perhaps the motivation to go further - from some simple meditations you can do right now.
What are the benefits relative to brainpower? Reducing stress is an important one. We think better when we're not stressed. More than that though, recent research shows that constant stress can actually cause physical brain damage.
Another benefit is that with a couple simple meditation techniques we can train ourselves to focus better on whatever mental tasks we are working on. We essentially learn to "tame" the mind and make it more effective for our purposes. So let's get started with a simple breath watching technique followed by an even easier way to meditate.
Sit quietly somewhere, close your eyes, relax and pay attention to your breath for few minutes. How's that for a simple meditation? The basic idea is to quiet your mind. That's easier said than done of course, so here are some tips to...
Saturday, November 29, 2008
1. Deep Breathing. Three slow deep breaths through the nose help oxygenate the blood supply better, and especially seems to wake up the brain. As those of you who meditate may already know, breathing through the nose uses your diaphragm more and draws the air deeper into your lungs.
2. Move Around. Often just getting up and washing the dishes, or walking around the house helps boost energy levels.
3. Listen to energetic music. Different types of music have different effects on us, but you can do this one by trial and error. Once you find the ones that work for you, keep them ready.
4. Try "energy drinks." The verdict isn't in on most of them, but it's a cheap option to try. I seem to get something from the ones with Ginkgo Biloba in them.
5. Get better sleep. As long as you get at least five hours of sleep, the quality seems to be more important than the quantity. Read more