Stop that Brain Drain and achieve Exam Success with These Simple Techniques
At this time of year our thoughts (or the thoughts of our children) turn towards exams/tests and assessments! So what can we do to help them do their best and combat the brain fog and fatigue that goes with this?
First it is important to understand the power of the mind.
The brain has a lot to deal with on a day to day basis.
- Did you know that the brain produces enough electricity to light a 25w lightbulb??
- The brain uses 20% of the oxygen in your blood stream?
Without focus we are in a constant state of chaos – focus helps us get things done properly and fast.
With the exam season fast approaching there are numerous things we can do to help ourselves and our children achieve great results.
1. Eat Breakfast – Over 60% of teenage boys & 70% of teenage girls regularly skip breakfast. Students who eat breakfast, such as cereals rich with complex carbohydrates, have better concentration than their peers who skip breakfast or have energy drink replacements.
- The brain uses 20% of your body’s total energy!
2. Exercise at Lunch Time
Researchers at Bristol University have found that people perform significantly better if they work out for 45 minutes at lunch time. As well as improving their mood and ability to deal with stressful situations, their scores for their perceived concentration levels were 21% higher on days that they exercised.
3. Worry About It More
When people are a little stressed, it can increase their concentration. As the authors of this study state, “In certain situations, worry may enhance performance and facilitate concentration, because an individual who is worried about something may allocate extra mental resources.”
4. Don’t Think Don’t
Ask people not to think of a white bear, and what pops into their head? The exact thing you asked them not to think about. This was the finding of a revolutionary study almost thirty years ago. It has been replicated many times since. A much better technique would be to explicitly tell students what to focus on.
5. Drink Some Water
If you are dehydrated, your ability to concentrate is dramatically reduced. Although ‘dehydration’ sounds dramatic, the effects are still significant even if you are mildly thirsty.
To give this some context, if you wait until you feel thirsty to drink, your concentration levels have already dropped. As well as in the classroom, researchers are starting to find evidence that drinking water in exams can help your concentration, thus improving exam marks.
6. The Great Outdoors
Taking a break in a field, park or forest improves concentration much more than if you take a break in a busy urban environment. Students from the University of Michigan found their performance on a boring task improved by 20% if they took a break in natural surroundings. This is because natural environments replenish your brain, whereas urban ones require your brain to stay alert, further draining your mental resources.
7. Pictures of Nature
Don’t have a natural environment nearby? Fear not, as the same sort of benefit has been found in students who simply spend their study breaks looking at pictures of nature, especially those that had water in them. According to the authors behind the study, these pictures “provide effective restoration breaks and allow them to return to their work cognitively refreshed”.
So by following these simple techniques you will be able to help yourself stay focussed and on the ball!
Next time we will be looking at further techniques that will help you stay focussed and mindful!
My name is Julie Elder and I am a complementary therapist at Totally Holistic Health. I am passionate about helping your body stay healthy in a natural and holistic way.
To find out more information on how I can help you please feel free to check out my website at www.totallyholistichealth.co.uk.
Until next time
Stay healthy and happy (and focussed)!
Julie at Totally Holistic Health