Every person, be it a student, professional or a retired veteran, are learning every day. Though separated by ages and inclinations, all of them acquire skill and knowledge in their own field. A student tries to play guitar, a professional tries to become familiar with new software while a retired person tries to learn how to poach an egg which he couldn’t master throughout his busy professional life. But for many of us, there are many things that we want to learn but don’t have the time. In this age when information is readily available, we all have the scope to learn things which we want. The only variable is the time that people spend in learning them.
Our mind always soaks new information. These 16 useful tips in chronological order can help your mind to learn or acquire any new skill or knowledge quickly. Shorten your learning curve by following these useful hacks!
1. Exercise Regularly
A healthy body is always able to remember and memorize different skills rapidly. Doing regular exercises, lifting weights or simply jogging on a treadmill has a host of physical benefits. Moreover, it also helps to improve the learning capabilities of a person. A research study has found that cognitive processing (the ability to think distinctly) improves significantly after a simple 15-minute exercise session.
Bonus Info: Whenever you feel that your thoughts are muddled, try taking a break and head for your gym! If it is not available, go for a simple walk.
2. Eat Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids
Scientists have proved that Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAs) especially Omega-3 fatty acids improve brain functioning. These fatty acids directly help in enzyme production and enhances metabolism. Regular intake of PUFAs makes the memory centers of the brain stronger. They are also effective against all developmental disorders.
Bonus Info: Fishes like Salmon, Tuna are the richest dietary sources that provide all forms of PUFAs. However, if you are strictly vegetarian, then you would be delighted to know that peanuts, pumpkin seeds, Chia seeds and Flax also provide substantial PUFA content.
3. Get Sufficient Sleep
An interesting research has found that students who have sufficient sleep in the previous night perform better in the grammar exam. Adequate sleep is necessary for normal functioning of the brain, providing discerned judgments and understanding any complicated idea better. There are many people who sacrifice their sleep when they need to manage extra workload. However, they lose all their energy and every work that they do with their red eyes turn out to be of inferior quality.
Bonus Info: According to various studies, researchers say that a 7-8 hours sleep is compulsory for every person. Try to strictly maintain a regular sleep and wake-up schedule and avoid taking caffeine before you go to bed.
4. Drink Adequate Water Everyday
About 70 percent of the human body is comprised of water. Drinking water is much more important than everybody thinks. Water is very much important to keep the body hydrated and the normal functioning of the brain depends on the abundant supply of water. Any person who maintains and drinks plenty of water is able to think faster and experience greater clarity. Not only that, a study has found that water also helps a person to become more focused and intensifies creativity. So, it is important to carry a bottle of water wherever you go!
Bonus Info: Studies have proved that a person with 1 percent dehydration tends to have 5 percent reduction in their cognitive functioning. So it is necessary to take at least two liters of water every day. Fresh fruits are also good and healthy supplier of water to the body.
5. Practice Meditation or Yoga
Life is full of anxieties. A person with high anxiety and stress level always underperforms than a person with calm mind. It has been scientifically proved that yoga and meditation helps to reduce depression and tension from human lives. Regular yoga or meditation enhances concentration and discipline. Those who practice it every day report fewer errors in perception or cognition.
Bonus Info: It is better to keep some spare time in the morning for meditation or yoga whichever is comfortable to do. Within a single month, you will notice a change in yourself. Today, even United Nations recognizes the importance of Yoga. Starting 2015, every 21st June will be celebrated as International Yoga Day.
6. Take a Hobby
Every person should have a hobby of their own which should be very different from the usual work that they do. Picking up something very different allows the brain to relax and makes the person smarter. Always try something that interests you and on which you can put your concentration. From engaging oneself in the favorite sport to travelling in different places, they act as stimulating activities which help to improve the functioning of the brain. A research conducted by a University has found that hobbies are equally effective on people above the age of 65. They have also shown signs of developed cognitive functions.
Bonus Info: Other than keeping you youthful and free from worries and stress, hobbies always help to enrich your perspective. Your hobby becomes your connection with other people with cultivated thoughts and you start seeing the world with refreshed eyes.
7. Set Up an Agenda
It is important for every person to set definite and realistic goals in life. The word realistic signifies some achievable target that the person wants to accomplish. Students, professionals or any other when they decide to learn anything must do so with a proper planning. You should arrange your time by including breaks in the schedule. This relaxation time is known as ‘the spacing effect’ which is important and known to improve memory as well as learning abilities.
Bonus Info: Though most people need to do multiple tasks at the same time, still it is better if you can provide your complete time to learning depending on your priority. When you do a single task at a time, you have better chances to reach your goal quickly.
8. Check Your Motivation
A person learns a new skill from their passion or from their own need. So, before beginning the task it is important to ask oneself ‘Why am I learning this?’ and ‘What importance does it have?’ It has been found that people always learn better when the information or the skill has a certain level of usefulness to them. In other words, any skill that you choose to learn must interest and excite you or you can lose all your motivation in the middle of the task.
Bonus Info: People lose motivation due to various reasons. It may be lack of time or they can run out of money, some people get scared or they are not serious about the task while some just lose their interest. It is important that you consider all these factors before you jump into the new expedition.
9. Get Entertained
It is already mentioned that it is important to allocate sufficient time for relaxing during the process to avoid complete burn out. It is also better to spend the relaxation time with some source which will entertain you or in other words make you laugh. On the basis of preferences, some people choose to spend this time with their friends while some just sit back and enjoy the evergreen ‘Tom and Jerry’ cartoons.
Bonus Info: Various studies have shown that a simple act of laughter is sufficient to reduce the anxiety level. After a giggling session with friends, every person has shown improvement with their problem solving skills and innovativeness.
10. Find a Friend
Learning anything can seem to be an uphill task when a person tries to accomplish it all alone. Therefore, it is always prescribed that the students or any other person learning something new should do it in a group. If it is not possible, you should try so that at least one of your friends accompanies you with the task. When you have another person with you, it not only increases your focus but it also helps to maintain accountability.
Bonus Info: When a person works with his/her peers, they can help each other in the times of their individual need. It has also been noticed that in these situations all the friends maintain a healthy competition among themselves which in turn accelerates the momentum.
11. Find the Right Environment
Right surroundings have a profound impact on the learning process. It always helps positively in the learning process. In general, the ambience needs to be clean and quiet. But the learner can add or choose anything that complements the environment. Though everyone is supposed to choose a comfortable place, you are advised not to lie in the bed. Any place where your concentration would not be disturbed can be selected as a place to learn new things.
Bonus Info: It is also important to keep all distractions like smart phone, MP3 players and TV away from your reach. These things always disturb the concentration level. Some people love parks while some choose library when they need to learn something.
12. Develop Metacognition
Metacognition is referred as ‘thinking about thinking’. In simpler words, it is not only concerned with understanding but also about how you understand it. Always question your first impression about the subject and try to evaluate what you are learning is accurate or not. So, it is a reflection of the present knowledge and shows the key areas where you would need to make the adjustments.
Bonus Info: Metacognition is a developed theory which has attracted theorists since the ages of Greek civilization. Today, it helps everyone, right from struggling students to experts. They can monitor their own work and direct their own learning by following the process of Metacognition.
13. Remain Unafraid of Failures
A group of researchers in Singapore have found that students who tried to solve tough mathematical problems without any external assistance had higher failure rates. But in the long run these students showed great improvement and came up with certain ideas that exhibited fresh perspectives. This signifies that any learner should not be afraid of failures. Though clichéd still the phrase ‘failures are the pillars of success’ remains still valid. It keeps the mind creative and flexible.
Bonus Info: The experts from every field comment that the only key to success is repeated practice. Do not feel let down if you can’t achieve your goal in the first or second attempt.
14. Identify the Easiest Route
There are many people or students who complain that they tend to forget necessary information after learning any skill. Therefore, it is important to arrange all the essential information in a mnemonic device like a short rhyme or acronym. If possible, all the available information can be turned into a graphic which is easier to memorize. Visualization of any information is always easier to remember.Apart from this there are number of simple ways to remember everything you learn.
Bonus Info: The students can also categorize all the techniques and information under specific conditions. Arrange the whole table according to your understanding and according to when, why or where the relevance will be important. In this way, a series of facts or formula can get easily solidified in your mind.
15. Use Multiple Media
In this age of technological boom, it is very easy to gather information about anything. You also have access to different forms of media within your grasp. It is proved that when any person uses multiple forms of media to understand any subject, he or she is going to retain it afresh for a longer period of time. When a person reads about it, listens about it, watches a video, all their senses and multiple parts of the brain work which makes them understand the subject better.
Bonus Info: For reading you have e-books, for listening you have podcasts and for watching videos you have YouTube. So, use everything and develop a firm understanding of the specific subject.
16. Connect with Existing Language
Most of the times when a person starts learning something, they have some prior knowledge about the topic. It helps to understand the subject better as it embeds the learning within the existing framework of knowledge. It assists in refining the recall speed and enables all to learn the subject swiftly. However, when a person is attempting to learn something completely new, then they will not have this opportunity.
Bonus Info: When you have substantial knowledge about the life and works of Shakespeare, it would be easier to understand ‘Hamlet’ play. In this way, try to develop some basic idea about the subject before you start learning.
Above all, always remain confident in what you do. Without proper confidence in oneself, no one in the world can succeed. Follow these steps to keep your brain razor-sharp and make it competent to tackle any challenge or understand any tough information.
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