When and Where to Study for a Mental Boost

Studying becomes more efficient when you pay attention to what’s helping you study more effectively. For example, even the location, time, and how you feel can dramatically impact your studying efforts. When you pay attention to where you study best or when you study best, studying becomes efficient. Below are 5 tips to help you study more effectively:

1. Study in different places.

Studies show that studying in different places helps us remember better because our brain becomes more active in trying to make connections. In one classic study, participants were asked to study a list of 40 vocabularies in two different rooms – one windowless and cluttered, the other modern with a courtyard. The participants who studied in the courtyard did far better.

2. Alternate between different types of homework/assignment questions.

Studies suggest that switching between types of questions can enhance test scores. The studies had children in either two conditions: 1) children who would repeat doing the same set of questions before moving on to the next set. For example, first do additions. When done, then move to multiplications. 2) children in this condition would alternate between multiplications and additions. The children who had studied mixed set did two times better on a actual test.

3. Space Out Your Studies

Studies found that spacing out our study periods significantly improves memory. For example,  studying 1 hour each night as opposed to a full-cramping session produces better results on tests.

4. Be able to relate what you learn to yourself

This was the first advice I got from my university professor. Make sure to relate what you are learning to some aspects of your life, because it helps you understand the materials better and keeps them longer in memory. For psychology, this is really relevant. Psychology is one of the subjects in which is almost impossible not to relate to what you are learning.

5. Study at a time where you feel most focus

When we are tired or stressed, it can affect our studying negatively. So find a time, where you study the best. For some, it’s at night when they are least distracted. For others, it might be at the morning where they just woke up and have more energy.

4 Studying Tips When Under Time Pressure

1. Instead of focusing on the feelings of your stress, get to action. Do your readings and problem sets. Try to go through as much of those as possible while leaving room for you to test yourself and review what you’ve studied. 

2. Ideally, you want to have already studied everything before 1 or 2 weeks leading to your exams. The exam review period is generally for you to go over what you’ve already learned and trying to memorize the materials. If you haven’t really been going to classes or keeping up, then you may feel a lot of stress. If that’s the case, just do what you can under the circumstances by reviewing as much as possible. Focus less on how you are feeling because those feelings are not going to go away until the exam is done. Instead, do what you can under the circumstances. 

3. If you’re limited on time, focus on going over the most important topics. These are the topics you know you are being tested most on. For example, some of my exams were cumulative meaning materials from the first day of classes to the end would be on exam. But because you know that cumulative exams sometimes mean the later materials are most tested on compared to early materials, instead dedicate your time more to reviewing these later materials. Some other strategies on how to review when under time pressure are to: 1) Go over the topics you’re more comfortable with (this will at least ensure that you have some area you know you will be able to answer on the exams) 2) Study with someone and hope that they can be kind enough to teach you everything within the brink of time 3) Do as many problem sets as possible and try hard to predict questions you think will be asked on the exams. Practice coming up with answers to those exams. 4) If anyone has more tips on how to study under time limit, feel free to add them here —. 

4. As much as you want to ensure that you are fully prepared for the exams, take well calculated breaks and rest time. Sleep when you studied for an extended period of time and need your brain to process the information you just learned. Sleep also helps unload unneeded information allowing you to learn new materials. It also helps regenerates your thinking capacity. Hence, take calculated breaks to ensure that you maximize your studying efforts. 

Feel free to add your tips! 

7 Cognitive Distortions With Examples

Cognitive Distortions refer to our errors in thinking that lead to faulty assumptions and misconceptions. Aaron T. Beck, founder of cognitive therapy, believes that people with emotional difficulties tend to commit characteristic ”logical errors” that distort objective reality. He came up with 7 types of cognitive distortions. I will define and provide an example for each. 

Arbitrary inferences refer to making conclusions without supporting and relevant information. This includes “catastrophizing,” or thinking of the absolute worst scenario and outcomes for most situations. For example, you believe that someone doesn’t like you without actual information to support that belief. 

Selective Abstraction consists of forming conclusions based on an isolated detail of an event. This includes ignoring the context or other relevant details. For example, you fail a quiz and you think that this will ruin your entire grade, when really the quiz was only worth 3% and you still have an entire course to ace.  

Overgeneralization is a process of holding extreme beliefs on the basis of a single incident and applying them inappropriately to dissimilar events of settings. This is sort of like selective abstraction except you generalize the experience to other events. For example, after you failed the quiz, you think that you will now fail quizzes in all other classes. Another example is when you embarrassed yourself in public speaking and you now think that you will always embarrass yourself when speaking to anyone. 

Magnification and Minimization consist of perceiving a case or situation in a greater or lesser light than it truly deserves. An example of magnification is when you make a small mistake and you think that you’ve made a really big one. An example of minimization is when you failed a test worth 25% and you think that this will not impact your grade. 

Personalization is a tendency for individuals to relate external events to themselves, even when there is no basis for making this connection. For example, this is like when you blame yourself for something you didn’t do. 

Labeling and mislabeling involve portraying one’s identity on the basis of imperfections and mistakes made in the past and allowing them to define one’s true identity. For example, you screwed up in the past, and now you think you are an evil person. 

Dichotomous thinking involves categorizing experiences in either-or extremes. It’s a type of polarized thinking where events are labeled as either black or white. For example, you think that people are either good or bad

6 Ways To Decipher Your Dream(s)

In my Tumblr, many of you have asked me how to read your dreams or what your dream means, but based on what I learned from psychology, the responses are: 1) Dreams are just random firing of neurons; in other words meaningless content. Whereas on the other side, 2) As proposed by the Sigmund Freud (many of you should know who he is) argues that dreams are representations of the unconscious mind. Personally I think both are true. There are times where I’ve felt that my dreams were not important whereas other times I felt they were telling me something important. Therefore, it’s up to you to determine when your dreams are trying to tell you something or not, and here are 6 ways to help you figure that out.

1. After you dream, try to recall the main details of your dream. The things that stood out and the emotions that you felt. You should do this immediately after you wake up, because you’re more likely to remember the dream and the feelings that were attached. Also, when you first wake up, you’re more likely to gain insights and awareness about  your dreams.

2. Studies suggest that sleep refreshes our thinking and makes them clear. When we first wake up, we’re most likely to have an insight because sleep sorts out information that we experience during the day and solves problems we couldn’t solve. Hence, when you wake up, this is also the best time to try to understand your dreams as your thinking is most clear.

3. The main things to note in your dreams are your emotions and salient events triggering those emotions. What emotions did you feel? Fear, desire, anger, sadness, disgust, happiness, surprise? What were you dreaming about? How or why might those dream cause you to feel those emotions? What life problems outside the dreams are you currently experiencing? How might your dreams relate to those experiences? Figuring out the answers to these questions can help you make sense of your dreams.

4. If it helps, refer to one of those dream and symbols interpreters guide. For example, dreammoods is a really good one. Dreammoods tells you about the symbolism of each dream events. For example, it tells you what it means to dream about a snake, a lightbulb, a hallway, being chased etc? It has over like 1000 different dream symbols. Even though the meaning of a dream is unique to yourself and your own life experiences, these guide can help you figure out their meaning if you really don’t have the insight you need.

5. Pay attention to common themes and reoccurring types of dreams. These are the dreams where you keep dreaming about the same things or have the same emotion. What do you keep dreaming about? What do you keep seeing? What do you keep feeling from these dream?  What do you want most or fear most from life? These reoccurring themes or dreams could tell you about something that keeps bothering you.

6. Note that even though reoccurring dreams or themes could be trying to tell you something important, a lot of dreams are also meaningless. Dreams are just the random firing of neurons from things you perceive in everyday life and your brain making random images out of them. Hence, do not put too much weight into trying to understand your dreams even though they can be fun to do.

Reading Textbook Tips (to be edited/revised)

When it comes to reading textbooks, the results could end in two ways: 1) You do your readings but you do not perform well on exams because of questions that came from the textbook or 2) You do your readings and you get all the textbook based questions right.  There are strategies to help you get outcome number two. These strategies help you pick up the key content that are most likely to get tested on exam. These strategies also save you time from reading and trying to memorize unnecessary materials.

1. Pay attention to what the assigned readings are and do them. In my university years, I had classmates that don’t pay attention to what they have to read and end up scrambling on chapters or topics that aren’t even tested. The key are to attend all class, pay attention to what the professor assigns you to read, note any changes the professors make regarding the readings over the term. Sometimes they decide to remove certain pages or topics from the readings and you have to pay attention to that. And by attending all classes, you also note overlapping materials covered in classes and textbook and that’s key to what’s tested. In my first psychology class, one question I asked my professor for studying advice was how to approach the textbook. As such, the professor said the same thing: Pay attention to overlapping materials and what’s assigned. Pay less attention to the non-overlapping materials but do give them special emphasis when it comes to prepping for exam (something I will elaborate later).

2. Read smartly. You can end up reading for hours and not remember a single thing versus reading for an hour or two and remembering everything. The difference lies in how you approached the readings. There are techniques to that. What I was recommended and personally found helpful was to recap what I read. In other words, after reading a 2-3 page on a topic, before moving to the next topic, make sure you try to remember what you read. Summarize what you read, highlight the key points, and do the practice questions at the end of chapter questions. And if you want to go the length, take notes on the key points and try to remember them. Also, if there’s a chapter summary page of the topics, also make sure to understand and remember everything mentioned in that.

3. When you are reading, try to build on your momentum. If you feel that you are understanding everything and enjoying everything you read, keep going instead of taking breaks. Taking breaks can slow down your momentum. On the opposite end is if you are not feeling it, you should take a short nap or do something else until you are in the mood to read. However, if you don’t mind at all that you won’t be getting much from your readings but you care about doing what you can, then try your best. I do number 2 all the time and it does make a difference though not always the most efficient. It’s better to get something done than nothing.

4. After your readings, you should sleep or not distract yourself with any other materials or activities. When you sleep, your brain does a better job reprocessing what you read. It also helps store the materials in your brain better. However, if you fill yourself with other activities such as watching an Anime or overload yourself with another course reading, your brain might not filter information properly and get the information confused. As such, you should let your brain rest to process the information before moving on to the next activity.

5. Another thing that helps is to try to make what you read personally significant or relatable in some way. The more you can relate to something the more you’re likely to be interested in it or remember it. Some things that helped me were to think about certain past life events or watch videos on YouTube. You can also talk to classmates or professors to make a topic more engaging.

6. The final and most important part is to apply what you’ve read and learned. This is done through doing the ‘questions at the end of each chapter’ or coming up with your own questions to test yourself. This is the most important step.

Alternate method: 

Is to read everything which is kinda like scanning without stopping to summarize what you’ve read. However, the down side to this is that it drains your mind of working memory and also decreases your ability to fully recall everything you’ve read. Instead, the technique to overcome this is to reread the chapter again but multiple times.

Hope this helps! Feel free to share this article and add in your own studying advice. Tag me at neurolove and I ll reblog some of the good ones!

Tips To Help You Become More Productive

What does it take to be more productive? Don’t we all want to be? Being productive helps us get things done. It’s important to be productive in life so that we can always be moving forward with our endeavors and not being stuck in the same place all the time. People who productive are always moving from projects to projects, their resumes include a list of many accomplishments while those who are less productive are usually stuck in mediocre job or lacking certain personal trade skills. That said, being able to be productive is definitely something that relates to personal improvements.

For me, I think being productive is about building a habit of being productive. If you are constantly working and finishing what you set yourself to do, then you are productive. Here are some tips to help you be more productive:

1. Remove all distractions from your life. For example, deactivate FaceBook or use site blockers. Cancel plans that do not contribute to what you have to do that take up energy and time.

2. Write a do-list the night before or in the morning. Set specific and small tasks. For example, instead of just planning ‘read chapter 6’ which might be too big of a task to complete in one day, write ‘read pages 234-260.’ This is much more specific and also much more reasonable because it accounts for how many pages you have to read. Furthermore, it helps you if you set estimated time to do each tasks. For example, ‘Read pages 234-260 between 3:30 and 4:40.’ Writing down the estimated time puts how much time you actually have in the day to do things in perspective.

3. Do the most difficult and most important tasks first. When we first wake up, we have a clearer mind to help us problem solve.Therefore, take advantage of this.

4. Schedule shorter working time instead of really long ones. We might think we have a lot of time to do things so we schedule long hours for each tasks, but in actuality, only a fraction of those working time are  productive. Find out when you are most productive and work during those time. Furthermore, scheduling shorter work time enables you to overcome procrastination because you’re less likely to dread the long hours of work.

5. For boring tasks, listen to music to get your brain more stimulated.

6. Do the type of work according to how much energy you have. When you have a lot of energy, work on tasks that require a lot of your attention. When you start to get tired, focus on tasks that don’t require as much energy. When studying and you still have a lot of energy, you might want to work on more energy demanding tasks such as ‘assignments or projects.’ When you are tired, work on tasks like ‘reading or reviewing notes’ which takes up fewer energy.

7. Think about the benefits of being productive. What it would mean for you to get things done. This might motivate you to not procrastinate.

8. Stop analyzing or planning too much.  Just get to work. For some, this approach is good, because you save time from having to do planning or ruminating about issues.  For others, analyzing and figuring out what’s making you unproductive helps find solutions to those problems. This leads to long term productivity. Choose your approach and adapt.

9. Eat and exercise well. To do work means to expend energy. Therefore, the more energy you have, the more work you can do. Our body primarily uses carbohydrates to fuel itself. Here are some food that can give you energy. In regards to exercise, studies have shown that exercise helps improve several cognitive functions such as increasing ability to focus and problem solve. Furthermore, exercise gives your body more energy by releasing your energy storage and breaking down chemicals to release even more energy. 

10. Sleep well. Sleep helps repair damages done to the body. Adequate amount of sleep makes you feel rested.

9 Tips To Help You Overcome Tired Feelings When Chasing Your Dreams/Working

When you feel like you don’t want to continue anymore or that you are too tired to, here are some tips that might help you overcome your tired feelings.

These tips are generated from your responses on this

1. From how I understand it, tiredness can be physical that often results from ‘working your body or mind too hard.’ For example, when you work long hours that you do not get enough sleep. The second cause of tiredness is when you are emotionally tired. Symptoms of emotional tiredness might include procrastination, depression or lack of concentration. When you feel emotionally tired, try reflecting on the reasons you are and find solutions to them. For example, you might discover that you are emotionally tired because you have lost your reasons for continuing and that the solution is to reflect again on what you want.  

2. Take a nap or bath. Sleep helps restore the brain and makes you feel rested. Baths relax muscles, calm your mind, detoxify, moisturize, stimulate circulation and clear your lymph system. 

3. Focus on the outcome and what you will accomplish. When you feel tired because you are lost, thinking about the end product(s) can be motivating. It helps redirect your focus. 

4. Taking care of yourself. Ways to take care of yourself is to ensure that you monitor how much you are working and how much rest you need. You could do this by keeping record of your daily activities. At the end of the day, go over your records and evaluate them. Determine what changes you could make to be more productive and efficient. Keeping a record also helps overcome procrastination. It increases your focus and awareness. Other ways to take care of yourself is to eat healthily, exercise and hang out with friends. 

5. Accept that it’s okay to be tired and drained on some days. Sometimes, we might feel guilty when we aren’t being productive, but if you get pleasure of taking a day off, then go for it. ”Rest up. Tomorrow will just be another day.” ~ Sky Sullivan

6. Look for meanings and inspirations in your work. When you get burnout, think about the values you are providing to others. Remind yourself what it is that you are doing and for what reasons. If the reasons are more for yourself than for others, that works too. Reflect on those. We all have our own needs to fulfill and reminding ourselves of them can keep us motivated and on track. 

7. Just Do It. This is where you literally ignore your tiredness and just complete the tasks you’ve set up to do. For example, if you know that you have to go to work and you’re really tired, instead of complaining or calling a day off, just get dress and go. 

8. Listen to music or do something that gets your mind off things. When you are bored, listening to music keeps you entertain and helps you perform more efficiently on boring tasks. 

This article has attempted to provide tips on overcoming feelings of tiredness. The responses were generated from the comments from some of you guys on FaceBook. Thanks and hope these can help others in similar situations as well.