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.

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!

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. 

How to Deal With School Stress

It’s been a while since I was in school, but I do remember how stressful it was. The stress came from things like exams, sleep problems, having no time for other activities, or just constant flow of expectations being thrown at you. As such, I didn’t really deal with stress that well at first. Stress was constant. However, as time passed, I learned to cope with it by accepting that it is part of the school life and that everything will be worth the reward at the end. But there are tips to help minimize stress. Here are few I think helped me and hopefully they will help you too:

1. Acknowledge that stress is part of the package and do not run from it.

Sometimes when we feel stressed, we think that there’s something wrong with us. That, out of all our classmates, we are the only one who is stressed, but the truth is that everyone goes through it too. Each person just copes with stress differently and some don’t show obvious signs of it at all. But mostly when people are stressed, they either skip class, start trying less, or freak out even more. I suggest just recognizing that stress is natural, that it means you care about school and that you will work your ass off to finish whatever you have to do. All of which is good.When you finish what you have to do (study for an exam, do your assignments ahead of time, do well on exams), the stress gradually goes down as you become more confident and familiar with handling it.

2. Try to balance out your life a little. Sometimes when you are stressed, it’s because you feel that you are not performing as well as you should in school. You’ve based your entire future off how well you will do in school. However, if you have other hobbies or activities that you care a lot about and do exceptionally well at, you won’t feel as stressed. This way, you’ll know that if you don’t do well in school you’ll still have something else to lean on.

However, this tip is only recommended if you really want a way to minimize stress. For me, I threw everything else aside and focused just on school, but I had to go through a lot of stress and pressure. I chose that route and it paid off. However, if I could start over I would try to lead a more balanced life, but too much was on the line for me.

3. Have supportive friends. Have a study group, a study partner. Complete your university or college year together as training partners. Study together, share problems with each other, take classes together, help each other. Having someone there who you can confide in, who support you, who you know is going through the same things you are can really be inspiring and be encouraging.

4. Try to be positive when it comes to failures or set backs. Sometimes people don’t get the results they want and they give up. The last thing you want to do is give up because failures are actually part of the road to success. No one reaches the destination they seek without some failures. They get back up and try again and that’s what makes all the difference. When you accept that failure is part of the journey, you tend to be more prepared for what ever comes your way. I myself failed my first semester in my first year, but I worked really hard and climbed back up.I eventually came out on top in most, if not all, of my psychology classes.

Setbacks are part of your story, and they make you stronger.

5. Use all the resources you can. Use the help of your teachers, professors, friends, parents, and tutoring services; whatever it takes to help you do better. Think of school like an investment. If you are paying to go to school, then you have to be prepared to go all the way to achieve the goals you want. You want to use everything in your disposal to accomplish the goals you’ve initially set for yourself. Otherwise, you’re sort of only going halfway.

Edited by Alexander Loncar

Tips To Help Build Up A Healthy Work/Study Habit

Let’s say you have a new activity or project that you would like to incorporate into your schedule. This of course requires you to build up a habit. The habit should allow you to stay focused and committed for a long time so that you can get the work done. Here are some tips that can help build up a work/study habit.

1. Allocate a time slot where you work/study. Preferably, set up this time slot for every day of the week so that the habit builds up faster. Furthermore, most often, we procrastinate or aren’t able to keep up is because we do not consciously put effort into when to get a job done. To overcome this, you need to dedicate a time in the day every day for the work.

2. Work/study at your own pace. You don’t have to rush. You just just have to get some work done even if it’s a little. Little progress a day adds up to a lot of work accomplished over the week. You’ll be surprised and amazed.

3. Note your progress. We don’t often pay attention to how far we’ve come until we look back to the beginning. Everyday, therefore, keep track of what you’ve done the day and over time you will be happy about the amount of work/accomplishment you’ve made.

4. Reward yourself. Every time you finish working, reward yourself with free time or spending money. You can also ask your parents for reward. Another way to reward yourself is to note your own progress as this can be self-fulfilling.

5. Build up a momentum. Once you get started, and you find yourself getting more productive, try to do more and more. Set up more projects and go for them. Don’t get bored by doing the same thing everyday.

General Tips To Help You Focus When Studying

Unlike my previous article on how to deal with various factors that cause you to be unfocused, this article is less situation specific and more on general things that you could do or try.. However, since the tips here will be more general, they might not be as helpful. They could however help you when you haven’t yet figured out your problem and you just want quick solutions.

1. Choose to study in the public such as a library, coffee shop or empty classroom. Sometimes trying to study at home can make you less focused because you have more privacy. Studying in public takes away the privacy and forces your mind to focus on things you could only do while you’re in public.

2. Use the 5 Minute Rules or something alike to help you get started. The 5 Minute Rules is telling yourself to start on something such as reading the assigned readings or doing your practice questions and trying your best to stay focus for as long as 5 minutes. 5 minutes is really short so it should motivate you to get started on something you may dislike.

3. Reward Yourself. Think of something that you would like to do instead and tell yourself that only once you finished what you are supposed to do are you allowed to do the preferred thing. This tip will work well if you have something else on your mind and need to put it aside to stay focus.

4. Study at a good time. When is a good time for you to study? When do you find yourself most productive? Do you focus better at night or in the day? Do you study better when you are fully rested or just moderately? Knowing the answers to these questions could you determine a good time to study. Sometimes, we study when we are feeling less into it and that’s not a very efficient way to go about studying.

5. Use a Timer. We are generally really poor at estimating how much time we need to get something done. We overestimate the amount of time we have and we end up procrastinating. If instead, we just set up a timer to like work for an hour, we are more likely to want to hold true to our words and see what we can accomplish. A part of achieving our goals is to set up a deadline for when certain tasks are needed to be done.

6. Break Larger Task Into Smaller Ones. Sometimes, we feel like we have so much to do that we procrastinate, because we dread. Instead, we can avoid this by doing what we’re able to do first and slowly build our way up. Furthermore, it helps if you seek help for the tasks you can not accomplish so you don’t get stuck on one place and becoming frustrated.

7. Use a state of flow to your advantage. The state of flow is when you most productive and focused on the task. When you take notice of this state, you want to keep working on what you’re working on to make the most use of your efforts.

8. Listen to certain music can help you focused. If you have a playlist of music that helps put you in the mood to study, you might want to try listening to those musics prior to when you study. However, once you are focused, you might want to turn the music off since listening to music can also reduce your ability to absorb information.

9. Study where others are studying. Sometimes it’s easier to study when we see that others are studying so you might want to try a library or classroom.

10. Find ways to put yourself in the mood to study. Sometimes, you might feel tired or unmotivated to study, but if you warm up, it could help. Some things you could try are listening to music, talking to friends to ease your mind off other things, or just finding a quiet place to sit still.

I think it’s important that our heart wants and desires something before we can fully commit to an activity. If we don’t find joy or meaning in what we have to do, we don’t really want to put in efforts. It is important that we really want something. You guys know how there’s a saying in my Tumblr that “Look where your mind wanders when you are distracted and that’s usually where your heart is” I think it’s true when it comes to trying to focus as well. We tend to focus on things we actually have feelings for where it’s effortless for our thoughts to wander to those places. When it comes to school, your heart has to be thinking about it first before you can truly focus with little efforts.

Exclusive Read on the Causes of Procrastination from Psychology2010.tumblr.com blog

In the following study guild, I talk about procrastination. What it is, the effects, the causes, and the solutions to overcome it. This study guild combines research findings from academic articles and personal knowledge about psychology. No where else can you find an article better explained about procrastination. The purpose is to provide readers with comprehensive explanations about procrastination.

What is procrastination?

To keep it simple, procrastination is the delaying of tasks that require immediate attention. An instance of this for school is when projects or preparation for a test are left until the night before.

What are the effects of procrastination?

The effects of procrastination are maladaptive to productivity and quality performance. Procrastination produces anxiety and poor work performance. Without procrastination, a lot more goals can be accomplished.

Why does procrastination occur?

From the behavioral perspective, procrastination is learnt. It occurs through repeated reinforcement. Tasks produce anxiety. When procrastination occurs, the human leaves the task and focus on one that produces less anxiety. This leads to comfort. This comfort becomes the reinforcement. This behavior repeats until it becomes a habit. Once the habit is fixated and affects many aspects of life, it becomes a behavioral disorder.

What causes procrastination?

The causes of procrastination can be divided into environment or biology. Environment refers to the surrounding conditions while biology the genes. Both environment and biology interacts. This results in complex relationships between environment and gene known as epigenesis.

How does biology affect procrastination?

Biology are rooted in the genes. From early point in birth, chromosomal genes are inherited from our parents who inherit their from theirs. Genes are rooted in our ancestry and have evolved and are passed on to us. Genes affect personality, self-esteem, and physiology. They all of which are factors that leads to procrastination.

Biological Cause 1Personality

Personality defines who we are. This includes our genetic make up. They are the Big Five traits: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. Of these Big Five traits, conscientiousness controls tasks persistency while openness intellect, creativity, and willingness to learn. Because people score differently on these traits, with some being higher or lower on conscientiousness, they are affected by procrastination varyingly.

Conscientiousness controls persistency. Therefore, the more conscientious an individual is the more likely one continues to work on a hard task.

Openness controls intellect, creativity and willingness to learn. Therefore, the more opened an individual is, the more likely one is to want feedback on how to improve. Open people are more likely to see flaws in their personality and actions and learn from them.

Hence, scoring high on conscientiousness or openness is likely to produce a person who procrastinates less.

Biological Cause 2– Self-esteem

Self-esteem is the perception of one self when compared to the ideal self. One feels more accepting if his current self matches his ideal self. If ideal self is too far away from the current self, the individual experiences low self-esteem.

Low self-esteem deprives confidence. This confidence then affects task performance, because it affects how one feel towards one’s own work skills and ability to change. Thus, someone high in self-esteem is more likely to feel positive towards self, have more confidence, and think that one can excel. Thinking so one will.

Biological Cause 3 – Physiology and the Brain

Procrastination is linked to attentiveness, level of impulsivity, and planning. All of which are linked to the prefrontal cortex of the brain. Individuals damaged here will procrastinate.

Hence, let’s take a look at each one and how each affects procrastination.

a) Attention -is ability to concentrate on a task while inhabiting distracting stimuli. An example of excellent attention is studying at a public place and blocking out the noises nearby. Hence, the more attentive an individual is, the less likely his or her mind wanders.

b) Impulsiveness – is ability to delay gratification. An example that tests this is when a friend tells you to go somewhere, but you can say no. In addition, do you guys see how impulsiveness ties in with Freud’s work and the ID ? The ID operates on the pleasure principle and wants immediate pleasure. Therefore, someone high on impulsivity is more likely to procrastinate, because he or she cannot wait.

c) Planning – is ability to estimate how long a task will take and schedule times appropriately to accomplish it. It is surprising that planning is a trait you are born with, but never the less, you can always work on it. For example, learning how to break tasks down so that they become manageable.

In conclusion, the sources of procrastination are rooted in biology. Personality traits such as conscientiousness and openness affect how hard we try and want to learn. Self-esteem affects how confident we feel about improving. While the prefrontal cortex affects ability to attend, focus, and plan. All in which are control by genes.

Procrastination is rooted in biology, but it is also controlled by the environment. Motivation, distractions, and mood are causes by environment. Let’s have a look at each one and examine how each contributes to procrastination.

Environmental Cause Number 1 – Motivation

Motivation gives reasons to do a task. Low motivation is a source of procrastination. This is often true when deciding whether a task is worth time and effort. Hence beliefs affect motivation, and by changing beliefs, a task can motivate us more or less. To illustrate the power of beliefs, here’s a following passage from Celestine Chua in her how to overcome procrastination blog page. In it, she talks about her early school years where her interests lies in web design and is disinterested towards unrelated school work. Hence, she does not get very good grades. However, excellence is a part of her self-concept. It is important to her that she is not a failure. Therefore, she later learns to redefine what excellence means to her. In doing so, she makes sure to do everything excellently. Hence, she starts doing very well in classes and eventually graduates as the top student in university. In addition to her success, she is now the life coach and writer of The Personal Excellence Blog. In summary, re-evaluating the reasons to do a task increases motivation. Greater motivation means less procrastination. Hence, the next time, you start on a task, list a few reasons why you are doing it and what you hope to accomplish.

Environmental Cause Number 2Distractions

Distraction is anything that sways us from focusing on a task. They can be divided into those that require immediate attention and those that don’t. Those that do are called important distractions and those that don’t non-important.  Here’s a linkto a list of each.

Recognizing non-important distractions decrease procrastination, because it makes you aware. Being aware prompts one to take measures.

Here’s a following guild on how to avoid distractions:

1. Recognize what distractions are and what are distracting you. For example, ask yourself if it is msn. If the log in sign that is popping up when somebody logs in is making you talk to them. If so, then log off.

2.     After recognizing what is distracting you, find ways to avoid them. General ways include studying at the library, with a hardworking friend, disabling face book. Library is a quiet place to study so it helps you focus. Secondly, seeing other people study motivates you to study.

3.     Lastly, learn to delay gratification. To say “NO” when a friend requests you to go somewhere.

Environmental Cause Number 3Mood & Energy

Mood fluctuates from hours to hours. It is affected by how much energy we have. The less energy, in most cases the less positive we are. An instance of this is getting home from work and feeling too tired to study. Hence, mood and energy affects procrastination.

In a better mood and energy state, we are more inclined to get tasks done. We become more productive. And when we are not, less so. Hence, it is important to be in the mood to study.

Here are some tips to help you be in the right mood:

1.     Having a proper sleeping pattern. Studies have shown that at least 8 hours of sleep is necessary to get us functioning for the next 16 hours. Furthermore, a regular sleeping pattern maintains normal level of hormone productions that makes us healthy.

2.     Reserving or saving up energy for studying. If you find yourself really tire after coming home from school, make sure you take a short nap to replenish that.

3.     Physical exercise. Studies have shown that jogs reduce stress. This means increased positive feelings.

4.     Study free of distractions. Distractions affect mood. Just simply listening to music can change your mood, because music has emotional implications.

5.     Meditate.

Environmental Cause Number 4 – Task Difficulty and Need for Perfection

Task difficulty refers to how hard it is to complete a task. Need for perfection is the desire to do a great job. They both cause procrastination, because they produce anxiety. This anxiety is the result of cognitive dissonance, what we call when we experience two conflicting perspectives. In procrastination, we want to succeed, but one hand, realize that the task is too hard. Hence, anxiety results.

When anxiety results, we close our mind. We become discouraged, and we start questioning ourselves. “How do I begin? Can I accomplish this? If so, how long would it take?” Hence, we spend time thinking everything through.

However, the process can be made easier. Here are some tips to overcome anxiety. First with respect to task difficulty, seek teachers, friends, or internet for help. Do some research into the topic. Inspire yourself for ideas. Break big tasks down into smaller ones. We often see it as a whole and this makes everything look harder than it should be. Plan when to get your tasks done. This encourages you to make quick decisions. Secondly with need for perfection, lower your expectations. Realize that the task is difficult. That you may not do a very good job at first but will try your best and learn from it.

In summary, procrastination is a learnt habit with maladaptive consequences affecting productivity and quality performance. Procrastination is the result of both biology and environment. Biology such as personality traits like conscientiousness and openness affect how hard we try and want to learn. Self-esteem affects confidence and believing that you can improve. While the prefrontal cortex affects ability to attend, focus, and plan. Personality, self-esteem, attention, impulsivity, and planning decide who is more or less likely to procrastinate. As for environment, motivations, distractions, mood, energy, task difficulty, and perfectionism contributes to procrastination. Motivation provides reasons for persisting. Recognizing non-important distractions encourages attention. Excellent mood and energy fuels inspiration. Reduced task difficulty and need for perfection minimize anxiety. All in which interacts together to affect procrastination, and recognizing what controls you can provide ways to overcome them.

From this study guild, I hope the readers now have comprehensive knowledge about what procrastination is, how it occurs, what causes it, and many ways to overcome it. My ultimate goal through this project is to help everyone lead a more productive, brilliant, and successful life in this and the next few years. In addition, hopefully, many will fulfill their New Year’s Resolution.

Best Wishes,

© 2011 by Psychology2010.tumblr.com