While preparing for any competitive examination, one question that keeps pondering in your mind is to find ways to keep your mind sharp. They believe that they are unable to understand what they read or remember what they read for a very long time. This hampers the preparation of the students and they have to keep going back to the same subject every now and then. You look onto the internet for the best exercise for the brain that will make mind sharp and make yourself intelligent. We all have such old age memories which make us wonder why we tend to forget things so easily. There has been extensive research on this topic and various ways have been provided by scientists in order for one to keep their mind sharp and stay smart forever.
So today, let us discuss the ways and exercise for the brain by which we can keep our mind sharp and intelligent.
1. Keep Learning
This may sound stupid to many that how can keep your mind sharp. Well, that is the truth. We all see that machines work as long as they are running. When they are stopped it may start to rust, and if left for a very long time it may just never start again. Well, similar is the case with our brain. If you want to keep your mind sharp, the best exercise for the brain to keep you active is to keep your brain working. Experts believe that this mental exercise activates processes in your brain which help maintain individual cells and stimulate communication between them.
Learning necessarily is not about reading huge books or knowing about the cosmos. Learning can be as simple as pursuing a hobby. Learning a new skill or volunteering for any work that requires you to use your skills. These activities keep your brain active and thus keep your brain running for a very long time and your mind sharp. Following are the ways through which you should keep learning:
- Use all your senses: The more senses you use while learning something, the more likely you are to retain everything in your memory. While performing any task make sure that you use all your senses. Try to relate to whatever you are learning by not just the context, but the color and its smell. So that whenever you hear the word again or you have to recall it you will remember everything.
While reading any subject for GATE or ESE, use all your senses and relate a particular topic to its position in the book, place where you are sitting and reading and when you have to recall, you will remember everything that was written in the book.
- Believe in yourself: People who believe that they are not in control of the memory function of their brain, tend to forget more. When you have confidence you make sure to at least try different techniques to remember something. Without confidence, you give up on your memory even before you have started. If you have confidence in yourself and you believe that you can improve, you must translate that belief into practice and you have a good chance of keeping your mind sharp.
Only when you are confident that you can crack the GATE or ESE examination will you study nicely and sincerely and be able to remember what you have read. If not, then your brain will also not act in synchronism with you.
- Prioritize your brain use: Your brain is not a reservoir that will retain anything and everything. In our daily lives we see and hear so many things, make sure you prioritize everything so that your brain knows what it has to remember and what not. For lesser important things take the help of planners, calendar, list to keep routine information accessible.
2. Stay physically active:
Scientist has come to the conclusion that staying physically fit and active really helps in keeping your mind sharp. So, while preparation, it is extremely necessary that instead of going into the lousy state because you are studying, become active as it will help to keep your mind sharp and make you intelligent. Keeping active is not about exercising daily for 2-3 hours. Keeping yourself active includes everything from exercise to your eating habits, sleeping pattern and even the breaks between your studies. Everything on the list makes you active and improves your memory.
- Exercise: With studies, it is important that you take out at least 30 mins to exercise. Exercise for your brain can include running, yoga, a walk, gym or working out in your room. Anything that keeps your heart pumping and increases your energy level will help keep your mind sharp, active and smart. So no matter how busy you are, schedule your exercise time in your daily time table and you will never have to worry about memory loss issues.
- Good food habits: It is said that your brain is a reflection of your food. So make sure to eat healthy and good food. In the preparation phase, instead of going for junk food every now and then, eat fruits, vegetables, dry fruits as this will keep your mind refreshed and sharp. A fresh mind will soak in a lot of information and will make you a sharp student. Eating a balanced diet low in saturated and Trans fats will help protect your brain cells from damage. Also, try to ditch sweet from your diet. A diet high in sugar is harmful to the brain, inducing inflammation, oxidative stress and poor insulin regulation.
- Take breaks: It is important to keep your brain working, but what is also necessary is taking breaks. ‘Stress takes a toll on the brain by washing harmful chemicals over the hippocampus and other brain areas involved in memory’. Therefore, make sure you are taking proper breaks and taking proper rest by sleeping. During the preparation phase, students are on the run to study and read everything under the sun in the minimum time possible. What they forget is that first, it is impossible to do that and in order to complete it, they compromise on their breaks and sleep. This routine can work for maybe a week, but after that, you will become completely exhausted and will not be able to work for the next two weeks. Therefore, instead of comprising anything in your life, lead a balanced life-giving proper importance to everything that your brain and body require.
3. Good social connections:
Humans are social animals and thus it is extremely important for one to stay socially connected. What we should ensure here is that we must have a good social connection. Avoid people who are always crying or worried about everything in life and if you are that person then try to change yourself. In the short run you may find it difficult to realize but such negative words hit directly your brain and take a toll on your mind. Negative people breed negativity and your brain too goes into the slumber zone of not working in synchronism with you. You must remember to always talk to people who are happy and confident. They instill that confidence in you and as a result you too become confident and so does your brain.
- Friends: The preparation phase is an important phase in your life, which will determine your future. So, make sure to always choose your friends wisely as they are your family away from home and you do not want them to mess up with your brain.
- Books: You can also read books to improve this social connection. Books are the best friends you can have. So read good inspirational books and they will help you in preparing for your aim. Also, reading in a new way uses different brain circuits. You can also try reading aloud or listening to a book on tape instead of reading silently to yourself. So whenever you want a break and have no idea what to do, pick up a book and start socializing with the characters in the book.
While the above exercises for the brain will help to keep your mind sharp, the best and most effective exercise for students is the revision. Whenever you hear or read something important that you want to remember try to repeat it out loud or write it down. That way, you reinforce the memory connection. Your brain also works on an algorithm where when you read something and then revise it multiple times, your brain understands the need of the subject and thus remembers it for really long. Remember how many times you recalled the English alphabets and now by no chance can you forget it as you come across these alphabets daily. Studies have shown that if one associates new knowledge with existing knowledge, the new knowledge stays for a longer duration.
- Focus on the important part: While revision makes sure that you pay special attention to the important part of the syllabus. You can do this by making notes in colorful ink, using large pieces of paper and shouting them out loud. Also when you are reading anything make sure that you try to relate it to something that you have already read. This will help you revise the old content and also build upon what you have already read.
- Memory castle: While doing revision, memory castle is a good way of remembering things. The method of loci is a method of memory enhancement that uses visualizations with the use of spatial memory, familiar information about one’s environment, to quickly and efficiently recall information. You can actually construct an entire story around what you are studying. Make sure that the story is around a place that you visit very frequently so that you recognize the place and story when remembering the particular story.
- Mnemonics: Mnemonics is also a good method of remembering things easily. Mnemonics is an effective learning technique that helps in information retention or retrieval in human memory. It makes use of elaborative encoding, retrieval cues and imagery as specific tools to code any given information in a way that allows for efficient retention and retrieval. Whatever formulae or topic you find difficult to learn make some easy and funny mnemonic related to it and you will never forget the particular topic.
5. Try new experiences:
One very effective method of memory retention and sharp mind is trying out new experiences. Stimulating your brain cells by challenging it by trying something new can help keep the brain cells healthy. Some ways to challenge your brain is to learn a new skill or reading a new book. Therefore, never stop learning as the challenge of something unknown is more beneficial than putting up with the same things daily.
- Acquiring new skill: While preparing for the exam one doesn’t have much time to acquire an all-new skill. In this time, you can try to do something different each day or week during your preparation. This will help your mind run faster and also take care of your boredom. A daily routine can actually slow down your brain so as much as you can try to do something different once a week or month to keep your brain fresh and sharp.
- Reading book: For those who do not read books, starting that would be a good experience. Books are the magic that makes you live many lives in just a small span of time. When you read about so many people you experience and start to live their life. This makes your mind sharp and you can think in multi-direction. For those who already read books you must try different genres instead of sticking to the one you like. New experiences and new stories will give you a wider approach towards life and sharpens your mind.
- Sports: For those who think they cannot do the above two things, sports is the solution. Well we all love playing games but change the types of games you are playing. You can play outdoor or indoor games. In your free time try to play and learn games like chess, Sudoku, crossword or try to solve a puzzle. These games will keep your brain active. Try any of these games and keep increasing the challenge and you will see miraculous changes in yourself.
We all face this issue of not being able to recall a person who we have met earlier or not being able to recall where we kept our book or pen. These above tips though not a miracle but will help you sharpen your mind and become intelligent. Our brain is a special machine which requires working, feeding new things and revision to keep it going. People believe that after an age one’s memory starts to weaken, but that is not true. This happens because after an age, we stop learning and stop feeding our brain the ingredients it requires. We have examples of people who have done great in life even in old age:
- Raj Kumar Vaishya decided to study economics and debate the same, 78 years after he completed his Bachelors in Law
- Deepa Malik won a silver medal in the Paralympics in her 40s.
- Paul Siromoni was awarded a Ph.D. at the age of 90 and completely obliterated the excuses we have for not following our dreams.
Your mind achieves everything you feed it with. So make sure you feed in healthy and positive thoughts so that you get the same in return. We hope this article helped you, please write to us to know about your preparation.
All the Best