5 Ways to Train Your Brain to Work Better - Common Sense Living Newsletter
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5 Ways to Train Your Brain to Work Better

Dec 22, 2016

5 Ways to Train Your Brain to Work Better 

For many years, I suffered from a mild sort if insomnia. Dead exhausted I would fall into bed at the end of the day and just find I couldn't fall asleep thanks to the cacophony in my head.

My mind was littered with stray thoughts - some important, most not - that I desperately wanted to shut off, but still also wanted to engage with.

Especially if anything uncomfortable happened during the day - sleep became a lost cause.

An uneasy conversation with a boss or colleague, for example. Or a fight with a friend or partner or taxi driver.

I could spend hours turning a conversation around and around in my head, looking at it this way and that, thinking up a hundred different retorts - imagining all the situations in which that conversation could have gone better, or worse.

I always resort to imagining myself slamming a door and yelling 'well, bugger off' before I start calming down and thinking reasonably.

Either way, the fact is, I should have stopped obsessing a long time ago.

Why couldn't I? Because I was addicted.

Obsessive overthinking is an addiction. You know you shouldn't engage these pointless thoughts, but you also find it hard to resist. And not just at night - you find your mind turning to pointless worrying through the day - making a huge dent in your productivity.

You should be thinking about big goals and new ideas, instead you become embroiled in mindless natter, wasting your time, and raising your blood pressure. So, I decided to seek a cure and found these.

  1. Meditation can quiet the melee.
  2. For so many people, meditation brings peace. It could for you too. Unfortunately for me, it has been a long, failed struggle to make it a part of my life. You can often see this is in my forehead creases.

    My colleague Ritika, on the other hand, meditates regularly for twenty minutes in the mornings. Her forehead is much smoother. I must seek other ways.

  3. Write down your ruminations.
  4. Writing does help, I'll be honest. But not enough. It helps me calm down when I'm writing about something. But my fingers just don't work as fast as my mind and in the time I write I am unable to engage with all the issues bouncing around in the madhouse of my mind. Eventually I end up focussing on one thing only.

    And when it comes time to hit the sack, unfinished business still stalks me.

  5. Exercise can elicit peace.
  6. The really great thing about exercise (and there are many, of course) is that while I'm doing it, my mind is clear. All thoughts flee in the face of huffing and puffing. I've learned that I can't pant and ponder at the same time. This could be the answer for many.

    But again, this is not my answer. Because I'm not looking for a few minutes of quiet. What I'm looking for is a way to engage my thoughts, to deal with them, and then let my mind turn to more productive things - like new ideas and solutions to problems.

  7. Pop your thoughts like bubbles.
  8. I've read about one strategy (I regret not remembering where) that tells you to visualise your thoughts. As you think it, let it form a bubble that escapes your mind, goes out into the world, and then pops. Once you do that, it is gone forever and you don't have to deal with it again. Or obsess endlessly.

    While I do love the imagery of this, in trying out this method I ended up coming up with my own method. And hallelujah! it works. Using the below technique, I can think when I think and sleep when I sleep.

  9. The Thinking Quota
  10. I set aside a specific amount of time to obsess, with whatever my mind chooses. It can run around like a monkey on steroids for all I care, but it must stop when the time is up.

    This method works for me because I've always worked well with deadlines, and also I have a highly honed sense of guilt which kicks in when I try to cheat.

    I usually give myself a set amount of time - like my ride to or from work. Sometimes both. When the time/ride ends, the obsessing must stop.

    When I step into work, or into my house, my mind is now swept clean.

    If I'm having a particularly tough day, or if I find something nagging at me, I will ration out a fifteen or twenty minute 'think quota' at any other time it needs.

    Then to snap out of it I engage in a consuming activity. Work, reading, talking to a friend, watching TV, whatever helps my brain switch to a different state.

    With a regularly clean brain, the rest of my time becomes a lot more productive. I have renewed focus at work, and energising sleep at night.

    I now plan to start setting aside some daily 'brainstorming time.' This time is to do the opposite kind of thinking - to think productively, solve problems, and come up with new ideas.

    Problem solved. Brain cleaned. Bring on the brilliant new ideas.

    How do you 'clean' your mind?

Editor's Note: If this 'notebandi' business has you worrying about cash and such, here's something that will help give your mind a rest. A great report written by a colleague that will help clarify some confusions. Get the report free here.

What Happens When Stock Analysts Admit the Truth...

By Mark Ford

I've said this countless times: The biggest mistake retired people make is giving up all their active income. When I first began exposing this big white lie of investing - the lie that you can retire, once and for all, and live your remaining years in comfort - we expected to get a lot of argumentative responses from the brokerage and investment newsletter industry.

Instead, we've seen movement in the other direction with stock analysts admitting the truth. They can't do much about the biggest and the most common problem average investors have: not enough money to invest! We are always working to help our readers solve that problem.

One way is through generating multiple streams of income. You certainly cannot fund a comfortable retirement on the stock market or your pension plan alone. That's where the Extra Income Project comes in. This service, a part of our Wealth Builders Club, currently consists of 36 cash-generating opportunities (with another 10-plus that will be coming online soon), and covers different moneymaking ideas outside the stock market. Each income project requires as little as one hour per day - and you can do it all from the comfort of your own home. There are no special, pre-existing skills required. Learn more about this important project here.

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2 Responses to "5 Ways to Train Your Brain to Work Better"

Jaiprakash Agrawal

22 Dec, 2016

Dear Anisa, I wish to add few points on better working of mind. I don't think that you can train your mind. Mind is like a knife which if used regularly works better and for long term. As you are more creative, your mind becomes sharper. Writer, poet, painter, scientist all work until they die. Their bodies die but mind is alive. Following are tips for sharper mind. 1. Keep physically fit 2. Have sound sleep 3. Do not exert more physically and mentally 4. Healthy diet 5. Yoga and meditation 6. Creative hobbies 7. Stress relieving Follow above and see the change.

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R K Srivastava

22 Dec, 2016

I am a regular visitor to your pages. The articles/views are superb indeed....! Thanks. R K Srivastava

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