brain hacks http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/14069/all en-US 7 Foods Scientifically Proven to Make You Smarter http://www.wisebread.com/7-foods-scientifically-proven-to-make-you-smarter <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-foods-scientifically-proven-to-make-you-smarter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000047157292_Large.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's well established that the <a href="http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-does-the-brain-need-s/">brain uses more energy</a> than any other organ, accounting for up to 20% of the body's total energy needs. Feed your hungry brain these foods to keep it buzzing along at its optimal speed. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-foods-science-says-are-actually-making-you-dumber?ref=seealso">6 Foods Science Says Are Actually Making You Dumber</a>)</p> <h2>1. Avocado</h2> <p>This creamy fruit is a staple for many meatless dishes and for vegetarians and vegans who don't eat meat. It's unique among fruits because it is rich with high-quality protein and fats, compounds we typically associate with meat and dairy. It's <a href="http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/avocado-brain-function-6231.html">good for the brain</a> (and the body) because it aids blood circulation. Scramble it in eggs, mash it up to spread on toast, or slice it and sprinkle with a little salt, black pepper, and turmeric for a savory breakfast or snack.</p> <h2>2. Fresh or Frozen Blueberries</h2> <p>Blueberries prove that good things come in small packages. When it comes to brain health, research says they<a href="http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/your-brain-on-blueberries/"> stave off a number of diseases</a> such as Alzheimer's, enhance learning, and improve motor skills. They're very high in fiber, and though they have a touch of sweetness, they don't spike blood sugar. But make sure you use fresh or frozen blueberries. Dried blueberries often have sugar added and aren't as healthy. And since they have a fairly short growing season, substitute cranberries, pomegranates, cherries, grapes, and blackberries for many of the same health benefits.</p> <h2>3. Salmon</h2> <p>We know salmon makes our skin glow and it's very heart healthy. It's also <a href="http://womensbrainhealth.org/great-minds-think-alike/why-is-salmon-good-for-your-brain">highly beneficial for our brains</a> because of its omega-3 fatty acids. This healthy fat has been found to enhance memory (and therefore fight memory-related diseases brought on by aging), elevate mood, and reduce depression. This makes it a winner of a meal any time of year, especially in the winter when the short days and long nights can cause us to to feel blue.</p> <p>While farmed salmon is cheaper, I suggest opting for wild salmon whenever possible. You'll pay a bit more for it, but it has a much higher level of omega-3s than farmed salmon, so you don't need to eat as much to get all of the health benefits. If salmon isn't available or it's too expensive, tuna is a great alternative and it has vitamin B6, another vitamin important to brain health. Eggs are another option for vegetarians or for people who don't like fish.</p> <h2>4. Seeds and Nuts</h2> <p>Toss them in oatmeal or on top of salads, spread them on toast or fruit, and incorporate them into trail mix and baked goods. Seeds and nuts give us fiber like fruits and veggies, and protein like meat and dairy. This helps give our brains an energy boost and it keeps that boost going throughout the day. When it comes to brain health, the vitamin E and magnesium makes seeds and nuts especially valuable. Be careful to avoid sweetened nuts and nut spreads that are highly processed and contain a lot of sugar. Best bet for nut butters &mdash; make your own in a food processor or at the dry goods stations in grocery stores like Whole Foods. All nut, no additives.</p> <h2>5. Coffee and Tea</h2> <p>What? Your morning brew of coffee and tea makes you feel good and is good for you? You betcha! Along with that kick of caffeine that gives you a noticeable and often immediate charge, both beverages have fiber and antioxidants, and they've been shown to aid memory and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.drperlmutter.com/coffee-can-save-brain/">stall aging in the brain</a>.</p> <p>But there are some dos and don'ts when it comes to coffee and tea. Do make it free-trade, organic, and fresh. Don't drown it in sugar and heavy dairy, and don't have more than two to four cups per day. To add a bit of sweetness and get an added health benefit, I like to sprinkle in a warming spice like cinnamon, clove, or nutmeg. You can also use a sweetener like stevia or agave nectar that is a much better alternative than granulated sugar because these alternatives don't spike, and then crash, your blood sugar. Spikes and crashes in blood sugar actually cause <a href="http://www.prevention.com/health/health-concerns/low-blood-sugar-and-memory">damage to your brain</a>.</p> <h2>6. Oatmeal and Brown Rice</h2> <p>The high amount of fiber in oatmeal and brown rice keeps our hearts healthy and our blood pumping, and what's good for the heart is good for the brain. Oatmeal also has the added benefits of protein and omega-3, so it's an especially important food for vegans and vegetarians. Also, oatmeal lends itself to adding so many other brain-healthy foods like blueberries, seeds, and nuts, and it pairs perfectly with a steaming cup of coffee or tea.</p> <h2>7. Dark Leafy Greens</h2> <p>Whether you like kale, spinach, arugula, or romaine, get your greens every day. Blend them up in smoothies, make them a base for your salad, or chop them up in a stir-fry. They're an excellent fuel for your whole body, and what makes them so valuable for your brain is their high iron levels without the fat and calories that come from many kinds of iron-rich meat. When we're iron deficient, our thinking gets clouded and our memory dulled. Healthy iron levels enhance our learning abilities and give us the energy needed to get the most out of life.</p> <p><em>Are you getting enough of these delicious brain foods?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-foods-scientifically-proven-to-make-you-smarter">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/curing-warts-removing-splinters-and-19-other-bizarre-uses-for-banana-peels">Curing Warts, Removing Splinters, and 19 Other Bizarre Uses for Banana Peels</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-ultimate-list-of-hangover-cures">The Ultimate List of Hangover Cures</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-foods-scientifically-proven-to-increase-your-lifespan">6 Foods Scientifically Proven to Increase Your Lifespan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-is-gasoline-so-cheap-a-cost-comparison-of-40-common-household-liquids">Why is Gasoline So Cheap? A Cost Comparison of 40 Common Household Liquids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/move-over-weight-watchers-the-new-pyramid-is-here">Move Over Weight Watchers, the New Pyramid is Here!</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink General Tips Health and Beauty brain food brain hacks health food healthy eating Fri, 30 Jan 2015 12:00:04 +0000 Christa Avampato 1284260 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Powerful Brain Hacks You Can Do in Under 2 Minutes http://www.wisebread.com/8-powerful-brain-hacks-you-can-do-in-under-2-minutes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-powerful-brain-hacks-you-can-do-in-under-2-minutes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businessman-concentrating-493206093-small_0.jpg" alt="mind power" title="mind power" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Brain Hacking, also known as &quot;mind hacking&quot; has become increasingly popular over the last few years. According to <a href="http://www.squidoo.com/mindhacks">Squidoo</a>, mind hacking is &quot;to perform some act that gains access to the fundamental mechanism behind your mind and other people's minds by here-to-fore unknown or apparently mystical means.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-easy-ways-to-improve-your-brain?ref=seealso">13 Easy Ways to Improve Your Brain</a>)</p> <p>Other people see it simply as &quot;mind over mind over matter,&quot; which basically comes down to self-control using techniques that allow you to tap into your mind's seemingly unlimited potential. Now, with these 12 quick and easy brain hacks, you can unlock some of that latent ability and surprise yourself, and your friends and colleagues. And maybe even some new dates.</p> <h2>1. &quot;Smell&quot; Yourself More Attractive</h2> <p>Right now, you can make yourself more attractive to the opposite sex just by <em>thinking</em> one thought over and over in your head. That thought is, &quot;hey, I really smell terrific,&quot; or some variation of it. Researchers at the University of Liverpool conducted tests on men, seeing how they felt about themselves <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19134127">after spraying on deodorants</a> that contained powerful ingredients. However, half of the men got spray that contained no such magic ingredients. The results were the same. By believing they smelled great to the opposite sex, the opposite sex found them more attractive.</p> <h2>2. Reduce Your Pain&hellip;With Binoculars</h2> <p>&quot;Pain is all in the mind.&quot; How many times have you heard that and thought &quot;yeah, right!&quot; If you slice your finger cutting vegetables, or whack your little toe on the corner of the nightstand, it's not so easy to convince yourself it doesn't hurt.</p> <p>However, researchers at Oxford University found a non-medicinal way to make the pain shrink &mdash; <a href="http://scienceblogs.com/neurophilosophy/2008/11/26/distorting-the-body-image-affects-perception-of-pain/">they used inverted binoculars.</a> When subjects looked at their wound through the wrong end, it made the wound <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960982208012591">seem a lot smaller</a>, and in turn they felt less pain. It sounds nuts, but it's true. The upshot of this is when you get pain, you have to imagine that pain being much smaller; or simply look away. Focusing on your wound will bring you increased pain.</p> <h2>3. Organize Using Your Imagination</h2> <p>Cleaning. 99% of us really don't like doing it. Whether it's a messy room, a desk at work, or the cluttered basement, the task always seems overwhelming. But there is a very quick brain hack you can do to make that task much easier.</p> <p><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8__3JATQIM">Watch how PJ Eby</a> uses this trick on a messy desk.</p> <p>First, you look at your desk and take in the whole situation. Look at the mess, the chaos, and the disorder. Then, close your eyes and visualize that desk as clean and organized. Next, you need to feel good about what you visualized. Feel relaxed about the desk. Feel proud. Finally, hold that feeling, and the clean desk image, in your mind. Let it wash over you. You should almost be seeing in x-ray vision, looking through the clutter to the clean space.</p> <p>What you have done is kick-start your brain's automatic planning system. By comparing the two images, you are automatically going to see places for things to go, and what to do with them. It's something that takes less than a minute, but can save you hours of frustration.</p> <h2>4. Improve Your Memory With a Mind Palace</h2> <p>If you're a fan of the BBC show <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004132HZS/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004132HZS&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=YGHVABWLWBVIJGLG">Sherlock</a>, you will be all too familiar with the mind palace. However, you don't need to be an egomaniacal genius to make your own. It's a technique that dates back to <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Method_of_loci">ancient Rome and Greece,</a> and it's a simple but effective way to store and recall a lot of information.</p> <p>First, you create a layout of a building or town in your brain. It should be composed of memorable places and signs. For instance, you create a shopping mall, and the first store on your right is a jewelers, followed by a burger stand and then a gym. Now, you place items you want to remember inside the different stores. Once inside each store, there will be a similar approach to the layout, with different sections, and shelves. And the key is to always use very distinct and bizarre combinations together, such as the title of this memory book &mdash; <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/159420229X/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=159420229X&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=JCLEYWNUGPXF3BFF">Moonwalking With Einstein</a>. You can very easily walk through your palace whenever you want, and pluck items from the shelves with ease. Try it. This <a href="http://discovermagazine.com/2011/jul-aug/14-how-i-became-a-master-of-memory">journalist</a> did, and look how it worked for him.</p> <h2>5. Use Your Eyebrows to Become More Creative</h2> <p>If you ever want to feel more creative, try raising your eyebrows and widening your eyes. This simple technique appears to act as a boost for your creative mind, literally broadening the scope of your ideas as your widen your eyes and take more in. This is all backed by scientific research that was published in the Creativity Research Journal. Two groups of people were asked to come up with captions for a seemingly mundane image. Those with <a href="http://faculty.chicagobooth.edu/ayelet.fishbach/research/paper_creativity%20research%20journal.pdf">raised eyebrows had much more creative and funny captions</a>. Try it for yourself at home and see how it works with your family.</p> <h2>6. Write Stuff Down to Remember It</h2> <p>This does not mean, &quot;type stuff down.&quot; No, you will have to go back to that archaic form of communication that uses a pen and a piece of paper. Or better yet, keep a little notepad and small pen or pencil on you as often as you can.</p> <p>An experiment conducted at Indiana University proved that the physical act of <a href="http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052748704631504575531932754922518?mg=reno64-wsj&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052748704631504575531932754922518.html">writing something down stimulated parts of the brain</a> that were not active when simply trying to remember something, or typing it into a computer. Perhaps it is the fact that your hand is hardwired to certain parts of the brain, and as you write you are pressing the words or images more deeply into your memory than the simple act of trying to remember. Whatever the reason, it works. Write it down, you'll remember it.</p> <h2>7. Avoid &quot;Choking&quot; By Singing</h2> <p>This is not the literal lack of breath, but rather falling victim to severe nerves and messing up something seemingly simple. It happens in sports a lot, but it can also happen to us if we have to give a presentation at work, or perhaps give a speech at a wedding.</p> <p>Choking is the result of pressure getting to us, usually because our brain is working overtime on all the &quot;what ifs&quot; and worst case scenarios. The way to beat it is fairly simple; do something to keep your brain occupied. Research shows that singing to yourself gives your brain <a href="http://www.wired.com/2010/09/the-tight-collar-the-new-science-of-choking/all/1">something to do instead of stressing out</a>. By singing, you are holding your brain hostage to a task you have given it, and it cannot concentrate on all the disasters you think are going to happen. Sing until it's your time to do something, be it sinking a long putt, giving a speech, or bowling a strike for a perfect game.</p> <h2>8. Stop Stress by Laughing &mdash; Seriously</h2> <p>Fans of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005YVP366/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B005YVP366&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=X5TRTSMFUMLPQHWB">The Office (UK)</a> will remember the painfully awkward scene with David Brent laughing as a motivational speaker. (<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXytRC0k-K8">If not, refresh your memory here.</a>)</p> <p>Although it was done poorly to showcase Brent's delusions, it's actually a great way to <a href="http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/stress-management/in-depth/stress-relief/art-20044456">relieve stress</a> and think more creatively. Laughter releases dopamine, and even if you feel dumb doing it, you will eventually reap the rewards. Of course, these days we all have an instant home entertainment system in our pocket. Just pull out your smart phone, Google a funny video (perhaps something you know has made you cry with laughter in the past) and spend two minutes putting a smile on your face. Your shoulders will lift, you will feel better, and you will think more clearly. Try it out.</p> <p><em>Any other quick mind hacks you'd like to share? Please do so in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-powerful-brain-hacks-you-can-do-in-under-2-minutes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-weird-brain-hacks-that-make-you-a-better-person-with-almost-no-effort">4 Weird Brain Hacks That Make You a Better Person With Almost No Effort</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tips-for-remembering-names">5 Tips for Remembering Names</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-decisions-youll-never-regret-making">21 Decisions You&#039;ll Never Regret Making</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/change-your-life-by-learning-how-to-admit-youre-wrong">Change Your Life by Learning How to Admit You&#039;re Wrong</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-feel-better-fast">25 Ways to Feel Better Fast</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Personal Development brain hacks mind hacks mind tricks psychology Tue, 26 Aug 2014 21:00:03 +0000 Paul Michael 1193088 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Weird Brain Hacks That Make You a Better Person With Almost No Effort http://www.wisebread.com/4-weird-brain-hacks-that-make-you-a-better-person-with-almost-no-effort <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-weird-brain-hacks-that-make-you-a-better-person-with-almost-no-effort" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/garden-474212989-small.jpg" alt="garden" title="garden" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We tend to think of our personalities as pretty set in stone. If you have always been short-tempered or shy or change-averse, you may think that it's simply who you are. Yes, you might be able to work hard over years to chip away at the aspects of your personality that you'd like to change, but overall, what you see it what you get. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-easy-ways-to-improve-your-brain?ref=seealso">13 Easy Ways to Improve Your Brain</a>)</p> <p>But it turns out that your mind is much more like clay than marble. With the right brain hacks, you can make real and lasting changes to just about any aspect of yourself &mdash; without feeling like you are fighting a war with your true nature.</p> <p>Here are four brain hacks that can help you to become the best version of yourself.</p> <h2>1. Become More Generous by Spending Time in a Beautiful Garden</h2> <p>It has been well established that spending time in nature is both calming and mentally restorative. However, recent studies out of the University of California and the University of Southern California have determined that subjects who spend time in natural places that they find beautiful increase what's known as &quot;<a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-the-neighborhood/201312/generous-nature">prosocial tendencies</a>.&quot; Basically, after spending time in a beautiful spot, subjects show more agreeableness, empathy, generosity, trust, and helping behavior.</p> <p>What is interesting about these studies is that they show how important it is for the subject to perceive their surroundings as <em>beautiful</em> in order to experience the generosity increase. It's not enough to be outside in nature &mdash; you must also appreciate the beauty of the nature you see.</p> <h3>How to Use This Hack</h3> <p>If you have a garden, now is the time to spend some time in it. Not only will working in your garden give you a sense of satisfaction (and a <a href="http://health.yahoo.net/experts/allinyourmind/4-mental-health-benefits-gardening">reduction of the stress hormone cortisol</a>), but making your own little patch of nature look more beautiful will also help to improve your relationships and increase your empathetic and generous behavior.</p> <p>If you don't have a garden to tend, regularly make plans to head outside for a walk through a beautiful spot. Bring a grumpy friend and help hack his brain, too.</p> <h2>2. Prime Your Brain for Improvement With the Right Words</h2> <p>The language that you use to talk to yourself actually has an effect on your brain. That's because your brain retains the memory of the words you say, even if you don't think that you recall them. Adam Dachis of Lifehacker explains it this way:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">If you were to say the word <em>mustard</em> out loud, and then you were to see a portion of the word later, <a href="http://lifehacker.com/5747213/how-to-hack-your-brain">you'd be reminded of mustard</a>. For example, if you were to say, 'I must have this,' you might be reminded of mustard because of the word must. If you were hungry and liked mustard, you may even want some.</p> <p>This is because your mind has been primed to think about mustard. Your brain retains the memory of you saying the word out loud, and so it gives you a kind of a neural shortcut to get back to the word that clearly must be important because you said it out loud.</p> <p>Advertisers have been using <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Priming_(psychology)">priming</a> for years, but you can also use it to hack your brain to be happier, more ambitious, or more outgoing. All you have to do is create the right list of words to say out loud.</p> <h3>How to Use This Hack</h3> <p>Create a list of words that you associate with whatever feeling you are trying to evoke in yourself. For instance, if you are trying to encourage yourself to become more outgoing, you might come up with this list of words:</p> <ul> <li>friendly</li> <li>eager</li> <li>talk</li> <li>enthusiasm</li> <li>go</li> <li>yes</li> <li>smile</li> <li>people</li> <li>fun</li> <li>interest</li> </ul> <p>After reading this list aloud, you will find yourself in a more outgoing mindset. Reading the list will help to focus your thoughts and prime your brain to react in an outgoing manner throughout your day.</p> <p>While reading this priming list aloud every day is not going to magically transform a wallflower into a social butterfly, it does provide you with the mindset that encourages the behavior you're aiming for.</p> <h2>3. Improve Your Willpower by Becoming a Lefty (or a Righty)</h2> <p>Whether you have trouble passing up the office donut box or you find yourself consistently blowing your top over minor issues, the root cause is the same: a lack of self-control.</p> <p>But before you start beating yourself up, it's important to remember that studies have shown that <a href="https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/willpower.aspx">self-control is a limited resource that can be depleted</a>. Basically, willpower is like a muscle &mdash; and it can be exhausted. But it can also be strengthened, just like a muscle.</p> <p>Specifically, allowing yourself to be regularly frustrated can help you to improve your willpower muscle because you become more immune to feelings of frustration. And according to a study from the University of New South Wales, an excellent way to do this is to <a href="http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120308120028.htm">use your non-dominant hand</a> for two weeks. Aggressive individuals who practiced being a lefty (or a righty, if they were left-handed) for two weeks were able to respond to annoyances more calmly after the experiment.</p> <h3>How to Use This Hack</h3> <p>If you are concerned about your ability to practice self-control, plan on using your non-dominant hand for everything (within reason and safety concerns) for two weeks. This means that you will be fighting your habitual tendencies for two weeks straight. While it will be difficult to remember to butter your toast with your left hand for two weeks, your capacity for self-control will grow stronger over that time. Afterwards, you will find it easier to pass up that cruller or keep your cool when you get cut off in traffic.</p> <h2>4. Rearrange Your Refrigerator to Eat Healthier</h2> <p>You have every intention of eating better. But it seems like all the fruit you buy just rots in the bottom of the fridge, and you end up snacking on potato chips and onion dip <em>yet again</em>.</p> <p>While it might be simplest to just not buy the junk food that tempts you away from eating right, that's not always feasible. A junk food loving family member or roommate can easily thwart those plans. Instead, make eating healthy easier by rearranging the food in your kitchen.</p> <h3>How to Use This Hack</h3> <p>Specifically, put your carrot sticks and apple slices front and center in your refrigerator so that they are easier to see and grab. If you put the onion dip in a far corner, you'll make it even easier to avoid, since you're less likely to see it and be tempted by it.</p> <p>This hack comes from Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, the authors of the book <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/014311526X/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=014311526X&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=L76N3HHV4AEWFCBP">Nudge</a>. They refer to such a change as &quot;<a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/learnvest/2014/02/04/5-tricks-to-hack-your-way-to-better-life-habits/">choice architecture</a>.&quot; Basically, if you make it harder to do the unhealthy thing, you're more likely to make the healthy choice.</p> <p>In addition to putting your healthy snacks in a prominent position in the refrigerator, it's also a good idea to prep those healthy foods ahead of time so all you have to do is grab a bag of pre-cut fruit slices when you're hungry. Add that to placing all of the unhealthy foods in as remote a spot as possible in the refrigerator, and it will be easier to eat healthy without thinking about it.</p> <h2>You Can Train Your Brain</h2> <p>Our brains are wired to respond to all kinds of stimuli. If you know how to hack that wiring, you can improve your life without any of that overwhelming, soul-sucking, hard work that's usually required.</p> <p><em>Have you been able to trick yourself into becoming a better person? Do the right thing and share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-weird-brain-hacks-that-make-you-a-better-person-with-almost-no-effort">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-powerful-brain-hacks-you-can-do-in-under-2-minutes">8 Powerful Brain Hacks You Can Do in Under 2 Minutes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tips-for-remembering-names">5 Tips for Remembering Names</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-must-do-mid-year-resolutions-to-get-you-back-on-track">10 Must-Do Mid-Year Resolutions to Get You Back on Track</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-habits-you-must-kick-right-now-and-be-a-better-person">20 Habits You Must Kick Right Now and Be a Better Person</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-habits-you-must-start-right-now-and-be-a-better-person">20 Habits You Must Start Right Now and Be a Better Person</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Personal Development brain hacks psychology self improvement Fri, 20 Jun 2014 15:00:07 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1145232 at http://www.wisebread.com 13 Easy Ways to Improve Your Brain http://www.wisebread.com/13-easy-ways-to-improve-your-brain <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/13-easy-ways-to-improve-your-brain" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/reading-170082833.jpg" alt="reading" title="reading" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've probably heard before that &quot;Knowing is half the battle.&quot;</p> <p>However, becoming smarter doesn't need to be a battle in itself. The great thing about improving your knowledge is that it can be done on the cheap, providing you one of the highest ROIs you can ever get.</p> <p>Here are more than a dozen budget-friendly ideas to become smarter.</p> <h2>Expand Your Vocabulary</h2> <p>Like Steve Martin said, &quot;Some people have a way with words, and other people...oh, uh, not have way.&quot; The more words you know, the better you are at making your point.</p> <h3>1. Learn a Word per Day From a Dictionary</h3> <p>If you don't have a dictionary laying around your place, then borrow one from a friend or relative. With some old-fashioned dictionaries being so large and bulky, some people are happy to give them away. An alternative is to use free online dictionaries, such as <a href="http://www.merriam-webster.com">Merriam-Webster</a> and <a href="http://dictionary.cambridge.org/us">Cambridge</a>. Make it a habit to tie-in looking up a word to a daily ritual (e.g. drinking coffee, brushing your teeth), so that you are able to commit to this task. Another option is to sign up for a free <a href="http://www.vocabulary.com">word-a-day email service</a> or use an <a href="http://www.investopedia.com/dictionary/">industry-specific online dictionary</a>.</p> <p>If you think a-word-a-day is too wimpy, then you can take your daily word to the next level by adding its synonym and antonym. If you don't have access to a thesaurus, then you can use the free ones from Merriam-Webster, Cambridge or <a href="http://www.synonym.com">Synonym.com</a>.</p> <h3>2. Read More Challenging Books and Articles</h3> <p><a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/id/20381678/39541721#.U2nLc8ZVlBA">One in four Americans</a> read no books last year. This is a scary statistic, yet very easy to fix. You can commit yourself to read a challenging book per month when you have a specific goal to complete the month after.</p> <p>In March, for example, you can commit to read a book or series of online articles that helps you finish your taxes on time. In September, read a book that brings you completely up to speed on a character that you are planning to play during Halloween. This a trick that you can repeat over and over.</p> <p>If you prefer to read physical books, save money by looking for used copies on <a href="http://www.ebay.com/chp/books">eBay</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=IFACCL3WOLJ5WO42">Amazon</a>, and <a href="http://losangeles.craigslist.org/bka/">Craigslist</a>. Also, once you are done with your books, you can resell them on those sites as well. If you prefer to read online, then skip the magazine subscription and read its available online articles. You may be running one issue behind, but you can increase the amount of magazines you can read per month at no cost.</p> <h3>3. Play &quot;Word&quot; Games</h3> <p>If looking up words sounds like no fun at all, you can spice it up by making a game out of it. Invest in a Scrabble game board (<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0085UN694/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0085UN694&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=OLOSVXEMPEVDF5BF">about $15 for a used one</a> on Amazon.com) and play with your friends and family. Not only will you enjoy some quality time, but also you will improve your vocabulary. Keep a dictionary nearby or on a browser on your smartphone to check the definition of new words.</p> <p>If most of your family and friends live too far away, you can still play Scrabble with them through the free version of <a href="http://www.wordswithfriends.com">Words with Friends </a>(available on Android, iPhone, and Facebook). This is a fun way to discover words you never knew existed!</p> <h2>Ask Questions of Experts</h2> <p>As cliched as it may sound, the Internet truly has made the world a &quot;global village.&quot; Having access to experts from all around the world allows you to get them answers, most of the time for free!</p> <h3>4. Use Your Alumni Association</h3> <p>If you graduated from high school or college, then put your alumni association to work for you. Ask for the list of alumni living in your area and keep in the loop about educational events. For example, I have an undergraduate degree at the University of Alberta in Canada and have 65 fellow alumni that live in Hawaii. Through this network, I found out about a great talk on the latest research on geothermal energy happening right in my state.</p> <h3>5. Crowdsource Answers</h3> <p>Just like you use Yelp and Foursquare to crowdsource where to eat out the next time, you should use sites devoted to Q&amp;A's to crowdsource the answer to your next burning question. While there are lots of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_question-and-answer_websites">Q&amp;A sites</a>, you should stick mostly to <a href="http://linkedin.com">LinkedIn</a> and <a href="http://quora.com">Quora</a>. The reason is that both sites seek to maintain a professional tone. LinkedIn ties your answer to your resume, and Quora keeps an army of site moderators. (By the way, you can find <a href="http://www.quora.com/Damian-Davila">me on Quora</a> in case you have questions on email marketing, taking the GMAT exam, or Ecuador.)</p> <h2>Improve Your Health</h2> <p>A healthy mind goes with a healthy body. Breaking a sweat on a daily basis and taking care of your body are important to becoming smarter. Here is how to improve your health on the cheap.</p> <h3>7. Sleep Better</h3> <p>According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 25% of Americans suffer from a sleep disorder. If you are one of them, then you can fix this in three easy ways:</p> <ol> <li>Stop drinking coffee, 5-Hour Energy, or Red Bull before noon so that the caffeine can fully wear off by bedtime.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Start eating dinner before 7 p.m so that you have enough time to digest your meal.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Establish a wind-down routine, such as reading a book, doing a facial, or drinking hot cocoa, whatever ritual that allows your mind and body to relax for a better rest.</li> </ol> <h3>8. Eat and Exercise Like a Pro</h3> <p>Behind every Hollywood superstar is a great trainer and nutrition specialist. But there is no need to spend the same kind of cash that Gwyneth Paltrow and Gwen Stefani spend to get similar results. Talk with your HR department about the free or discounted gym and nutrition classes that are included through your health insurance plan. Preventive care is on the rise in the U.S., so you may be able to score a free class on the basics of yoga or healthy eating.</p> <p>Also, turn to the Internet to search for podcasts (e.g. <a href="http://www.nutrition.org/publications/podcasts/">American Society for Nutrition</a> and <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/nutrition-divas-quick-dirty/id289338154?mt=2">Nutrition Diva</a>), blogs (e.g. <a href="http://www.nerdfitness.com">Nerd Fitness</a> and <a href="http://www.fitmamamoxie.com">Fit Mama Moxie</a>), and sites (e.g. <a href="http://www.menshealth.com">Men's Health</a> and <a href="http://www.womenshealthmag.com">Women's Health</a>) dedicated to fitness and nutrition.</p> <h2>Get Social</h2> <p>I don't mean to join Twitter or open a Facebook account; I mean to actually get outside your home and start talking to more people. If you want to become smarter, you need to become more social and interact with more people.</p> <h3>9. Join a Club</h3> <p>Learning by doing is one of the fastest ways to absorb information or learn a new skill. For example, as expecting parents of twin boys, my wife and I joined a local group of parents of multiples. By attending the monthly group meetings and talking with other parents of multiples, we have been able to quickly filter lots of information and get those amazing &quot;golden nuggets&quot; of knowledge.</p> <p>Since two heads think better than one, just imagine when you can get 10 or more in the same room! Not only you are able to cover more research in less time as somebody is doing the work for you, but you also get a different perspective that you may have not considered before. From chess to backyard gardening to conversational Spanish, there are clubs for pretty much everything.</p> <p>Some groups may require a membership fee, but they often offer you free attendance to the first meeting. Other groups may be completely gratis. Look up groups based on your interests and budget constraints.</p> <h3>10. Start More Face-to-Face Conversations</h3> <p>SMS and email may be killing the art of conversation. The more we use them, the more we tend to avoid people. Even at the office we often prefer to email a coworker who is only three cubicles down. Get into the habit of starting more face-to-face conversations so that you can improve your social skills. Pay attention to your and your partner's body language to figure out how those cues affect the flow, meaning, and tone of the conversation.</p> <p>Surround yourself with people that have more experience than you in different fields. Don't become intimidated by their superior knowledge, but aim to learn from their experiences. Feel blessed that you have access to smarter people. That hot-shot lawyer that charges $100 per hour to a client may give you some good advice for free. It may only cost you a cup of coffee and an hour of your time. Make it a goal to start five face-to-face conversations every day.</p> <h2>Improve Your Memory</h2> <p>What a great feeling of accomplishment is to go through a full day without having forgotten anything that you needed to do! Your memory is like a muscle, and if you don't flex it often, it will go stale.</p> <h3>11. Write Things Down</h3> <p>Writing makes you smarter because it involves three key skills:</p> <ol> <li><strong>Visual:</strong> You develop the ability to focus on what is front of you.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Motor:</strong> You work on your hand-eye coordination so that the letters can make sense.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Cognitive:</strong> You exercise different parts of the brain to figure out the fastest way to put ideas down on paper.</li> </ol> <p>By practicing these three skills through writing, you become better at recalling birthdates, things-to-do, and names. The surefire way to write more throughout the day is to always carry a small notebook and a pen. Whenever you are on the phone or at a meeting, take notes of key action items and pieces of data. The more you practice, the better you become at taking notes and the more that you will remember.</p> <p>But don't just stop there. Use your notebook or the notepad app from your smartphone or tablet to make a daily list of things-to-do. Using 10 minutes a day to organize your list of tasks allows you to prepare yourself better, prioritize tasks, and increase your likelihood of completing each task. Besides, there is nothing more satisfying than scratching off the last item from your to-do list and screaming out loud &quot;done!&quot;</p> <h3>12. Use Mnemonics</h3> <p>Mnemonics (the initial &quot;m&quot; is silent) are hints that we use to remember something more easily. By associating information with a visual image, a sentence, or a word, we increase our ability to recall that information.</p> <p>Here are some useful examples:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Acrostics:</strong> The sentence &quot;Please Excuse My Dear Aunty Sally&quot; helps Math students to remember the order of operations: Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, and Subtraction.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Acronyms:</strong> STEM allows you to remember the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Chunking:</strong> Group numbers to remember phone numbers more easily. You'll have an easier time to remember 555-789-2143 than 5557892143.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Rhymes:</strong> &quot;Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November&quot; lets you know right away what months of the year that have 30 days.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Visual Imaging:</strong> To recall names faster, associate an obvious detail that you can pick up right away when you see it. Some examples are &quot;Golden Locks Mary,&quot; &quot;German Accent Peter,&quot; and &quot;Tall Mike.&quot;</li> </ul> <h3>13. Jog Your Memory Often</h3> <p>Just like jogging often prevents you from getting a cramp the next time you go for a run, jogging your memory often keeps it in good form. Test your memory with these two easy tricks.</p> <p>First, the next time that you have sit on front of a cluttered desk, try to memorize as many items as you can in 30 seconds, and snap a picture with your cellphone. Then, write down on a piece of paper as many items as you can recall within a minute. After the minute is up, check your answers against the picture.</p> <p>Another cheap way to jog your memory is to literally play the Memory Game. You can buy a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00000IWDD/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00000IWDD&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=XIXOW357YF6BTDVAv">Memory Game on Amazon</a> for as low as $13, download a <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.urbian.android.games.memorytrainer">free app such as Memory Trainer</a>, or build your own board game using pictures of your family and friends.</p> <p>By expanding your vocabulary, asking questions to experts, getting social, and improving your memory, you are working on budget-friendly ways to become smarter.</p> <p><em>What other cheap ways do you use to become smarter? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-easy-ways-to-improve-your-brain">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-improve-your-memory-and-even-get-a-little-smarter">How to Improve Your Memory (and Even Get a Little Smarter)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tips-for-remembering-names">5 Tips for Remembering Names</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-powerful-brain-hacks-you-can-do-in-under-2-minutes">8 Powerful Brain Hacks You Can Do in Under 2 Minutes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-fun-games-that-make-you-smarter-too">11 Fun Games That Make You Smarter, Too</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-weird-brain-hacks-that-make-you-a-better-person-with-almost-no-effort">4 Weird Brain Hacks That Make You a Better Person With Almost No Effort</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development brain hacks brain training intelligence Wed, 21 May 2014 08:24:21 +0000 Damian Davila 1139948 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Natural and Effective Ways to Change Your Brain Chemistry and Be Happier http://www.wisebread.com/6-natural-and-effective-ways-to-change-your-brain-chemistry-and-be-happier <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-natural-and-effective-ways-to-change-your-brain-chemistry-and-be-happier" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/window-200260582-001.jpg" alt="woman at window" title="woman at window" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We're deep into the days of <a href="http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/basics/definition/CON-20021047">Seasonal Affective Disorder</a>, more commonly known as SAD. The lack of sunlight causes our levels of serotonin, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that impacts our mood; and melatonin, a hormone that impacts our mood and sleep patterns; to drop. This causes depression, a drop in energy, and general irritability. Luckily, there are plenty of natural ways to alter the biochemistry of our brains to boost our mood. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/29-scientifically-proven-ways-to-be-happier-this-year?ref=seealso">29 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Happier</a>)</p> <h2>1. Let in the Light</h2> <p>Open those curtains wide to take in the small amount of natural sunlight we do have in the winter. On your lunch break, get outside even for a short period of time to soak up the sun to give your afternoon an extra boost. Light therapy is easy to get at home or in your office, inexpensive, and highly effective. There are a number of <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/bye-winter-blues-5-sad-therapy-lamps-182434">light therapy lamps and bulbs on the market</a> at a variety of price points.</p> <h2>2. Adopt a Pet</h2> <p>There are many benefits to pet parenting, and one of the best is <a href="http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/pets-happiness.htm">pets' ability to make us happy</a>. Studies show that spending time with animals reduces the levels of harmful hormones such as cortisol, the stress hormone, and raises levels of healthy ones such as oxytocin, the love hormone. If your life is too hectic to take on the responsibility of pet ownership right now, consider offering to spend time with a friend's pet or volunteer at an animal shelter. Even short bursts of time with animals have health benefits. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-yank-the-leash-on-pet-expenses?ref=seealso">5 Ways to Lower Pet Expenses</a>)</p> <h2>3. Work It Out</h2> <p>Despite the cold, find ways to get your workouts at home, in the gym, or outside wearing a good number of layers to keep the cold at bay. By now it's well known that <a href="http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/06/why-exercise-makes-us-feel-good/?_php=true&amp;_type=blogs&amp;_r=0">regular exercise reduces anxiety</a>, relaxes us, and improves our general outlook on life. Best of all, we don't need to spend hours on the treadmill. Moderate levels of exercise, just 20 to 30 minutes a day, any way you can get it, can elevate your mood.</p> <h2>4. Take Care of Your Whole Self</h2> <p>Self-pampering is a sure fire way to lift us up out of any funk. Winter weather does a number on our skin, hair, and nails in addition to affecting our mood. Give yourself an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-spa-treatments-you-can-do-at-home">at-home spa day</a>. Certain foods like salmon, avocado, turkey, and bananas are known to improve mood with high levels of omega-3 and tyrosine that increase the happy brain chemicals of serotonin and dopamine. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-spa-treatments-you-can-do-at-home?ref=seealso">10 DIY Spa Treatments</a>)</p> <h2>5. Get Some Art and Soul</h2> <p>Science shows that art in its many forms makes us happier. Music is known to <a href="http://lifehacker.com/5865032/how-music-affects-the-brain-and-how-you-can-use-it-to-your-advantage">lift our spirits</a>, so play your favorite music and take a boogie break. It lowers cortisol levels, so stress decreases as we crank up the tunes, and it improves cognitive function.</p> <p>Laughter has incredible effects on our physiology too. In fractions of a second, <a href="http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/laughter.htm">laughter rapidly improves our mood</a> by literally rewiring our brains. It's always a good time to watch movies and read books that make us laugh. Better yet, grab a friend and head to a local comedy show to share the laughter with others.</p> <h2>6. Spend Time With Others</h2> <p>This cold weather has many of us inside praying for spring. Being cooped up indoors away from others can cause our mood to take a nosedive. Even just <a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/once-more-feeling/201305/your-brain-friendship">one meet up per week</a> with a friend holds tremendous benefits for us and it doesn't matter what activity you do together. Go to a movie, grab lunch or coffee, take a walk in the park, or even carve out time for a phone call or Skype chat. It's the presence of another person in our day that does wonders for us by dropping cortisol levels in the brain. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-friends-and-be-happy-why-cultivating-relationships-is-good-for-you?ref=seealso">Why Cultivating Relationships Is Good for You</a>)</p> <p>Our biochemistry can work for us or against us. The great news is that we aren't helpless to the rise and fall of our brain chemicals. We can raise the healthy ones and lower the damaging ones through our actions. All we need is the will to be happy and we can find ways to make it happen.</p> <p><em>How do you trick yourself into a better mood despite the gloom outside? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-natural-and-effective-ways-to-change-your-brain-chemistry-and-be-happier">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-foods-scientifically-proven-to-make-you-smarter">7 Foods Scientifically Proven to Make You Smarter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tips-for-remembering-names">5 Tips for Remembering Names</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-powerful-brain-hacks-you-can-do-in-under-2-minutes">8 Powerful Brain Hacks You Can Do in Under 2 Minutes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/boost-your-creativity-9-surprising-ways-to-generate-new-ideas">Boost Your Creativity: 9 Surprising Ways to Generate New Ideas</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-weird-brain-hacks-that-make-you-a-better-person-with-almost-no-effort">4 Weird Brain Hacks That Make You a Better Person With Almost No Effort</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips better mood brain hacks natural high Wed, 05 Mar 2014 10:48:41 +0000 Christa Avampato 1128703 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Fun Activities to Stimulate Your Brain http://www.wisebread.com/5-fun-activities-to-stimulate-your-brain <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-fun-activities-to-stimulate-your-brain" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/thinking-390040-small.jpg" alt="thinking" title="thinking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you&#39;re in a bit of a slump, it might be due to your brain being bored. Sticking to the same daily routine is like eating just white rice everyday for your noggin. It&#39;s lacking flavor and could be elevated to amazing levels with just a few basic ingredients. Playing games with your mind keeps you sharp and boosts memory retention and powers of reasoning. Try these five fun and free activities to stimulate your brain in amazing ways.</p> <p>RELATED: <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Clear-Your-Mind-28156102">10 Simple Ways to Clear Your Mind</a></p> <h2>1. Use the Opposite Hand</h2> <p>If you&#39;re right-handed, become a lefty for the day. Simply switching the hand you usually use for routine tasks gets your brain thinking in a different way. When brushing your teeth, use the opposite hand. Eating? Use the opposite hand. You can really test yourself and try writing an entire day while using your less-used hand.</p> <h2>2. Talk to Yourself</h2> <p>Pick one hour a day to verbally discuss anything and everything with yourself. Describe what you see, what you&#39;re doing, your afternoon plans, or what you&#39;d like to make for dinner vocally instead of keeping it locked up in your head. Sure, you might look like a total nutso, which makes this activity best kept for when you are on your own, but talking while thinking is a great brain booster. And you might find solutions to problems you&#39;ve been struggling with or that stresses voiced make for a better night&#39;s sleep.</p> <h2>3. Write Down Your Dreams</h2> <p>You can <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/photo-gallery/14073874/Plan-Your-Career-Goals/">write out aspirations and goals</a> as a reminder, but keeping a pen and paper next to your bed for recording your sleeping dreams is a fun way to get your brain thinking. Along with boosting memory, attempting to unlock the mystery and hidden meanings behind your snoozing brain is one way to get to know yourself better &mdash; and the power of your mind.</p> <h2>4. Wash Your Hair With Your Eyes Closed</h2> <p>Your senses are what helps your brain make decisions and build connections, but we often rely too heavily on one or two senses, leaving the others behind. Stimulate your brain and close your eyes while washing your hair, eating, or putting on your clothes. Along with being a fun challenge, your brain is encouraged to use those other senses that have been forgotten about.</p> <h2>5. Walk On</h2> <p>Just like the body, our brain needs physical exercise too. A steady walk increases blood circulation, which encourages cerebral blood vessels to grow and enhances energy production and waste removal. And walking isn&#39;t strenuous and can be done anywhere anytime. Park a little farther from work, or make time to walk around the block at the end of the day. While clearing your head, you&#39;ll also sneak in a <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Ways-Take-Nature-Break-Work-26934453/">nature break</a>, which is great for your brain.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> If you feel like you&#039;ve been in a slump, it might be because your brain is bored. Break out with one of these fun activities! </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com" style="border:none;"><img alt="" src="/files/fruganomics/u921/POPSUGARrgb.jpg" style="height:95px; width:300px" /></a></p> <p><em>This is a guest contribution from our friends at </em><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/"><em>POPSUGAR Smart Living</em></a><em>. Check out more useful articles from this partner:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Time-21262764">5 Reasons You&#39;re Late &mdash; and How to Avoid Them</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Ways-Motivate-Yourself-33284380">52 Easy Yet Highly Effective Ways to Motivate Yourself</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Productivity-Studies-30702319">7 Strategies to Do More in Less Time, According to Science</a></li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/popsugar-smart-living">POPSUGAR Smart Living</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-fun-activities-to-stimulate-your-brain">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tips-for-remembering-names">5 Tips for Remembering Names</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-easy-ways-to-improve-your-brain">13 Easy Ways to Improve Your Brain</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-powerful-brain-hacks-you-can-do-in-under-2-minutes">8 Powerful Brain Hacks You Can Do in Under 2 Minutes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-improve-your-memory-and-even-get-a-little-smarter">How to Improve Your Memory (and Even Get a Little Smarter)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-weird-brain-hacks-that-make-you-a-better-person-with-almost-no-effort">4 Weird Brain Hacks That Make You a Better Person With Almost No Effort</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development brain hacks Tue, 04 Feb 2014 10:24:03 +0000 POPSUGAR Smart Living 1112801 at http://www.wisebread.com Boost Your Creativity: 9 Surprising Ways to Generate New Ideas http://www.wisebread.com/boost-your-creativity-9-surprising-ways-to-generate-new-ideas <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/boost-your-creativity-9-surprising-ways-to-generate-new-ideas" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/thinking-76750107.jpg" alt="idea" title="idea" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether you&#39;re solving a problem at work, figuring out how to remodel your home, or trying to come up with something new to fix for dinner, you&#39;d probably have an easier time if you had access to better ideas. Creativity is the art and science of generating these sorts of ideas, and nearly everyone wants to be more creative. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-your-resume-past-the-resume-filter?ref=seealso">20+ Ways to Boost Creativity</a>)</p> <p>Improving creativity often involves knowing how your brain works best and utilizing techniques in your thinking that will allow access to your rich, most creative mindspace. While some aspects of creative thinking are different for everyone, many depend on how the brain itself works. If you&#39;re not sure how to jumpstart your creativity, try applying some of the brain hacks below.</p> <h2>1. Relax!</h2> <p>Creativity requires dopamine. The more dopamine we have in our systems, <a href="http://blog.bufferapp.com/why-we-have-our-best-ideas-in-the-shower-the-science-of-creativity">the more creative we will be</a>, and the better the ideas we will have. Dopamine is associated with activities that make us feel happy, full, and rested, like showering, exercising, sleeping, etc. That&#39;s why we often find that we have our best ideas in unexpected places&nbsp;&mdash; because those are the places where our brains are relaxing. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-videos-offer-stress-relief-and-relaxation?ref=seealso">Free Videos That Help You Relax</a>)</p> <h2>2. Get Distracted</h2> <p>Along with relaxation, <a href="http://www.shelleycarson.com/blog/when-being-distracted-is-a-good-thing">distraction often produces some of our best ideas</a>. We often stew on the problems we&#39;re trying to find solutions for. When we don&#39;t come up with an answer, we walk away to do something else. And that is when we find the solution. New ideas often need an incubation period, where the connections being made in your subconscious can leap into your conscious brain. If you&#39;ve been working on a problem for a while, try doing something else for a bit.</p> <h2>3. Let Your Brain Get Tired</h2> <p><a href="http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=your-best-creative-time-not-when-you-think">When your brain is tired, it doesn&#39;t filter things as well</a>. One result is that in this less focused, less sharp state, our brains are free to room and make new connections. Since a huge part of having new ideas is simply letting your old ideas connect in new ways, this gives them the chance to do just that. So, if you&#39;re an early bird, try looking for new ideas at night. If you&#39;re a night owl, get up early to generate new ideas. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/have-a-great-day-every-day-5-things-to-do-in-the-morning?ref=seealso">5 Things to Do in the Morning</a>)</p> <h2>3. Create a Safe Place to Think</h2> <p>Your creativity, according to comedian John Cleese, is something like a tortoise. Before it really comes out to play, <a href="http://www.attendly.com/john-cleese-on-creativity-and-how-to-unleash-your-tortoise-brain/">it pokes out its nose to see if the environment is safe</a>. We talked about relaxing above, but it also helps to give yourself a certain time slot in the day where you try to think creatively, so your tortoise brain knows it&#39;s safe to come out. You can also make your workspace a friendly, inviting place where you feel happy to lure the tortoise into the open. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-can-do-to-be-happier-today?ref=seealso">10 Ways to Be Happier</a>)</p> <h2>4. Deprive Your Senses</h2> <p>Some people find that <a href="http://blog.bufferapp.com/the-power-of-shutting-down-your-senses-how-to-boost-your-creativity-and-have-a-clear-mind">sensory deprivation helps them think more creatively</a>. When you deprive yourself of all the sensory input you&#39;re normally getting and processing, your brain can use that energy to generate new ideas. While a sensory deprivation chamber is the best way to do this, simply dimming the lights and working at a time and place where noise won&#39;t distract you can help you generate more ideas. Since vision is your dominant sense, shutting that off can be the most effective in generating more brain power for fresh ideas.</p> <h2>5. Get Warm</h2> <p>If sensory deprivation isn&#39;t your thing, or isn&#39;t possible for you, then at least make sure you&#39;re warm enough. Being warm makes us happy, which produces dopamine. As mentioned above, more dopamine means more creativity, which means more great ideas. What&#39;s warm for one person may be cold for another, though, so you may have to compromise on this to optimize creativity for everyone in your workspace. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/boost-your-career-how-to-be-happier-and-more-likeable-at-work?ref=seealso">How to Be Happier and More Likeable at Work</a>)</p> <h2>7. Don&#39;t Fear Bad Ideas</h2> <p>Being afraid of bad ideas can paralyze us and keep us from thinking up new ideas in general. When we fear bad ideas, and there&#39;s no way to tell if our next idea will be great or terrible, we tend to stop thinking up new ideas in general. Instead, <a href="http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2009/12/fear-of-bad-ideas.html">we can let our new ideas come as they may</a>, knowing that we can discard the bad ones and keep the good ones. This way, we&#39;ll generate more great ideas than we will when we fear the bad ones.</p> <h2>8. Let It Sit</h2> <p>Sometimes, we wonder how to tell the difference between a good idea and a bad one. We don&#39;t just fear having bad ideas, but not realizing that one is bad and investing ourselves in it before realizing our mistake. One sure way to determine which of our ideas is great is <a href="http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/01/how-do-we-identifiy-good-ideas/">to simply let them sit</a>. Take a vacation. Walk away. Go do something else. When you come back to the problem, you&#39;ll often find that your brain has sorted your ideas and determined which ones are more likely to be worth following up on.</p> <h2>9. Meditate</h2> <p>These days, I sometimes feel like meditation is supposed to be the cure for everything. However, <a href="http://blog.bufferapp.com/10-surprising-facts-about-how-our-brain-works%20">a recent study out of the Netherlands</a> shows that people who meditate and then are given creative tasks perform better than those who are given the tasks without the meditation time before. Meditation seems to predispose the brain to generating ideas, possibly by helping it relax, or by inducing mental states where ideas can connect.</p> <p><em>When it comes to generating great ideas, what works for you?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/boost-your-creativity-9-surprising-ways-to-generate-new-ideas">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-foods-scientifically-proven-to-make-you-smarter">7 Foods Scientifically Proven to Make You Smarter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tips-for-remembering-names">5 Tips for Remembering Names</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-powerful-brain-hacks-you-can-do-in-under-2-minutes">8 Powerful Brain Hacks You Can Do in Under 2 Minutes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-places-to-go-for-inspiration">10 Places to Go for Inspiration</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-natural-and-effective-ways-to-change-your-brain-chemistry-and-be-happier">6 Natural and Effective Ways to Change Your Brain Chemistry and Be Happier</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips brain hacks creativity ideas Tue, 31 Dec 2013 12:19:39 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1103116 at http://www.wisebread.com Orange Makes You Buy More (and Other Sneaky Store Smell Tricks) http://www.wisebread.com/orange-makes-you-buy-more-and-other-sneaky-store-smell-tricks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/orange-makes-you-buy-more-and-other-sneaky-store-smell-tricks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/485145205_8ed939c375_z.jpg" alt="store smells" title="store smells" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As any realtor will tell you, the smell of fresh-baked cookies or warm bread are enough to inspire warm feelings of home. But are these yummy smells enough to get people to buy more while out shopping? (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/advertising-jargon-that-aims-to-mislead">Advertising Jargon That Aims to Mislead</a>)</p> <p>While television commercials don't yet have smell-o-vision to encourage viewers to buy products, physical stores can easily pump in manufactured smells to try to get people to spend more money.</p> <p>The trick works.</p> <p>A study by Nike found that adding scents to their stores increased intent to purchase by 80%, according to a story in <a target="_blank" href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/advertising/the-smell-of-commerce-how-companies-use-scents-to-sell-their-products-2338142.html">The Independent</a>, a UK newspaper.</p> <p>A Net Cost supermarket in Brooklyn, N.Y., was using machines to <a target="_blank" href="http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-500202_162-20080320.html">fill the air</a> with the smell of chocolate in the candy aisle, the smell of grapefruit in the produce section, and the smell of rosemary focaccia by the bakery.</p> <p>But why not just give customers a chocolate chip cookie to get them to buy more? Smell machines are cheaper, for one thing, and smell is more subtle than putting something in your face such as a cookie or playing loud music to get you to shop faster.</p> <h3>Strong Sales From Simple Scents</h3> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-11/wsu-slc112112.php">Researchers</a> at Washington State University College of Business and in Switzerland found that a simple scent works best to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-shopping-jedi-mind-tricks-and-how-to-spot-them">entice shoppers</a>. Writing in the Journal of Retailing, researchers noted that uncomplicated scents such as that of an <a target="_blank" href="http://www.treehugger.com/culture/beware-scent-orange-when-shopping.html">orange</a> had the most effect on increasing shopping.</p> <p>A simple smell is more easily processed, they found, which frees the customer's mind to focus on shopping.</p> <h3>Where the Nose Goes, the Wallet Soon Follows</h3> <p>Scents are often released at a store's entrance to attract people inside, which is one reason why perfume counters are often at the front of department stores.</p> <p>As Paco Underhill, a New York author of the book &quot;Why We Buy,&quot; told me in an interview two years ago, the smell of <a target="_blank" href="http://www.dailyfinance.com/blog/2010/04/20/sneaky-department-store-tricks-that-get-you-to-spend-more/">perfume</a> is intended to get shoppers to buy in that area and throughout the store.</p> <p>&quot;That, in part, gets our saliva glands developing, and when we are salivating we are much less disciplined shoppers,&quot; Underhill said.</p> <h3>But a Little Goes a Long Way</h3> <p>If you've ever been doused by a perfume sampler in a store, you know how offensive some perfumes can be and how the smell can do anything but get you to buy more.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.kometcommunications.com/">Leslie Komet Ausbum</a>, a marketing expert, says she avoids Abercrombie stores because of what she calls the &quot;noxious levels of cologne they have in the store,&quot; that sets off her daughter's asthma, and the &quot;horrifically loud music&quot; there.</p> <p>Other smells can backfire, too. Milk and cookies go together, but they didn't go so well in San Francisco in 2009 in the &quot;Got Milk?&quot; ad campaign. <a target="_blank" href="http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-205_162-2233121.html">Cookie-scented</a> cardboard strips were installed in bus stop shelters to encourage people to buy milk, but they were quickly removed after complaints. Among the complaints were that the ads could be offensive to poor and homeless people who couldn't afford sweet treats.</p> <p>Other bus shelter ads with smells, however, have been successful. The smell of <a target="_blank" href="http://www.daleair.com/index.php?route=information/information&amp;information_id=7">baked potatoes</a> was a hit in the UK, a spokesperson for Dale Air, an aroma business there, told me in an email interview. The company has also done interactive bus stop advertisements for cake and coffee businesses.</p> <p>Supermarkets that Dale Air has worked with have seen sales increase by pumping out the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/better-brewing-12-ways-to-make-coffee-at-home">fresh smell of coffee</a> in the morning and then a crusty bread or cake smell in the afternoon.</p> <p>Still unconvinced of the power of smell to motivate a response? Try baking a cake or a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/whats-cooking-breakfast-cookies-for-the-life-hacker-on-the-go">batch of cookies</a> and time how quickly your family leaps off the couch and into the kitchen. Then let us know the results of your experiment!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/aaron-crowe">Aaron Crowe</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/orange-makes-you-buy-more-and-other-sneaky-store-smell-tricks">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-products-you-think-you-need-but-really-don-t">25 Products You Think You Need, but Really Don’t</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-products-that-cost-more-for-women-than-for-men">6 Products That Cost More for Women Than for Men</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/choosing-the-wrong-color-can-cost-you-big-on-these-purchases">Choosing the Wrong Color Can Cost You Big on These Purchases</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/advertising-jargon-that-aims-to-mislead">Advertising Jargon That Aims to Mislead</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/unbearably-stupid-packaging">Dumbest packaging ever?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping brain hacks marketing smell Mon, 07 Jan 2013 10:48:37 +0000 Aaron Crowe 959794 at http://www.wisebread.com Why You Should Do Things You're Bad At http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-do-things-youre-bad-at <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-you-should-do-things-youre-bad-at" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/6129293752_fd81669783_z.jpg" alt="math" title="math" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As a kid, I wasn&rsquo;t afraid of the dark, heights, or even, for the most part, monsters. Nope, what really knocked me awake in a cold sweat at night was the thought of my math homework, which, despite the consequences, I avoided doing at all costs. While I&rsquo;d happily labor away at a reading assignment or spend hours writing and illustrating essays and stories, by third grade, I&rsquo;d closed the book on all things numbers.</p> <p>What I later realized was that it wasn&rsquo;t so much that I was entirely hopeless at arithmetic, geometry, or even algebra, but that while working with words felt natural, working with numbers was like walking on my hands &mdash; it would not come easily.</p> <p>I think everyone has things they avoid because they don&rsquo;t feel comfortable doing them. Competence is comfortable. And I&rsquo;ll be the first to admit it &mdash; doing things you aren&rsquo;t good at can really suck. Fortunately, there are some really good reasons to dig in anyway. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-improve-your-memory-and-even-get-a-little-smarter">How to Improve Your Memory</a>)</p> <h2>It&rsquo;ll Make You Smarter</h2> <p>Doing things we&rsquo;re good at makes us feel smart, but the cruel reality is that it actually makes us dumber. Crossword puzzles and Sudoku games are great, but once your brain has made those pathways, doing them over and over is just running over the same ground. Meanwhile, everything else gets thorny and overgrown.</p> <p>There&rsquo;s quite a bit of research that shows that new sensory experiences can cause massive rewiring in the brain, even as we age (which, for all the &ldquo;old dogs&rdquo; out there, means there&rsquo;s still hope). A recent study also found that all &quot;this rewiring involves <a href="http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120524123209.htm">fibers that supply the primary input to the cerebral cortex</a>, the part of the brain that is responsible for sensory perception, motor control, and cognition.&quot; In other words, by traveling to new places, trying new sports, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-great-frugal-skills-and-how-to-get-them">learning new skills</a> &mdash; perhaps especially the ones that are least familiar to us &mdash; we&rsquo;re actually pulling back the overgrowth that can age our brains. When it comes to finding the fountain of youth, this might be as good as it gets.</p> <h2>Life Will Seem Longer</h2> <p>Remember back in grade school when the school year seemed to be decades long? As we get older, a year can often fly by so quickly we hardly even notice it. That&rsquo;s because we actually don&rsquo;t have to; when everything is so familiar, there&rsquo;s no reason for our brains to take notice. According to research by neuroscientist David Eagleman, the more familiar we become with the world, the less information our brains record. In other words, trying new things can make our lives feel longer and fuller.</p> <p>No, you probably can&rsquo;t go back to the days when you were fascinated by a stick or a rock at the park, but you can create a similar effect by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-new-things-to-do-today"> introducing new things to your life</a>. And if they&rsquo;re new, you can bet you probably won&rsquo;t be a pro at them.</p> <h2>Bye Bye Ego</h2> <p>I think if there&rsquo;s anything that holds us back from doing things we&rsquo;re bad at, it&rsquo;s ego (at least it is for me). I&rsquo;m competitive, and I like to feel like I can succeed, or at least hold my own. What I don&rsquo;t like to feel is totally out of my element. But when I do something that doesn&rsquo;t come easily to me, it does two things: it frustrates me, and it forces me to learn some new things &mdash; and some new things about myself.</p> <p>I took up yoga, for example, because I lack flexibility. And balance. And coordination...and any sense of grace whatsoever. That made spending an hour and a half in a class full of beautifully bendy people really hard sometimes. I got frustrated. I got angry. I tried too hard and hurt myself. Sometimes, I gave up even trying at all. What I (finally) discovered was that before I could get better at yoga, I had to learn to be OK with not being very good at it. The same has proved to be true with other things that aren&rsquo;t strengths for me, like math (we&rsquo;ve made peace) and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/whats-cooking-breakfast-cookies-for-the-life-hacker-on-the-go">making cookies</a>.</p> <p>If yoga was an Olympic sport, I wouldn&rsquo;t make the cut. I don&rsquo;t think any amount of practice can morph my brain into that of a math whiz. And my cookies, well, Martha Stewart would not approve. But I&rsquo;m not ready to give up on them yet. At least not until I get to be good at them.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tara-struyk">Tara Struyk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-do-things-youre-bad-at">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-improve-your-memory-and-even-get-a-little-smarter">How to Improve Your Memory (and Even Get a Little Smarter)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/great-ways-to-invest-in-yourself">Great Ways to Invest in Yourself</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-great-frugal-skills-and-how-to-get-them">20 Great Frugal Skills — and How to Get Them</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tips-for-remembering-names">5 Tips for Remembering Names</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-easy-ways-to-improve-your-brain">13 Easy Ways to Improve Your Brain</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development brain hacks improve memory skills try new things Mon, 29 Oct 2012 09:48:36 +0000 Tara Struyk 954988 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways to Banish Negative Thoughts http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-banish-negative-thoughts <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-banish-negative-thoughts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_thinking.jpg" alt="Woman thinking" title="Woman thinking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Want to know the secret to success? The formula is part positive thinking and part self-awareness. It's easy to become jaded when life gets tough, but don't get caught up in negative thoughts because it may hinder your progress. Seeing the world as a glass half empty may lead you to give up easier and not try as hard because you may think that it's pointless to even make an attempt. Here's how you can banish those negative thoughts for good.</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Nice-Things-Do-People-21449581">RELATED:&nbsp;10&nbsp;Nice Things to Do for People That Won't Cost That Much</a></p> <h2>Get a Gratitude Journal</h2> <p>Writing down a list of things that you are grateful for can renew your appreciation for the things that you've been taking for granted. The gratitude list will cause you to focus on the positive and not the negative. Doing this daily can ingrain this type of positive thinking in your mind.There are plenty of really cool gratitude journals available on Amazon, like this <a href="http://www.amazon.com/2012-Gratitude-Journal-magical-remembered/dp/0615550916/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1332387580&amp;sr=8-5" target="_blank">2012 Gratitude Journal</a> ($8).</p> <h2>Surround Yourself With Friends</h2> <p>Friends make a person happier and can distract you from the negative in your life. They also provide a form of emotional support and can be there for you when the going gets tough. Feeling isolated will make you feel more negative because you'll start having these unrealistic negative thoughts about yourself that your friends can't counter. Friends will help ground you and give you a good dose of reality.</p> <h2>Defeat Your Thoughts on Paper</h2> <p>If you keep ruminating on something gloomy, write it down on a sheet of paper. Then play devil's advocate and write down several arguments to counter it. Keep on doing this, and you'll feel much better. Sometimes you get so focused on yourself and your misery that it's hard for you to find solutions or a positive perspective.</p> <h2>Offer to Pet-Sit</h2> <p>Having animals around you makes you happier, so offer to pet-sit for your friends when they take trips. If you can put in the money, time, and energy, you should really consider adopting a pet. Seeing how animals take such joy in simple things will snap you out of your doom and gloom mind-set.</p> <h2>Lose Yourself in an Activity</h2> <p>If you're obsessing about something, you need to break that seemingly never-ending loop of bad thoughts. Pick an activity that you know you can really lose yourself in, such as playing a sport, meditating, or even reading. Anything that will take your mind off of whatever is bothering you.</p> <h2>Take in the Outdoors</h2> <p>Scientists say that taking in nature can really calm a person's mind. Make it a point to go to a place with greenery, be it a nearby park or garden. Take a deep breath and inhale the smells and absorb sights of nature. You'll find negativity fading away.</p> <p>Love being happy? Here are more ways to <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Increase-My-Happiness-20753887">increase your happiness</a>.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Negative thoughts can make you unproductive, crabby, and straight-up unhappy. Stay positive with these suggestions. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p style="text-align:center;"><a style="border:none;" href="http://www.savvysugar.com"><img alt="" src="/files/fruganomics/u4/savvysugar-300-small.jpg" /></a></p> <p><em>This is a guest contribution from our friends at </em><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/"><em>SavvySugar</em></a><em>. Check out more useful articles from this partner:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Why-You-Should-Treat-Yourself-22018222">5 Reasons to Treat Yourself Without Feeling Guilty</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Have-Good-Day-21987023">How to Have a Good Day</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Vacation-Memories-12329688">7&nbsp;Easy Ways to Make Vacation Bliss Last</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/popsugar-smart-living">POPSUGAR Smart Living</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-banish-negative-thoughts">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/good-luck-bad-luck-who-can-tell">Good Luck, Bad Luck: Who Can Tell?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tips-for-remembering-names">5 Tips for Remembering Names</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-easy-ways-to-improve-your-brain">13 Easy Ways to Improve Your Brain</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-unbelievable-visualization-board-success-stories">3 Unbelievable Visualization Board Success Stories</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-powerful-brain-hacks-you-can-do-in-under-2-minutes">8 Powerful Brain Hacks You Can Do in Under 2 Minutes</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development brain hacks negativity positive thinking Thu, 29 Mar 2012 10:24:11 +0000 POPSUGAR Smart Living 914251 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Improve Your Memory (and Even Get a Little Smarter) http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-improve-your-memory-and-even-get-a-little-smarter <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-improve-your-memory-and-even-get-a-little-smarter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/crosswords.jpg" alt="People doing crosswords" title="People doing crosswords" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My mother forgets things.</p> <p>Not everything of course, but a lot. She can still recall the names of her friends from high school for example, and she remembers every embarrassing thing we did as kids... but ask her what we talked about five minutes ago, and you're out of luck.</p> <p>What's really crazy is that I can't tell you when it happened. In fact, from my perspective, it was almost overnight. It's as if her brilliant mind blew a fuse &mdash; one minute she was fine and then &mdash; POP &mdash; the next minute she wasn't.</p> <p>And now my mother forgets things.</p> <p>But we're not beaten yet.</p> <p>From mental exercises to food, I've been doing a lot of research into what helps people improve their memories, boost their brain power, and even stave off dementia. So whether you just want to get better at remembering names or want to keep your brain healthy for years to come, follow these suggestions. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tips-for-remembering-names">5 Tips for Remembering&nbsp;Names</a>)</p> <h2>Diet</h2> <p>The idea of eating for your intellectual health is nothing new, but this new development with my mom caused me to take a second, harder look at which foods do what.</p> <p>The brain, it turns out, is made up of fatty tissue, so it requires quite a bit of fatty acids to function properly...but not just any fats will do. The popular Omega-3s are a good start, boosting your brain power as well as your immune system (while providing a whole host of other health benefits), so eat plenty of fatty fish (such as salmon, tuna, and shrimp), nuts (walnuts and almonds are wonderful), and leafy greens.</p> <p>Supplements are good too &mdash; certainly better than nothing &mdash; but experts still agree that adjusting your diet is the best way to get the nutrients your body needs.</p> <p>And speaking of leafy greens, the darker ones, such as spinach and chard, do a great job of controlling your homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is a non-protein amino acid that in normal levels apparently causes no harm. But elevated levels have been associated with Alzheimer's Disease as well as cardiovascular disease and a few other serious health concerns. To control your homocysteine levels, you should eat plenty of the dark, leafy greens and take both folic acid and B-vitamin supplements. Incidentally, whole grains are a great source of B-vitamins and give you a healthy dose of magnesium too &mdash; an essential mineral that is crucial to living cells. Magnesium deficiencies have been linked to a wide variety of diseases and disorders, including cardiovascular disease, asthma, diabetes, and yes, dementia.</p> <p>Antioxidants also play a big part in your mental health, so think blueberries, garlic, olive oil, pomegranates, and those popular acai berries everyone is talking about. In general, the darker the fruit, the more potent the antioxidant properties, so eat from this food group as often as you like.</p> <p>Cocoa power also contains a powerful antioxidant...more powerful than green tea even, so try sprinkling some on top of your coffee or mixing with your milk.</p> <p>And since we're talking about coffee, having a few cups of java in the morning has actually been shown to be an effective deterrent against dementia and other cognitive diseases. And it's not just the caffeine &mdash; coffee apparently has some mystery compound in it, according to Science Daily Magazine, that interacts with the caffeine to protect against Alzheimer's. How much is enough? Studies show that moderate amounts &mdash; 4 to 5 cups a day &mdash; is sufficient to provide the health benefit.</p> <p>And last but not least, that daily glass of red wine really does have its perks. In addition to helping ward off heart disease, red wine also contains some very powerful flavanoids that boost blood flow to the brain. Don't like red wine? Opt for grape juice instead.</p> <h2>Exercise</h2> <p>Getting as little as 20 minutes of physical activity each day can help ward off Alzheimer's and other cognitive diseases. Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to the brain cells and also increases your levels of BDNF, a chemical that encourages growth and survival of new neurons.</p> <p>Exercise also improves the quality of your sleep, another must for those delicate neurons.</p> <h2>Stimulation</h2> <p>We've all heard the suggestions that exercising your brain is the easiest way to improve your mental power...and that little tidbit is actually true. But to get the most benefit, you need to engage in mental exercises that require your brain to work.</p> <p>Learning a new language or a new musical instrument, for example, forces your brain to create new pathways and form new neurons. The result is improved mental capacity. Crossword puzzles and other brain games work equally well, but here's the catch...once you've mastered the task, it's no longer challenging, and your brain doesn't have to form those all-important neurons to keep up.</p> <p>The key, then, is to keep your brain working by challenging yourself with new puzzles, activities, and areas of learning. The more you broaden your horizons, the better off your brain will be.</p> <p>And in case you're wondering, yes &mdash; video games are beneficial too. In addition to increasing hand-eye coordination, those who play video games at least three to four hours a week have better depth perception, pattern recognition, and overall mental dexterity. You'll also find that you process information a little faster too.</p> <h2>Memory Hacks</h2> <p>Whether you're stepping out to the store or trying to remember the name of the person you just met, these quick tricks can help you remember information faster and easier.</p> <p><strong>Use Visual Cues</strong></p> <p>Linking an image to something you need to remember is an easy way to trigger that memory later when you need it. For example, my mother's license plate used to begin with PBJ. I love <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-update-peanut-butter-and-jelly">peanut butter and jelly sandwiches</a>, so I used that image to remember the number on her plates. And clearly it worked... that was some 15 years ago and I can still pull it up with no problem.</p> <p><strong>Use Acronyms</strong></p> <p>When I need a few things from the store, I try creating a word using the first letter of those items. For example, if I need milk, eggs, and tea, I might use the word &quot;MET&quot; to help me recall which items I need to buy. Obviously, sometimes the letters won't cooperate and try as you might, you just can't form an actual word. In those cases, improvise. I once remembered brisket, bread, cilantro, celery, and soda by memorizing BBCCS &mdash; as in BB's and CC's. The letters didn't have much meaning for me, but it was enough to help me remember what to buy.</p> <p><strong>Use Lists</strong></p> <p>Trying to remember three or four items at the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-grocery-shop-for-five-on-100-a-week">grocery store</a> is one thing...it's quite another when that list grows to 10 or 15. There's nothing wrong with making a list, and in fact, making those lists takes the pressure off of you to remember every little to-do or to-buy that might cross your path. Given the amount of information we process on a daily basis, that's probably a good thing.</p> <p><strong>Say It Out Loud</strong></p> <p>When meeting someone for the first time, say their name out loud as soon as you learn it. This helps reinforce the face (image) with the name (detail) for future recall. Incidentally, this little trick works equally well with non-human recall too, so feel free to employ this tactic anytime you need to remember a set of details or specifications.</p> <p><strong>Write It Down</strong></p> <p>If you read a chapter in a book, you can probably recite the overall gist of the content, but when you write it down, you'll find that your recall is much more detailed. This trick comes in quite handy when you're studying for a test, memorizing a speech, or just need to remember something important.</p> <p>Obviously, there's no guarantee that you won't still forget things from time to time, and as of this writing, there's still no fool-proof cure for degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's. But we're getting there. And in the meantime, just think of how healthy and happy you'll be when you implement these new habits.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kate-luther">Kate Luther</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-improve-your-memory-and-even-get-a-little-smarter">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-easy-ways-to-improve-your-brain">13 Easy Ways to Improve Your Brain</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-do-things-youre-bad-at">Why You Should Do Things You&#039;re Bad At</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tips-for-remembering-names">5 Tips for Remembering Names</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-powerful-brain-hacks-you-can-do-in-under-2-minutes">8 Powerful Brain Hacks You Can Do in Under 2 Minutes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-fun-games-that-make-you-smarter-too">11 Fun Games That Make You Smarter, Too</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development alzheimer's brain hacks improve memory intelligence Fri, 13 Jan 2012 11:24:13 +0000 Kate Luther 855144 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Tips for Remembering Names http://www.wisebread.com/5-tips-for-remembering-names <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-tips-for-remembering-names" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/handshake.jpg" alt="Two men shaking hands" title="Two men shaking hands" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="160" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My husband has always said that I am great at remembering many details about the people we meet. One of the most important and basic things you should remember about someone new is his or her name. Here are some of my personal tips for remembering names; hopefully they will help you avoid an awkward &quot;I know you from somewhere&quot; moment. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/remember-where-you-parked-your-car-and-more-35-practical-uses-of-a-digital-camera">Remember Where You Parked Your Car and More: 35 Practical Uses of a Digital Camera</a>)</p> <h2>Look for Distinguishing Features</h2> <p>When I meet someone, I always look for something unique in the way they look or act. The trick is to pick some feature that starts with the same letter as their name. For example, if someone has a very distinct mole and his name is Michael, then you can associate &quot;mole&quot; and &quot;Michael&quot; mentally. I have also memorized some people's names based on their left-handedness, the way they walked, or their accents. Try to find a feature that isn't easily changed.</p> <h2>Associate a Name With an Occupation</h2> <p>Usually people tell you what they do for a living. I find that it's often easier to remember occupations than names because there is always a story to that occupation. All you have to do is to weave a person's name into your mental image of that person's occupation. For example, if a person tells you that he or she is a nurse, imagine that you are at a hospital and that person has a nametag on with that name on it. You should be able store that image into your head and bring it up more easily later than just recalling a random name.</p> <h2>Repeat and Reintroduce</h2> <p>When you just meet someone new, try to say their name a few times while talking to them. Repetition always aids your memory, so introduce that person to some of your friends. You can also ask people to spell their names if you don't have nametags. If someone has an unusual name, it is especially helpful to get the pronunciation correct by repeating the name a few more times.</p> <h2>Associate Real Words With Names</h2> <p>Many names aren't real dictionary words, and that makes them harder to remember. If you see a person's name and associate it with a real word, somehow it is much easier to remember. For example, when I hear a name like Jaden, I think of the word &quot;jade,&quot; and I associate the color green with that person. When I hear &quot;Gladys,&quot; I think of gladiolas and associate that flower with the person's face.</p> <h2>Use Social Media</h2> <p>If you happen to like people you just met, you could friend them on Facebook or Twitter, where they will have pictures of themselves and links to their personal sites. At blogger meet-ups I have asked people for their Twitter handles and permission to friend them on Facebook or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/standout-stuff-to-put-on-your-resume">LinkedIn</a>. When you have faces and names show up on your social media feed, then it is much easier to remember who they are when you see them in person. For the most part, I do prefer adding people who I have met in real life to my Facebook, and I find it to be a great tool to keep people's images and names fresh in my mind.</p> <p><em>What are your tips for remembering names of new people in your life? What do you do when you can't remember someone's name in a social situation?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tips-for-remembering-names">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-powerful-brain-hacks-you-can-do-in-under-2-minutes">8 Powerful Brain Hacks You Can Do in Under 2 Minutes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-people-with-good-communication-skills-never-do">12 Things People With Good Communication Skills Never Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-weird-brain-hacks-that-make-you-a-better-person-with-almost-no-effort">4 Weird Brain Hacks That Make You a Better Person With Almost No Effort</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-decisions-youll-never-regret-making">21 Decisions You&#039;ll Never Regret Making</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-improve-your-decision-making-skills">10 Ways to Improve Your Decision-Making Skills</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training General Tips Personal Development brain hacks communication skills meetings memories Fri, 10 Jun 2011 10:36:06 +0000 Xin Lu 570814 at http://www.wisebread.com