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Posts Tagged ‘study tips

tulipsBW-800pxSuch phrases that are supposed to encourage hard work sometimes have the opposite effect. For example, being told to ‘put your nose to the grindstone’ could put off anyone for whom self-discipline is elusive, from ever studying again! In the New Scientist this week (Issue 3126, pp. 27-30) is a feature article called ‘Daydream believer’. It looks at what we can do to increase our focus at a long task such as revision, looking particularly at letting the mind wander around a topic.

Several studies suggest that letting yourself daydream intentionally about a topic which you are learning is a more effective strategy than forcing yourself to concentrate over a lengthy period.

So when you’re studying, don’t put your nose to the grindstone – tend to the thought garden. Consider the makeup of the flowers (the interesting parts), appreciate the insects and worms (the causes and unseen elements), imagine the sunshine and rain that will fall in the future (the bigger context and processes). Build up an intentional daydream about your topic of study. Mull things over not only when you’re at a desk or in the library, but when you’re in the shower, walking up from the station or making a cup of tea.

There are tried and tested memory techniques that are based on visualisation of the topic matters for instance in rooms of a “house”.

mind

Mind by Caterina SM is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

We all need tools to help us nurture a state of contentment and help others feel less anxious and stressed. You may have come across the idea of mindfulness, either in the newspapers, books or on television. Mindfulness is associated with Buddhism, yoga, meditation, those who have the money to go on retreats or indulge in fads. For those skeptics, this Scientific American article weighs up mindfulness and meditation from a creativity and calmness viewpoint. This TED talk looks at how regularly employing techniques like meditation shapes our brains.

If you are now convinced to find out more about mindfulness, we have many new books and ebooks that present the benefits of taking stock of a situation and appreciating the present rather than worrying for the future. These books are often called ‘Shelf-help’ books in libraries.

If you have a login to the Hillcroft VLE, check out the ebooks in the series ‘Can I tell you about…? ‘. They look at common learning difficulties and strategies to manage them, many through the lens of mindfulness’ psychological cousin, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

If you don’t fancy a book, Candis Magazine also provides are some simple tips and tricks for wellbeing.