Enhancing Understanding

In this age of information overload, our brains are busier than ever before. We receive tons of information each day on our mobile devices alone. And this is excluding the data we are exposed to from other media sources.

Deciding what information is essential and what can be ignored is a herculean task. The result is that we end up feeling overwhelmed and confused.

Here are seven simple ways to make better sense of the world around us.

1. Work in 90-minute intervals – Generally our brains cannot focus for more than 90 minutes at a stretch. So take a short break after every burst to refresh your mind. Sip water or take a stroll, anything to break the monotony. This way, you will enhance both your focus and efficiency.

2. Set limits – Our attention is a limited resource and gets depleted over the course of activities, leading us to lose focus and make mistakes. Hence, instead of wading through all the information that comes your way, filter it. Schedule time slots and focus only on the task at hand.

3. De-clutter your mind and physical space – A clean space leads to a clear mind.

4. Find new ways to relax – Minimize your consumption of television and the Internet. Read an interesting book instead. Or explore a new form of music. Trying out unusual things forces our brain to grow new neural pathways, to expand the power of grasping and understanding knowledge.

5. Exercise Daily – A Cambridge University study found out that jogging just a couple of times a week can lead to the growth of new brain cells in the region linked to the formation and recollection of memories. Meanwhile, scientists have also recently found that particularly vigorous exercise helps release a protein called ‘noggin’, which helps to keep the brain nimble and active as we get older.

6. Sleep and wake up early – Sleep deprivation is a big productivity killer. It not only affects our mental capacity in the short term but also leads to quicker mental or cognitive decline over time. Yet almost all of us are guilty of losing out on sleep. In order to make the best use of the earth’s rhythms, sleep by 10 pm and rise by 6 am. Waking up early not only helps you to make use of the early uninterrupted hours but also enhances your mental clarity.

7. Meditate daily – If you want to understand the world better, you have to understand yourself better. Meditation is the quickest route to self-awareness and understanding. Meditate at least 20 minutes daily, followed by 10 minutes of quiet self-reflection. This alone time is critical for organizing your thoughts and life.

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