We’ve all been there: massive text book open in front of you, late-night fatigue hanging in the air. Tomorrow’s supposed to be sunny, and you’re looking forward to that workout after school. Plus, this weekend is Tommy’s birthday party and…
Wait! The physics test is tomorrow and you keep zoning out!! And all you feel like doing right now is rockin’ your PJ’s and watching some Netflix… AAHHHH!!!
Fear not. Test-day domination is just a decision (or six) away. Heed these wise strategies for creating an alert, energetic study session even when you’re not in the mood…
- COLD. If your body feels warmth, it gets all gooey and languid and goes, “Ahh, let’s rest.” If you want your brain to stay crackin’ for more than a few minutes, give it cold. This can mean turning up the A/C, taking a 4-minute super-cold shower, or putting an ice-pack under your armpits.
- HUNGER. If you sate the tummy, you become a dummy. After a typical carb-alicious meal, the subsequent food coma is hard to overcome. Hydrate and give yourself light, quality fats (such as olives, macadamia nuts, and dark chocolate), but otherwise: keep the hunger in the stomach and let it propel your focus on the task at hand.
- PACING. Your body needs to MOVE! Keep oxygenating your brain with intentional breathing/meditation exercises, pacing the room while reciting content, or doing push-ups or wall stands. If you stagnate physically by sitting for too long, your brain will stagnate, too.
- SMALL INCENTIVES. Turn the session into something enjoyable. Rewarding 25-minute bursts of focus with 8 minutes of fun will induce the brain to feel motivation and keep it on task. Examples of solid 8-minute breaks: jumping jacks and a neck rub from a loving person nearby, a high-decibel Spotify dance break, or a food & drink intervention.
- EXTERNALIZE. If our brain is producing the content, rather than receiving it, it will stay alert, and retain the info, for longer. So instead of resigning yourself to boring reading and drills, pump up the energy: sing the content, pronounce it regally as if giving a speech, re-write it with your off-hand, and the like. Get creative about incorporating your hands and your vocal cords to make the material come alive.
- COMMISERATE. There are some other people in the world who are suffering through this prep nightmare, too. Call one of them every 75 minutes and give/receive a pep talk or shoot the breeze to clear your head. Sharing the moment with a classmate increases our energy and diminishes our languishing late-night pain.
These simple study hacks are tried and true methods for raising your game when you’re facing the human challenge of fatigue and boredom. Trick your body & mind into a state of enthusiasm and watch your results skyrocket!
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This entry was posted in Brain Food, BrainStorm’s resource center for parents.
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