8 Ways to stop overthinking

By Kritika Joshi, Freelance Contributor 

 

“To think too much is a disease.”
– Fyodor Dostoyevsky

What is holding people back from the life they truly want to live and enjoy? That one very common and destructive thing is that they think too much. Overthinking is equally deliberate as it is common. Here are 8 ways to stop overthinking-

Notice when you are overthinking-

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Before you understand how to cope with your habit of overthinking, you need to learn to be aware of when it is
happening. Awareness is the seed of the change you want to make. Once you notice that you are overthinking you can stop yourself from getting lost in the thought.

Keep yourself busy-

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One main reason you overthink is that you have the time to do so. Keep yourself busy. Be active throughout the day and tire your body out, so that you have no time left for the over analysis. Not one day can be fruitful if more time than necessary is allowed for aimless thinking.

Change your mind-

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Distract yourself into happiness once you feel that you are falling prey to overthinking. Sometimes it is helpful to have a way to distract yourself with happy, positive, healthy alternatives. Things like meditation, dancing, exercise, learning an instrument, drawing, painting can distance you from the issues enough to shut down the over analysis.

Sleep-

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Sleeping is like pressing the reboot button on your mind. When you haven’t slept you become more vulnerable to overthinking. Get plenty of good quality sleep. Sleeping leads to a fresh mind which disrupts the complex web of overthinking. Listening to some good music may help to get a good sleep.

Practice mindfulness-

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It is an activity where one focuses on the present moment without judgement. As the obsessive, worrying thoughts come in; you acknowledge them and then let them go, energetically release them clearing your space. One of the biggest struggle is the ability to live in the present moment. Control what you think.

Use positive daily affirmations for anxiety-

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Affirmations are statements that help you overcome negative thoughts. Some good affirmations for anxiety are- “I have the power to decide what I will think about. My thoughts do not control me”; “I refuse to allow my imagination to show me disastrous future.” Use these affirmations daily to stop negative thoughts of overthinking.

List your thoughts down-

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Make a list of things that are troubling you down. Keep a diary of things that are troubling you. Jot down all the things on your mind every day. Go over what you have written; try to deal with the thoughts yourself. Ask for advice if you are finding it difficult to deal with things by yourself. Ask for advice if needed.

Realise that no good can be achieved by overthinking-

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Overthinking may lead to excessive worrying, anxiety, panic, fatigue, inability to concentrate, muscle tension, digestive disorders etc. There are more cons of overthinking than its pros. Overthinking leads to no good and may lead to severe health issues. Nothing can be achieved by overthinking. You cannot predict the future, and thus should not waste your efforts on stressing about things.

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7 things people with social anxiety disorder go through

By Pallavi Kandhari, Freelance Contributor 

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Social anxiety is the fear of social situations that involve interaction with other people. Social anxiety is the fear and anxiety of being negatively judged and evaluated by other people. A person suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) may sometimes think that people would ‘judge’ them if they talk about this fear. But it is the most common anxiety disorder with up to 10% of people being affected at some point in their life. So, you are not alone. Here are some points every person going through SAD can relate to-

1) Excessive worry about one’s looks

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They tend to spend more time in getting ready than what an average person would do and that is because of the fear of being negatively “judged” by people they don’t really know… So, they need to look their best every time they step out of the house in order to avoid the fear of being negatively evaluated. And as Eleanor Roosevelt said rightly,” No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”.
2) Being the center of attention is a NIGHTMARE

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Have to give a presentation at work, school or college? Have to give a speech? The mere thought of being the center of attention is equivalent to a nightmare and cripples them with fear and anxiety. They are afraid that what if people notice, how anxious they are? Sweating, trembling and other physiological reactions come naturally when asked to give a speech or presentation.
3) Shyness is a pervasive personal state

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Having any sort of conversation with any stranger or sometimes even known people triggers shyness related anxiety and they begin to having irrational thoughts that they might end up getting judged, mocked or negatively percieved in some way. However it is important to remember that many people who are shy do not have the negative emotions and feelings that accompany social anxiety disorder. They live a normal life, and do not view shyness as a negative trait.
4) Hesitance and low self confidence tend to be mostly around the corner

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People with social anxiety usually (but not always) tend to have a low self esteem due to the fear of being rejected or being mocked at. They try to avoid conversations as much as possible in order to avoid being judged or evaluated. They constantly have the fear of being criticized and disapproved. They sometimes hesitate to take decisions and risk ending up coming across as ill-equipped in handling pressure situations.
5) Ordering food is not meant for them.

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Ordering food in person or on phone can be very stressful as it involves taking a decision and then interacting with a stranger. When they go to a restaurant they constantly feel that people will judge and laugh at them. Sometimes they may have the fear of pronouncing something wrong and that raises their anxiety even before they order as they feel that they may end up sounding silly.
6) Escape becomes their best friend

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Leaving a party, social gathering or a family function after spending a brief amount of time is very common. They are the last ones to enter and the first one to leave. Escaping from these situations when anxiety raises can sometimes help them to calm down and they have no regrets of leaving early or escaping from anxiety provoking social gatherings.
7) They become their own best friends

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With the constant fear of being negatively evaluated or criticized by people, they mostly avoid their company and start to enjoy their own company. They become their own best friends and end up spending a lot of time with themselves which sometimes curbs the anxiety provoking thoughts and make them a feel a bit relaxed.

 

7 non-clichéd ways to therapeutically meditate

Komal Sharma, Freelance Contributor 

”Meditation is great, but I don’t know where to start/ but it isn’t going forward/but I don’t understand it”
The rationale behind this article is to understand that the process of meditation can never be put across in hard lines. It is happening, right now, as I type, fully aware of my being and senses. I hope these tenets will guide you to curate your own method, instead of following one of the gazillion techniques which you’d probably end up sacrificing third day into practice; because meditation, like love, is a personal experience.

1. Sensation
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Do you love it when someone smoothly runs their finger on your arm? Does the soft caress of grass against your feet melts you? Does warm water give your body an immense therapeutic satisfaction?
Sure it feels good, but how can you use it? – By feeling each drop of water interacting with the cell in your body. By sensing each grass strand tickle and tingle your skin. Let yourself be free to thoroughly travel through your sensations, lose the track of time and, just, let yourself be.

2. Singing Bowl :
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Every bowl speaks to you a different song. How willing are you to listen?
Each bowl has its own personality; you know it when you ‘choose’ yours. From its appearance, to its size and rhythm that’s produced, each aspect will pull correct chords within you. Delving in music you produce will help you connect your frequency to it, and you will experience a convergence and expansion of your energy.

3. Catching a tone in music:
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Love listening to music?
From classical to EDM – Catch the sound of any instrument you like (flute/drums); mentally focus on it (but DO NOT STRESS). Keep the process as easy as you can. If you’re able to focus from 3-minutes at a stretch consistently, it means you have mastered the art. Now you’d not only have great taste in music but also an extended attention span and focus.

4. Trataka yoga
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Don’t like shutting your eyes close? Ever caught yourself looking blankly across the room and found it so relaxing that you lost yourself in it? Then this practice is absolutely for you. FOCUS. Gaze internally (on an object you might imagine) or externally (at moon, or flower). Initially, it will be strenuous to keep staring mindfully at an imagined or physical object. With practice,though, you’ll find it immensely liberating.

5. Mandala:
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Got a hand of an artist or not, this is a proven way to meditate. Get yourself a compass and colors. It is said that the Mandala that you draw is the state of your mind. Eventually you will be drawing more vibrant and lovely Mandalas. Also, you can get yourself a Mandala book and just color it. Drawing Mandala or just doodling is a way to bring your meta-feeling in physical existence. Worth a try, isn’t it?

6. Thoughtlessness
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The key here is not to aim to be thoughtless. Yogis focus on the Chakra located at the center of your crown. Gradually with due practice, you observe your physical body as a third being’s consciousness. With years of practice, one can switch their thoughts on and off as and when required. You save yourself from the thoughts that potentially can cause harm.

7. Movement meditation
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I know many people who have excruciating time sitting plain idle. Your actions will lead you as you pay vivid attention to them and let it scintillate your imagination. The way your hands touch cold and warm objects and the sound of crushing leaves under your feet. The feeling of wind gently passing through your hair and the heavy sigh you take after a long hike. You can go around places and still have the calm within you; one may call it ‘wandering peace’.

If you have gone through all the ways mentioned above- you’d have realized that it is not about which way is better, it is about the way which is closest of your style-of-being.

 

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10 indications that you’re overthinking stuff

Shivangi Srivastava, Freelance Contributor

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Do things keep playing in your head on repeat mode?
Are you always trying to crack some secret code?
Does your sleep ditch you at night?
Are you constantly worrying about your future?

To think about things or situations in life is necessary but when ‘thinking’ goes overboard, that’s when we start facing problems in life. Over-thinking is a state of constant worrying, where our mind starts to work extra hard, unnecessarily.
Here are 10 indications that will help you understand if you’re over thinking it:

1) You’re hesitant when it comes to giving a voice to your opinions.

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You may find it very difficult to share your thoughts and opinions regarding a certain topic or situation because you fear that people will JUDGE you for how you think and for the kind of choices you’ve made or are currently making in life.

2) All the possibilities are only assessed as either ‘BAD’ or ‘WORSE’.

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For you, ‘WORST-CASE SCENARIOS’ are the only possible scenarios. You may find yourself focusing too much on all the things that can possibly go wrong. Good outcomes are just a matter of luck for you. Also, you tend to be over critical about yourself. People who overthink rarely are able to see their own positive sides because they’re too busy evaluating themselves on their negatives.

3) It seems as if the whole world is conspiring against you.

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You may feel as if people around you observe all the things that you do and judge you for it. It may seem as if everybody around you is talking about you, is criticizing your actions and has formed strong opinions AGAINST you.

4) You believe that one must know ‘EVERYTHING’ in order to understand you.

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You try to include all the possible details while telling somebody about anything. In your opinion, missing out on any piece of information would mean that the message was not conveyed exactly how you wanted it to be and now people won’t understand you and may form negative opinions about you.

5) Creative skills are mostly used in decoding ‘HIDDEN’ messages which may not exist at all.

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Being an over-thinker, it is possible for you to consume your energy in looking for underlying meanings for every word that you hear. You may find yourself constantly worrying if somebody’s motive was to indirectly tell or indicate something to you while conversing with you.

6) You cross-check the messages you’re about to send multiple times.

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It takes you a lot of time to send a message to somebody. You keep going through the messages, again and again, deleting or editing its content. You have the notion of sending an error-free or so-called ‘perfect message’ so that the person on the receiving end does not take you for a dumb individual.

7) Maladaptive daydreaming
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As an over thinker, you experience frequent and intrusive daydreams that can disrupt your everyday tasks and quality of life. Certain situations are often stuck in repeat mode inside your head or you start imagining things that have no end to them and eventually find it very difficult to come to reality and do your daily tasks.

8) You take ‘LITTLE’ things very ‘SERIOUSLY’.
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While having a conversation with somebody, you may find yourself taking little things very seriously. There may be times when people are just talking or discussing things on a very general level but you might take things personally and feel disturbed. It sometimes gets a little difficult to convince you that everything’s okay because you usually want every piece of information to make up your mind.

9) Your behaviour and actions are mostly based on your ‘ASSUMPTIONS’.
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The term ‘over-thinking’ itself suggests thinking more than required; thinking more than there is to think actually. Over-thinkers usually pre-assume a lot of things (basically, jumping to conclusions) and later are found constantly worrying about things that may or may not exist. This eventually leads them to behave oddly around people.

10) Anxiety knocks and blows good night’s sleep away.
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Overthinking often generates anxiety and results in panic attacks. This anxiety holds you back and disrupts your normal functioning. Messing up one thing might mean messing up the entire thing, in your opinion. You keep ruminating about it and thus, face trouble sleeping.

 

 

 

 

10 psychology terms that’ll help you make sense of the world

by Ishaan Kumbkarni, Staff Writer

1. Availability Heuristic

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It states that we tend to base our evaluations, judgments and perceptions of the world around us on the basis of the information that is easily available to us which means that more often than not, our conclusions are based on incomplete, or in some cases, irrelevant information just because it happened to be in front of us.

2. Mere-Exposure Effect

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It is a psychological principle which states that people tend to rate things, people or places positively when they are familiar with them, often disregarding actual qualities or drawbacks for familiarity. This is interesting because it has no basis in logic. In studies of interpersonal attraction, the more often a person is seen by someone, the more pleasing and likable that person appears to be.

3. Social Loafing

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In social psychology, social loafing is the phenomenon of a person exerting less effort to achieve a goal when they work in a group than when they work alone. This is seen as one of the main reasons groups are sometimes less productive than the combined performance of their members working as individuals.

4. Learned Helplessness

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It is a phenomena wherein repeated negative experiences of individuals lead to implanting of pervasive and enduring negative beliefs regarding their abilities within them. Research also shows that a single positive experience has the power of arresting this downward spiral.

5. Spiral of Silence

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This theory that draws from political science says that individuals have a fear of isolation, which results from the idea that a social group or the society in general might isolate, neglect, or exclude them due to their opinions. This fear of isolation consequently leads to remaining silent instead of voicing opinions.

6. Pluralistic Ignorance

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Pluralistic ignorance occurs where the majority of individuals in a group assume that most of the others are different in some way, whilst the truth is that they are more similar than they realize. They thus will conform with supposed beliefs of other individuals and the supposed beliefs will become the group norm rather than actual beliefs of that group.

7. Cognitive Dissonance

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Discomfort or tension that arises from holding two or more psychologically incompatible thoughts at the same time. Research posits that people are motivated to avoid or minimize cognitive dissonance whenever possible.

8. Conformation Bias

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A tendency to search for and weigh information that confirms one’s preconceptions more strongly than information that challenges them.

9. Counterfactual Thinking

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Imagining alternative scenarios and outcomes that might have happened, but didn’t.

10. Deindividuation

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A loss of self-awareness that occurs when people are not seen or paid attention to as individuals (for example, when they become absorbed in a role that reduces their sense of individuality or accountability, or when they become part of a crowd or a mob).

 

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7 things you can do in the moment to tackle Anxiety

by Kritika Joshi, freelance contributor |

Anxiety is an emotion we address in our everyday lives. It is a part of everyone’s experience, whether it is exam anxiety, social anxiety or specific phobias etc. Anxiety is associated with alterations in our mental state experienced as worry or apprehension and physical symptoms such as raised heart rate and adrenaline. It is likely to affect us temporarily until the source of our anxiety has passed or we have learnt to cope with it.
The following are 7 things one can do in the moment to tackle anxiety:

1. DISTRACT YOURSELF
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It is important to think clearly when you are flooded with anxiety. Take time to calm down and try your best to distract yourself from whatever it is that has you on edge. Taking a walk, a bath, noticing the environment, listening to your favourite song are activities that could help.
If you get anxious regularly, engage yourself in a hobby which you could turn to during those trying times.

2. PHONE A FRIEND
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Sometimes all you need, is to hear a familiar, friendly voice or to just know that you have a human soundboard to bounce ideas off of. Surround yourself with people that are a good influence on your life. Discussing your problems with others can help you feel less alone. Socializing stimulates the production of hormone oxytocin, which has an anxiety reducing effect. So next time a freak out happens grab your most trusted pal and sit with him/her.

3. SMILE
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It sounds like the most obvious advice imaginable; but clichés are clichés for a reason, so just put up a happy face.
A recent study claims that smiling does actually help us feel better and reduce anxiety. When you are feeling anxious try forcing a smile on your face. There will be something oddly satisfying watching the anxiety monster crumble at the sight of your smiling face.

4. PLAY AROUND:
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Playing with a dog can decrease cortisol (stress producing hormone) whereas increase oxytocin production (stress reducing hormone). Why not have access to natural anxiety killers that have the added advantage of being super cute, if you can.

5. DRINK WATER
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Studies show that water is a great ‘anxiety quencher’. When body is dehydrated it can induce anxiety and nervousness. Our brain needs sufficient water to function properly. Experts recommend drinking 2-3 litres of water daily.

6. SIT WITH YOUR BODY FOR 10 MINS AND JUST LISTEN TO IT
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Take 10 seconds out and collect some fresh oxygen. Have a silent conversation with yourself. When you are anxious your breathing becomes faster and shallower. Bring your breathing and mind together. Listen to the movement of your lungs. Try deliberately slowing your breath. Count to 3 as you breathe in slowly then count to 3 as you breathe out slowly. This’ll calm you down.

7. SAFE PLACE MENTAL IMAGERY:
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Take a moment to close your eyes and imagine a place of safety and calm, visualise a happy place. It could be any happy memory from childhood or any other happy incident, to soothe you until your anxiety lowers.
Try not to pay attention to current anxious mental state just focus on the feeling of smooth sailing through the storm.

 

10 Neuro-psychology Researches that’ll change the way you look at the world

by Ishaan Kumbkarni, staff writer

Here are 10 recent neuroscience and psychology researches that’ll transform the way you look at and perceive the world.

  1. Is your thought process really a private phenomenon?

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Scientists in Germany used pattern recognition software to predict, from functional magnetic resonance imaging of people’s brains, whether each person had secretly decided to add or subtract two numbers he was looking at. The computer correctly predicted the decision more often than not. What’s stopping a super computer from surveilling our brain?

 

  1. Our brain is capable of beautiful things

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Some people have been brought up in hate and are taught to despise the world (see: terrorists and xenophobes) but a new study, from the University of Zurich, reports that having just a few positive exchanges with a person from an outside group can trigger neuronal changes in the brain that cause someone to become more empathetic towards strangers from an outside group.

 

  1. You can train your brain to change the quality of your life

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Neuroscientists at Oxford University recently discovered a neurobiological mechanism that might explain how one can overcome apathy and stay active and motivated.  They hypothesize that anyone who is healthy can change the functional connectivity of his or her brain by consciously changing habits of behavior and patterns of thinking. Because the brain is plastic—your mindset, explanatory styles, and predisposition to be motivated or apathetic are never fixed.

 

  1. The brain has a separate, small beating heart, all for itself

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A team led by Prof. Ed Wu at the University of Hong Kong revealed that low frequency (1Hz) oscillations in the hippocampus help to synchronize activity in the brain. They used optogenetics and resting-state fMRI to explore the role of the slow hippocampal-cortical oscillatory activity in controlling and connecting different areas of the brain.

 

  1. Stress can actually change the structure of your brain; and not for the better

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Neuroscientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have found that chronic stress triggers long-term changes in brain structure and function. Their findings might explain why young people who are exposed to chronic stress early in life are prone to mental problems such as anxiety and mood disorders later in life, as well as learning difficulties.

 

  1. There was a marked increase in the number of suicides following Robin William’s suicide

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A new study revealed that there was a 10 percent increase in suicides in the months following Robin Williams’ death. Researchers report, significantly, there was a 32 percent increase in suffocation suicides in the 5 months following Williams’ death by the same method. This is a known psychological phenomenon with the rates of suicides in general population increasing after most high-profile suicides.

 

  1. People who daydream may be intellectually advanced

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People with efficient brains may have too much brain capacity to stop their minds from wandering. Eric Schumacher and his team at Georgia Tech found that people who report frequent daydreaming score higher on creative and intellectual ability and have measurably more effective brains than those who don’t. Apparently, the smarter you are, the more you daydream. Dream on!

 

  1. Emotions can alter your ability to learn and perceive

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Educational situations where students feel stressed, shamed, or just uncomfortable can actually make it more difficult for them to learn, increasing negative emotions and sparking a vicious cycle that may leave some children reluctant to attend class. Research is revealing why, as the emotional part of the brain, the limbic system has the ability to open up or shut off access to learning and memory. When under stress or anxiety, the brain blocks access to higher processing and stops forming new connections, making it difficult or impossible to learn.

 

  1. Dopamine is a magic liquid running inside us and it becomes active when we experience new things

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Researchers have found that novelty in the world around us causes the dopamine system in the brain to become activated, sending the chemical throughout the brain. Dopamine is often regarded as the “feel good” chemical, scientists have now shown that it actually plays a much bigger role, encouraging feelings of motivation and prompting the brain to appreciate and learn about new and novel stimuli in the surroundings. Really, they should be selling this stuff on amazon.

 

  1. Cognitive Offloading: How the Internet is Increasingly Taking Over Human Memory

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Researchers from UC Santa Cruz and the University of Illinois report that our ever-increasing reliance on the internet and our ease of access to new information is affecting our ability to learn and recall facts from memory, as well as impeding our ability to solve problems. Basically, the internet is making us dumber.