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The Memory & Mindset Podcast
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The Memory & Mindset Podcast

Author: Lysette Offley

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Fastest, easiest techniques and strategies to master your memory and mindset and expedite your personal and professional success.
6 Episodes
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And why you should!If you can’t manage your mind – you can’t manage anything!Or at least, that’s how it appears to me. Maybe you agree?Whether it’s coping with the day-to-day ups and downs of life, or trying to motivate yourself to achieve a goal, maybe to muster up the necessary effort to learn new skills and pass exams – it’s that little voice in your head that will decide whether you succeed or fail.If you live in the UK, perhaps you caught the journalist, Johann Hari talking on the Victoria Derbyshire show a few years back? Basically, after experiencing depression himself and failing to solve the problem with medicine, and having done a lot of research subsequently, he has come to the same conclusion as I have: We’ve got completely the wrong idea about low-mood, and how to fix it.I see a lot of people looking for help to get rid of anxiety and depression. There’s a lot of it about – could it have something to do with our modern-day lifestyles?Duh!Johann Hari says, as do I, once you learn what your emotions are for, so that they become useful instead of a burden; and once you understand what you really need, and know how to fulfil those needs healthily, there is no need for the depression stick around any more.It has done its job.Yes, we’ve evolved to keep depression in our repertoire, as we have all emotions. And yes, they all serve an essential purpose.Did you know that despite our believing we are rational creatures, we can’t actually make decisions based on facts alone? We need to know how we feel about that decision. People who have damaged the part of the brain responsible for emotions (the amygdala) can’t make decisions! They simply cannot choose one option over another.Have you seen, “An invitation to stop complaining” from Rudy Francisco? It’s worth looking out for. Listen to his stories and notice that no matter how disastrous the situation, the people affected, instead of giving up the ghost, simply shrug and say, “Hey, coulda been worse!” He makes you think. Especially when you’re having a hard day. By the way, I’ll let you know later, where you can find the resources I’m talking about.Meanwhile, we are agreed aren’t we, emotions are a good thing!Where we go wrong, is resisting our emotions including depression and anxiety, and trying to get rid of them, before their mission is accomplished.If you’ve been reading my articles over the years, you will know that this is one of my favourite topics! Not just because it’s so enlightening, but because the vast majority of us haven’t got the first idea of how to make sense of what’s going on for us and how to use that understanding in a healthy and constructive way. So instead we bump our way through life, often feeling a victim of circumstances.And whenever we feel powerless, we are indeed making ourselves a victim!  A victim of a great big illusion!So, what can you do when your mind is preventing you from achieving your goals? Enter… (trumpet fanfare) …Mindset CoachingIt works!Quickly and automatically.If you would like help to manage your mind and achieve your goals you know where I am.We’re not machinesEarlier I mentioned Johann Hari. I’d recommend reading his book, Lost Connections. In it he says:The story used to be there’s a chemical imbalance in your brain and you need to take drugs to fix it.It’s deeply misleading and unscientific to say low levels of serotonin causes depression and there’s a better story about depression waiting for us.You can find the rest of this transcription and the links to my suggested videos and books here. 
Is there a right or wrong time to study difficult information?Do you find sometimes that despite your best efforts, something you’re trying to learn just simply will not go into your head?It’s the same for all of us. The cause might be because it’s less familiar information or a more difficult concept. It might be that we’re not as interested in it or that we’re tired and aren’t really giving it our full attention.But for whatever reason, sometimes learning a particular topic can be tricky.Good to know then, that there is something peculiar about the way our brains work, that we can use to our advantage.It’s all to do with Serial Position - Not breakfast cereal! But the proper term referring to what order things occur. In other words, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, last…Those of you who read my articles and who are familiar with the Genius Material strategy for learning, will know that I advocate working with your brain not against it.In any given learning situation, it turns out that there are certain times that are easier for us to remember what we’ve learnt. So, it strikes me that using those times to tackle the trickier stuff makes sense.And they are… (trumpet fanfare) …beginnings and ends!This applies to a few contexts, all of which can be useful.Information overloadYou’re probably aware of what tends to happen when playing an accumulative memory game such as:“I went on holiday and packed my case and in it I put my T shirt.”“I went on holiday and packed my case and in it I put my T shirt and my shorts.”“I went on holiday and packed my case and in it I put my T shirt, my shorts and my sunglasses.”I’m sure you remember the sort of game I’m referring to.It starts off easy enough, but as the list grows longer and longer and the game becomes more difficult, it’s usually easier for us to remember the beginning of the list and also the end. It’s the items in the middle that we tend to leave out.The same thing happens when we write a shopping list and accidentally leave it at home. When we get to the shop there’s a very good chance we will remember more of the items at the beginning and the end of the absent list. It’s the middle that’s more fuzzy.TimeYou also know what happens when you try to spend too long studying. Your brain goes to sleep!Therefore, you already know that you need to punctuate study time with short breaks. Well it turns out, that we also find it easier to remember what we learn at the beginning and the end of a session. So, if you take regular breaks, you automatically chop the time into multiple beginnings and endings, creating more opportunities to make it easier for your brain.Note makingI’m assuming that you’re following my articles and videos and know that it’s not enough simply to read the information you intend to learn – you have to actively manipulate it so that your brain can make a pattern of it and send it to your long-term memory. Not always, but usually, to do this, most people write study notes. (Writing isn’t the only way to actively manipulate the information, by the way, and the style of note-making you choose should be a direct result of understanding how your brain prefers to process, store and retrieve information.)And so, in order to make the most of the way that your brain already learns best, as you arrange your notes on the page, aim to put the weightier, more complex or more difficult information…Wait for it…! At the beginning or the end.Ya heard that coming, didn’t ya!
I frequently come across students with psychedelic textbooks! Undeniably beautiful, is enthusiastically and copiously highlighting your book actually serving you?Here's what you should be doing with those highlighters to help you remember what you’re learning.TranscriptionWant to know the right way to use highlighters so you remember what you’re trying to learn?Highlighting the challengeWho likes to use highlighters to identify themes in their textbooks?You?Are you sure it’s a good idea?I frequently come across students with psychedelic textbooks! Undeniably beautiful, is enthusiastically and copiously highlighting your book actually serving you?First of all, how many different colours are you using?If you are identifying three, four or five themes you can probably keep on top of your colour coding. But I suspect more than that and half the time you lose track of which colour represents which theme!It’s all too easy to get into a muddle. Secondly, what are you planning to do with your coding once you’ve identified the themes?Often people whip their felt pens out because it’s easier than doing real work!Studying is hard. Your brain will feel tired if you’re doing it properly.The instinctive, automatic parts of your mind, there to make sense of the world and keep you safe and comfortable, will try to convince you that highlighting your textbook constitutes ‘studying’, because it’s oh so much easier than the real thing!And so, it will contrive to make you feel good and avoid pulling your finger out!But pull your finger out, you must, if you need to get the information into your head and keep it there for the exam and beyond.Maybe you’re using highlighters to home in on the important stuff?If you highlight a few elements they will indeed stand out. But if you end up highlighting everything, nothing will stand out, will it?So, you need first of all, to establish what it is you’re trying to achieve with your highlighters.And then of course, you need to decide if what you’re doing with them is actually accomplishing that goal.Here’s a great way to use highlighters to help you learn…If you’ve read my previous articles you will be very familiar with the idea of learning small chunks of information.So, once you have decided which chunk of information you’re going to learn, I suggest you identify the keywords in that chunk.From that point onwards, you will focus on organising those keywords in your study notes; in patterns and groups, putting similar ideas together and separating them from others. While you are identifying the keywords you might choose to underline them with a pencil or, if you enjoy using coloured pens, why not highlight them instead?Either way, it will help your brain to notice what’s important.As your brain is sifting through the information to find those keywords, in other words, the most important ideas, it’s having to process and assess the information.This is a good thing!As you organise and draw your study notes, your brain has to actively manipulate the information – and it is that process which will have your brain make a pattern of it and send it to your long-term memory.And that’s exactly what you want, isn’t it?
If you look directly at leprechauns, they vanish! But you just might catch a glimpse of one, out of the corner of your eye, while you’re busy doing something else...You want to see happiness in your life? Here's where to find it.TranscriptionHere’s a question for you: What have leprechauns and happiness got in common? “I dunno! What have leprechauns and happiness got in common?” I hear you ask! Well, let me ask you another question: Is your ‘being’ well?Well-being seems to be all the rage these days. We all need it, but some of us don’t know how to get it.If you want more of it but don’t know where to find it, you will be reassured to know that you can indeed develop the behaviours and thinking patterns you’ll need to get there.Some people believe that you are born with your personality set in stone. I don’t believe that. I believe, like the psychologist, Oliver James that environment is responsible for a lot more than we’ve given it credit for in the past. Actually, he believes environment accounts for everything, and when I challenged him on that score, he gave me a very credible answer.So, assuming then that even your personality can and does change depending on your environment, how can we change our environment and consequently our personality, to achieve a greater sense of well-being?First of all, we need to know what personality components contribute to that well-being.Personality traits linked to greater well-beingIt turns out (thanks to a survey of 706 adults in the States) that enthusiasm and being difficult to discourage are key.The more enthusiasm you have, the more fun you have and the fewer negative emotions you have.Wow! OMG! Amazing! Stupendous! Epic! Immense! Awesome! I need some and I need some now. Sign me up. I’m all over it. Try stopping me!Try stopping meIt seems people who are difficult to discourage experience more positive growth, greater achievement and self-acceptance.Skinning a catWhile I’m not entirely happy with this particular expression, there are many routes through personality to a greater sense of well-being.Maybe you’re a compassionate person?Compassionate people tend to have better relationships with other people and experience more positive emotions.Or maybe you’re a hard-worker?Diligent, industrious people are more likely to work harder to achieve long-term goals. They are of course, achievement-orientated and experience greater well-being by achieving those goals.Curious?Inquisitive people, big fans of deep-thinking and open to new ideas, also benefit from a greater sense of well-being and personal growth.Pursuit of happinessHow many people do you know who talk about seeking happiness, for themselves or maybe for their children?“I just want them to be happy.”Of course, we can relate to the intention. Who wouldn’t want to be happy? Who wouldn’t want their children to be happy?But searching for it is a fool’s errand. It’s not a thing, out there. Instead, we may experience the happiness we seek by actively pursuing something else.It’s like seeing fairies at the bottom of the garden. Or leprechauns.So I’m told! If you look directly at them, they vanish! But you just might catch a glimpse out of the corner of your eye, while you’re busy doing something else. So, you won’t find happiness by looking for it. But what to do?The answer is to actively work on:Feeling satisfied with your lifeBeing independentAchieving life goalsPersonal growthBecause as you do, you’re likely to experience greater well-being and happiness.And that’s totes amazeballs!
There might be times when you wonder if there's anything you can do about your failing memory. There is! There are plenty of things you can do to preserve those precious brain cells. Here are some of them.TranscriptionAnyone ever informed you that you’re not as daft as you think you are?Ever had that little voice in your head ask, “How do you know how daft I think I am?”We all feel silly from time to time. We’ve all done foolish things, and questioned our brainpower or indeed, sanity!One of the most bonkers things I think I’ve done was many years ago, anticipating a dip in the spa waters in Rosh Pinna, north of the Sea of Galilee, in Israel. Knowing that the water was, apparently good for you but bad for cheap jewellery, I removed the silver earrings from my ears, understanding that the water would react with the metal.And then I did something incomprehensibly stupid!I stuffed them down the top of my bikini and proceeded to enter the water!Thus, dunking said silver earrings in the water anyway!Duh!And yes, the water reacted with the silver and turned the earrings black!Sometimes I think I am indeed as daft as I think I am!On the other hand, it did inspire my lovely husband to buy me a decent pair of diamond earrings, which I have enjoyed wearing everywhere and anywhere, ever since.So maybe, not so daft after all!Perhaps, like me, you have been surprised both by your apparent stupidity one minute, and genius thinking the next?Or is it just me?There’s so much we still don’t understand about the brain. Imagine that – most of what we know about the brain we have learnt in the last few years, and there are so many unanswered questions, we still can’t get our head around it! Ha ha!Certainly, what I was taught at school about the brain is complete and utter tosh, and yet it was the best information we had at the time.OK, I admit it. That was a while ago now.Crikey! A long while ago!Encouragingly, though, the more we learn about the mysterious workings of the brain, the more tips and tricks we discover we can use to improve our brainpower.Wanna try these? Each will only take you a few seconds. Give ‘em a go and let me know how you get on.Go GreenGo Green! We already know that hospital patients whose beds allow them to see nature and the environment through a window recover faster. What’s more, it turns out it doesn’t even have to be the real thing. Recovery is still faster for those patients able to see a large photograph or mural of the natural world painted on an adjacent wall.A new study at the University of Melbourne has recently discovered that looking at images of nature, even for less than a minute, was all it took to improve participants’ attention spans and concentration, reducing mental errors when tested. So, if you want to concentrate on a task, look out your window, if you’re lucky enough to look out onto a green scene, and if not, maybe consider installing screensaver on your computer that will do the job just as well.Chew gumChew gum! I wrote an article recently about ear worms. You know, a really annoying song going round and round in your head. It turns out that chewing gum will help you get rid of it. In fact, just up the road here, at the University of Reading, research confirmed that, and I quote, “…co-opting the articulatory motor programme to chew the gum impairs the involuntary recollection of an auditory image.”So now you know!Eat chocolateDark chocolate, that is. More
Learning Styles Hoo-Ha

Learning Styles Hoo-Ha

2020-05-1510:41

What about this thing called learning styles? Some people say it’s a thing. Others say it’s not....So where does that leave us?And are we supposed to bear our own learning style in mind when we study?So many questions!Here are some of the answers!TRANSCRIPTIONLearning Styles Hoo-Ha!What about this thing called learning styles? Some people say it’s a thing. Others say it’s not. So, where does that leave us?Well, needless to say, I have something to say about it too, but before I do, I want to reassure you, I’m not making any of this stuff up! Genius Material has a tremendous track record. It works.It’s based on science, not some well-meaning but over-optimistic (and by the way, often profitable) nonsense!  We are still a long way off understanding how the brain works, but we’re a long way forward from where we were when I was doing biology A-level at school, most of which information about the brain we’ve long since chucked out. I was taught that you’re born with a full complement of brain cells, and that throughout your life you lose them, quicker or slower depending on how you use them (or abuse them!)  We now know that’s partly correct. In fact, in certain parts of the brain you will continue to create new brain cells and connections, providing you give your brain a reason to.So, let’s talk about the brain and learning styles. There’s a big hoo-ha out there in the education industry at the moment. You may possibly have caught wind of some of it. Some people say there’s no such thing as learning styles. And those people will refer to research to back up their claim. The trouble is, they’ve jumped on the old band wagon a little prematurely, and without checking the facts first. The research they point towards is actually looking the way teachers teach, rather than how individuals handle information. My view is (and that’s after working with real people, young and old, for decades) it’s nuts to suggest that we all process information exactly the same way. Instead, I suggest that you have very little say over how you’re presented with the information you need to learn. You’ll be told to watch a particular video, read a chapter, or listen to a lecturer…But you have total control of what you then do with that information to have it go into your head and afterwards stay there.Let me explain…More
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