Cross your arms when reading this sentence. Go on. Try it. Now look down at your arms. Which arm is on the top? Now cross your arms again. This time, put the opposite arm on top. How does it feel? It feels strange, right?
People tend to get into habits, and our brains follow suit. We train our brains through the habits we develop. Something as simple as crossing our arms is something our brains are trained to do. When we change that habit, our brains tell us that it feels weird, peculiar, new, or uncomfortable.
Our brains not only learn the habits of our bodies but also gain habits for learning. Read the brain facts below and see which ones your brain already knows.
Learning new phone numbers can be a tricky business. After all, it's a lot to ask a person to remember anywhere between nine and twelve numbers. Area codes, country codes, and someone's “digits” can quickly transform into a confusing mess in your brain.
That's when chunking comes in. Most people don't remember a phone number as one big unit. Most of us divide long number sequences like phone numbers into groups or “chunks”. How a country “chunks” these numbers changes from one location to the next. In the United States, for example, most people chunk numbers by a 3-3-4 grouping. All the way in Turkey they say phone numbers in a 3-3-2-2 grouping.
Take this phone number as an example:
How did you say that phone number in your head? If you're American, you might have said it as
Five-five-five . . . eight-five-nine . . . eight-four-four-two
However, if you're Turkish, you may have said it as
Five hundred fifty five . . . eight hundred fifty nine . . . eighty four . . . forty two
We frequently use the chunking method to remember groups of numbers that are too large to remember on their own. Try chunking information into groups the next time you have to remember many things at the same time.
Avoid an Idle Brain
Your brain works just like any other muscle. Activities such as Sudoku, coloring, crosswords, or word searches can help your brain function at the highest levels! Consider brain games, like the number-based Sudoku, as being a fitness workout. Making a habit out of these games means that your brain will get used to working all the time. The more you work your brain, the stronger and faster your brain functions!
These games ask you to solve problems. In word searches, you must work hard to locate the correct letters in a grid. Crosswords ask you to solve numerous riddles in order to make words that crisscross on a board. Sudoku gives you some of the answers and then asks you to discover the rest using logical reasoning. Lastly, coloring stimulates the brain for planning and coordinating. When a person colors, they must think about which colors go best, where those colors should go and why they should go there.
Say it Loud and Proud
The next time you meet a new person whose name you want to remember, try saying the name of the person out loud. The brain is a tricky muscle. It learns much better if you learn something in more than one way. For example, you hear the name of a new person and then you say it out loud yourself. Studies show that hearing yourself say the person's name out loud helps your brain to remember the name and put it in your long-term memory. Pretty cool, huh?