If there were ever a time to have a sharp memory and brain that’s on par, your time in college would be it.
Not only are you taking in a ton of information on a regular basis, writing papers, and studying for tests, but you’re also meeting a lot of new people, making connections, and forming a whole new facet of your identity. A brain that’s functioning at its best is a valuable asset. If you want to do your very best in school, consider some of the following ideas for getting your mind in tip-top shape.
1. Eat healthily
Your brain needs the proper nutrients to function correctly—just like your body! There are a variety of healthy foods that are commonly known as “brain superfoods,” including eggs, peanut butter, salmon, whole grains, oats, berries, beans, colorful veggies, lean beef and milk or yogurt. Just like the rest of your body needs the proper fuel to help you get through your day, feel great, and operate at a helathy level, your brain needs proper care like this as well.
While it can be tough to eat healthy during any season of like, making sure you’re stocked with fruits and veggies and good proteins can feel difficult on a student budget. (And because it’s a whole lot easier to pop a frozen pizza in the oven during a late-night study sesh—let’s be real.) If you’re on a meal plan, practice making healthy choices, and grab an apple instead of a slice of pie. If you’re able to, stock up on a bag of carrots or get ingredients to make yourself a healthy smoothie. Your brain will thank you.
2. Exercise regularly, especially before a test
Exercise increases the flow of oxygen to your bloodstream, which helps increase the amount of oxygen that gets to your brain. Along with that oxygen come valuable nutrients that will assist your brain in functioning at a high level. Do what you can to work in a morning run before your first class, or hit the gym for a late-night work out session with your friends. Even simple things, like walking to class instead of taking the shuttle, can help you get a small work out in on a more regular basis.
3. Take a shower
It might sound a little crazy, but it’s true! Science shows that you are more likely to have a brilliant idea when you’re doing something monotonous. Your brain is able to flip on autopilot since these tasks don’t require much brain power, allowing your mind to wander and let your subconscious work out connections your conscious mind would have normally tossed aside.
If you’re getting a little overwhelmed with all the studying your doing, or you’re looking for the perfect way to end your ten-page paper for your history class, jumping in the shower might give your brain some much-needed rest and a chance for an epiphany.
It’s a wonder we get any sleep at all when in college with all that’s going on and all the work we have to do. Between social activities and one’s studies, sleep can get pushed pretty low on the priority list. The thing is, sleep has an incredibly big impact on your brain’s ability to access memory. When you sleep, your brain is able to process the information stored in your short-term memory and store what you’ve done for the day. Memories are then solidified as the connections between brain cells are strengthened and the information is transferred from one region of the brain to another.
The same thing happens when you take a nap. So rest assured that your mind is working even when you’re asleep, and it’s actually a detriment to your memory if you deny your body the proper amount of rest.
5. Get creative
There are lots of different ways to get creative and use unique methods to help improve your mind’s ability to focus and remember things. If you’re studying for a test, try creating visual aids so your brain can “see” and remember things in a new way. Instead of trying to “learn” the information, switch that concept around and practice “teaching” a classmate about it. You have to learn something in its entirety to be able to teach it, so it’s a great way to help yourself gather information in a new, approachable way.