After asking herself these questions, Sandra Bond Chapman, founder and chief director of the Center for Brain Health, University, and her team created SMART - Strategic Memory Advanced Reasoning Training which is a research-based training program they claim can improve focus, memory, and cognitive function.
To back all this up, a 2013 study showed that just 12 hours of directed brain training altered brain function, increasing blood flow, enhancing information communication across key brain regions and expanding the connections between brain regions that lead to new learning in adults even over 50 years old.
1) Strategic attention - Focus is crucial for memory and learning. Instead of multitasking and trying to be efficient, focus on that one task at hand.
2) Integration - Integration enables your cognitive control to "zoom in" to scan the details and then quickly reprocess the information into the bigger picture and then evaluate by "zooming out".
3) Mental flexibility - Being able to consider different perspectives and viewpoints sharpens cognitive function.
An app based on the SMART approach should be released later in the summer. In the meantime, this is how you can improve your brain function:
Stop multitasking - Shifting and sharing our attention between multiple tasks only results in lower performance on each.
Distill and summarize - We should first look at a broader storyline and then focus on the details for better understanding.
Explore new views - Adopting some other perspective helps develop visionary ability and you don’t get emotional exploring ideas you don’t approve of.
Take brain breaks - Short breaks each day can give you fantastic results. That’s why you have thought of that brilliant idea on the toilet. Mental breaks keep your brain function on high charge.
Read less, but deeper - Instead of trying to learn as much new information as possible, focus on a handful and really get into it.
All in all, instead of multitasking, just going over things to accomplish efficiency, focus on tasks one by one, and fully devote yourself and your brain function to the task at hand.
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