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Mental Health

The Best Mental Exercises to Help You Through Exam Season

We are currently in exam season and let's be real – everyone wants to ensure they're doing quality studying, without having to stay up all night to get it. 

Mental exercises, also known as brain training (who else had the Nintendo DS Game?) are a brilliant way to keep your mind sharp by increasing your focus and memory, alongside helping with mental help and concentration. 

Meditation

Meditation has been scientifically proven to not only help with relaxation and stress, but it can also help with increasing your memory and ability to focus, while also maximising your brains' ability to process information (which is a massive win when reading so many pages of notes – I'm here for it.)

So, make sure to not only take breaks from studying, but also during those breaks, fit in even five minutes of meditation. Apps like Headspace and Calm have wonderful reviews and work wonderfully for me.

Work a different way

We all have that one way that we stick to for studying – for me, it's taking an obsessive number of notes because fine-tuning a large amount of information and condensing it into bite size notes work well. Recently, however, I read another contributors article on the Pomodoro method, and have been dying to try it. 

Over time, your brain can get used to you doing daily things in a certain way and may not focus as well. You might be surprised when you change your method of doing something and see your brain change in the way it thinks and focuses.

Of course, this is just an idea, so if you have a method that is already working perfectly for you, and you don't want to change – don't, you do you! I'm just here to give you ideas.

Listen to upbeat music

Thankfully, this is a simple and enjoyable way to not only boost your mental power and creative thinking but also helps with lifting your mental health.

According to a 2017 study, listening to upbeat and happy music can help you generate more innovative solutions, compared to when you are in silence. It's also no surprise that turning on happy music and having a dance around your room can also boost your mood! According to The Centres for Disease Prevention and Control, learning new dance moves can boost your brains processing speed and memory!

Exercise

While technically not a mental exercise, it's one that I had to include because it has good results. In some ways, it can be classed (kind of) as a mental exercise, as while you're physically exercising it gives you time to clear your head and think about what you have just studied, or to listen to some music which we know helps! Both your mind and body are connected, so a lot of times whatever benefits one will benefit the other. Exercising will not only help your body but also can improve your memory and cognitive skills. While on a study break, if you go for a short walk it can help to clear your mind and make you more focused when you sit down against study. It also increases blood flow throughout your body which can result in better mental health and a healthier mind.

I have started going for a walk in the morning, and it honestly makes me feel so good for the rest of the day.

Eat Well

I know it's probably been driven into your head since your Junior Cert, but eating healthy can have some benefits on your brain's health. Food such as Salmon, Eggs, Blueberries and Green Tea have all been proven to help boost your memory and focus.

I know exam season can be stressful but try adding these small things into your day – you might just find some benefit from it. Also, don't stress! You are one smart cookie, and you've got this. Good luck!

My name is Emma, and I'm originally from the north west of Ireland! I'm a journalism student in DCU, and have loved reading and writing ever since I was young. I'm a big lover of music, and also do some modelling work on the side!
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