The Four Secrets to Long Term Retention...
Secret Number One: Relaxation
The number one factor to getting long-term retention is relaxation, in other words, "chill out." People who are relaxed and "de-stressed" remember information well. To get serious results in learning you can't take it too seriously, and if you do, you'll have serious learning problems.
Have you ever seen pictures of brain cells under stress? The brain cells expand and actually make it difficult for the neurons to pass through your brain. Tthe term "mental block" is a physical reality.
If I push you, you'll want to push me back. Pressure produces resistance. If you push your mind too hard, or in the wrong ways, your mind will rebel, and you'll have trouble remembering things for any period of time.
I can't overstress (no pun intended!) the importance of a relaxed mind and environment if you want to learn well. This has many practical applications and we'll work through several of them here.
Some of the best learners are people who do deep breathing, yoga, and meditation on a regular basis. These people have very fertile minds, as well as do most musicians, artists, and actors. Most of the time, these types of people have a fairly carefree view of life, and this keeps their minds in a relaxed state.
Here are some great ways to relax your mind...
Be positive about your own ability to learn. I can't tell you how many people I've talked with who say things like, "I'm too old to learn," "I don't have a very good memory," "I never was any good at learning language," "I'm really forgetful," etc.
It is a fact that "you are what you think!" You've certainly heard the Divine words, "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he." There is loads of documentation regarding the power of positive thinking, and the destructiveness of telling yourself negative things about yourself.
Make it a practice to tell yourself that you do have good memory, and that you can learn well. Eventually, reality will catch up with your internal belief system.
Imagine the mental stress involved in trying to do something that you've already told yourself that you "can't" do, or that will be "hard." Stop telling yourself things like, "I can't," "This is hard," "I'll never get this," or worse yet, "I'm so stupid." None of those things are true! If you have this kind of "stink’n think’n," you're only creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.
There's a wisdom saying in the Bible that says, "the thing you fear will come upon you." If you fear that you won't learn, you won't learn. The reason is because you're setting up so much mental stress that it becomes impossible.
Most people in the Western Hemisphere breathe through their chests. Unfortunately, this is not the best way to breathe. The human body is designed to eliminate up to 70% of the toxins in the body through breathing and this is done through deep abdominal breathing, not short breathing through the chest.
Here is a great breathing technique that I learned several years ago that will help you. It is done in a 4, 6, 8 sequence.
Breathe in through your nose for four seconds. Please make sure that you put your hand on your abdomen, and that you actually fill your abdomen with air.
Hold the breath for six seconds. During this time you should let your mind go blank and let go of any concerns and thoughts that you have.
Slowly exhale through your mouth for eight seconds. You should feel like a tire going flat or like a balloon that is slowly releasing air. When I do this I can feel my shoulders "tingle" as I release the stress.
Repeat this at least three times each sequence.
I recommend that you do deep breathing at least three times daily; in the morning, at noon and again in the evening after work.
I recommend that you also do this before you sit down to have any extended period