Build Your Brain Power!

How to create an environment that helps you think. 

Thinking is a mysterious process. Despite centuries of discussing the issue and modern day equipment like magnetic resonance imaging machines, we are still baffled by how the brain actually works.

Scientists have worked out that while our brains weigh just 1.4 kilos, peanuts compared to our overall body weight, it takes about 20% of our overall energy to keep it working. What is curious, is that what you’re working on, doesn’t matter much.

So far experiments looking at calorie use show that our brains suck up one fifth of our energy no matter whether we spend the day scrolling through Facebook postings or working on proving the theory of relativity.

However, there’s no denying that emotions are part and parcel of our thinking experience. So to make the most of your brain power, look at your associations.


#1 Understand your body. Some people are bright and energetic in the mornings, and others can’t function till after lunch. Look at your energy patterns and figure out when you are at your best. Set that time aside for studying.


#2 Forget about multitasking. Studies show that we can do various things at once, but not efficiently. Sadly this means you can’t check your email and continue to focus on understanding that bit of calculus. So switch off your phone and put your social media notifications on Off.


#3 Build a mind lab. Insomniacs cure their problem by learning to associate bed with nothing but sleep. Make that same principle work for you by setting up a study space. It’s got to be well lit, quiet and comfortable. If there’s noise, invest in earplugs.


#4 Try the five-more rule. Athletes know that when they want to quit, they actually have a bit more reserve in them. Use that lesson and when you’re tired, tell yourself you’ll do just five more pages or five more minutes. If that really sounds too terrible, go for two.


About The Author, Ellen Mhyte

Ellen Whyte is a Scottish-Dutch columnist, author and feature writer living in Malaysia. She has several pen names including Maria O’Daniel, Angela Snow, Normanda, Storm Chase and AJ Adams. Ellen works directly with regional clients. These include popular magazines such as Cleo, Her World, and Women’s Weekly as well as national dailies such as Malaysia’s The Star and New Straits Times, Singapore’s Straits Times and Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post. 


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