man washing hand

The Reality of OCD During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Source link: https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/health/the-anxiety-and-reality-of-obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic/article31832099.ece

Cover your face, scrub your hands, repeat. The pandemic has heightened anxieties of infection, even more so for people with obsessive compulsive disorder

Once in every 20 minutes, like clockwork, Sivakumar Bharati* washes his hands and checks if the window are shut. “I have not ‘relaxed’ in three months aside from my REM sleep,” he says. “There is the prevalent fear of germs and contamination which is why the pandemic has been particularly stressful.”

This is the reality of OCD or obsessive compulsive disorder.

“You don’t really take notice of it until someone else points it out — and a lot of people did,” says 59-year-old retiree Sivakumar . “And back in the 70s, mental health was not taken seriously. People back then just thought I was militant about being neat, some poked fun at it.”

Sivakumar’s home in Hyderabad is evident of his obsessive compulsive disorder: to want everything symmetrical, no clutter, even the presence of muted tones. There are moments of anger and frustration where if things are not lined up, there would be a meltdown, curable only by the correct positioning and considerable time to cool off.

Chennai-based Professor Dr Gauthamadas Udipi, specialist in neuro-behavioural medicine, who has worked with people with OCD for almost many years explains, “OCD may only be the behavioural marker of a more extensive systemic disorder. “After all, the mind is only an expression of the functioning of the brain, and the brain is only a part of the body. At one end of the OC spectrum is ‘normal’ obsessive thinking and ordered behaviour in daily life, which does not interfere significantly with daily functioning. At the other end is severe obsessive rumination and compulsive behaviour that does not allow daily function.”

Essentially, the underlying pathology is in the Salience Network (SalNet) or ‘worry-loop’ of the brain, which sees a person having uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts and/or behaviours that they feel the urge to repeat over and over; it can be especially harrowing now, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic which invites uncertainty, rising tensions and innumerable risk factors. Often caused by severe psychological stresses, OCD manifests in different forms, from ritualistic obsessions to suicidal compulsions. Sivakumar is on the lower end of this spectrum, and it took a long time for him to realise what he had.

‘I’m OCD about that’

Sivakumar, during the late 2010s, was finally formally diagnosed by a neurologist in South Africa, who stated that OCD is a legitimate condition — and not one about which to be ashamed. “I remember him mentioning how popular culture had not even normalised but trivialised OCD. The parameters of what was ‘deemed’ OCD had shifted in a big way; people thought being tidy was OCD,” recalls Sivakumar.

And things have not been easy as the pandemic trudges on.

Dr Udipi affirms that the pandemic can be a heightener, explaining, it could “result in triggering underlying OC spectrum disorders in a genetically prone person, tilt the balance from ‘normal’ obsessions to a pathological OC pattern, or worsen an already existing OC disorder.”

The International OCD Foundation, Boston, sees the unique challenges for the OCD-afflicted and has offered numerous online resources, which are free-to-use and which help people run through their OCD anxiety with some ease while maintaining physical distancing. These options include WHO-approved tips on how to deal with contamination fears, video teletherapy, which helps those with OCD find a licensed teletherapy provider while retaining physical distancing, and printable coping cards. These cards, not a replacement for help from a medical professional, are written reminders and questions for the self to be mindful, breathe easy, take back control and understand that progress is better than perfection.

Dr Udipi adds that empathy from close friends and family is helpful. “[They] must understand that this is a disorder originating in brain circuits over which the person has little control, and advising the person that ‘it is all in the mind’, and ‘learn to control it’ is of no use, and that yoga, meditation, and other ‘self-therapies’ will not work in the case of a ‘pure obsessive thinking’ (which occurs in a very small percentage of people with SalNet disorder), as the person cannot bring the mind to focus on them due to pure circuit overdrive.” He emphasises that early identification and proper treatment by a qualified psychiatrist and team is the key.

Sivakumar agrees, concluding, “There are times you may not feel worthy because you feel like you are adding stress to home life or work life. But when you start humanising yourself with the help of a mindful and informed healthcare professional, it helps tremendously. It also helped that my family and I could find common ground with patience. But for other OCD folks out there, you have to want to accept it as a condition and not as an extension of the self. It’s emotionally taxing to go through it because your mind is telling you that this obsessive order of things is paramount.”

* Name changed to protect identity

Self Care, Spirituality and Lockdown — Druid Life

woman-768702_1280

What self care looks like will depend entirely on who you are. If you’ve never had to think about this before, it will be a journey of discovery, and the things people tell you are good for you won’t necessarily turn out to help. What of your path will help you? Meditation – you might […]

via Self care, spirituality and lockdown — Druid Life

How to Stay Positive During Lockdown

The whole world is going through an extraordinary phase. The present COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdown is causing a great deal of uncertainty and doubt that might be ultimately affecting your mental health negatively. During this phase it becomes even more imperative to remain positive and take care of your mental health. Here are few ways in which you can stay positive during these trying times.

Limit your news intake: First of all you need to moderate your intake of news. There is no doubt that watching news seems to be the only way to stay updated regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. But, watching too much news can be overwhelming and can cause a good deal of stress. If you feel stressed and anxious after watching news, it’s a sign that you need to limit excessive news consumption. You can make a point to watch news only twice or thrice a day, to stay up-to-date. Moreover, it is important that you follow only authorised and reliable sources of information. It is important to stay alert but no reason to stay alarmed all the time.

Follow a routine: If you are working from home or have kids who are attending online classes, it becomes even more important that you follow a routine so that you get proper time for all the activities and don’t unnecessarily get overwhelmed with all the tasks and activities at hand. Moreover following a routine will make you feel more in control of the situation and it will help you normalize the not-so-normal circumstances that the whole world is going through. You can make a To-Do list to organize work or maintain a dairy or journal of the tasks to be completed. Allocate time to work, exercise, rest, etc judiciously.

You are not alone: Remember, that you are not alone in this, everyone is going through almost the same situation. The only difference is how everyone is responding to these circumstances and no single way can be considered perfect. Do what suits you best.

Exercise, eat healthy, and sleep well: It has become even more critical during this lockdown that you eat a healthy diet and exercise daily. As per health officials, a healthy adult is required to perform 2.5 hours of exercise per week. Exercise has been found to have various health benefits, like it helps maintain healthy cognitive functions, and helps reduce stress, anxiety, and depression by releasing feel-good hormones like endorphins. It is equally important to follow a healthy balanced diet. Avoid food that has too much fat and sugar content, avoid packed food that is filled with preservatives. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables regularly. Last but not the least, make sure you get 7-8 hours of sound sleep. Following a healthy balanced diet and exercising daily along with a sound sleep will boost your immunity and help you stay active.

Meditate: Meditation has been found to relieve stress and anxiety. It can also relieve depressive feelings. Just a few minutes spent on meditation can have a huge positive impact on you mental, physical and emotional health. Make it a point to spend few minutes daily on meditation. Find a quiet place where you can place a comfortable seat, make sure that the temperature of the room is neither too hot nor too cold, wear comfortable loose fitting clothes, and ensure the lighting of the room is not too bright. You can also add other elements like, a candle or aroma diffuser if you want. The purpose is to create a happy and comfortable space.

Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness refers to being present in the moment. Not thinking about the past or future, just being aware of the present moment non-judgementally. You can be mindful while cooking, eating, or even while sitting in your balcony. You can start practicing mindfulness by noticing things you can touch, see, and hear. Simply pause for a while and focus your attention on objects you can touch, see, and hear in your present environment. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Notice how your body reacts to deep breathing. While eating or cooking, use all of your five senses to notice how the food looks, smells, tastes, and touches like. These are some of the ways you can be mindful while performing your regular activities.

Stay in touch with your family and friends: While we all are basically locked up in our homes, this does not mean that you cannot meet your family or friends virtually. Stay in touch with your family members and friends by calling them up or having a video chat. Don’t let the lockdown cause loneliness. Stay connected with people around you virtually. Man is a social animal, and therefore, keeping in touch with others is vital for your mental and emotional wellbeing.

woman wearing maskBreak the monotony: The lockdown has already put a halt on a lot of our usual activities. We all are confined to our houses, so it is natural to experience monotony in our day-to-day activities. It, therefore, becomes even more important that we do not let monotony set in. If you are spending a lot of time on Netflix or Facebook and still not feeling entertained much, or feeling rather bored, it’s time to take a break and do something else—read a book, take a walk indoor, talk with your kids or partner. You can also break the monotony by simply changing your bed-sheets, trying some new dishes, going through old family album, redecorating your house, or by organizing your forever messy wardrobe. Who said there’s a rule where you can’t dress up for home or you have to use your finest crockery only for guests. Arrange a candle light dinner for your partner or family members, dress up, use your finest crockery and have a restaurant like feel at home. You might have to compromise on food, but who cares. The point is to create memories and moments that you can cherish when the pandemic is over.

Gratitude: No matter how difficult the present situation seems, there is still plenty to be grateful for, if you look properly. When there are people who are struggling to survive in shelter homes, when people are barely getting enough to eat—in such times, if you are getting three meals a day, have roof over your head, and loved ones who care for you, you have enough to be grateful for. Think about it—on the one hand, there are frontline workers who are risking their lives to save others and on the other, there is you who can stay safe indoor. If you bring all this to your consciousness, you would definitely experience a sense of gratitude. The feeling of gratitude will, in turn, help you overcome all your stresses and worries resulting in contentment, which will bring to you peace and satisfaction.

Help your community: It has been proven that helping others makes one feel positive and capable. In whatever little ways you can, try to help your community, maybe by giving food or other essentials to the needy (while taking all the necessary precautions and maintaining a safe distance), by appreciating the healthcare and other frontline workers, or even by following the directions of the state government. You can also help you community by just being kind to each other. In these difficult times, everyone is going through a lot, so simple gesture of kindness can bring positivity not only into your life but also into the lives of others.

Don’t think about future, prepare for the future: As we all are going through this stressful phase, there must be many who are fearing possible layoff in the near future. Already a lot of companies have started downsizing their work force. This has led to a great deal of anxiety and stress among a lot of individuals. But worrying simply cannot help you in this time. Instead of thinking too much about the future, use this time to enhance your skill sets, so as to make yourself essential for your company. Enrol yourself in some online courses and take part in these courses with full dedication. Don’t consider work from home as a paid holiday, work with full dedication.

coronavirusBe gentle with yourself: Don’t forget to be kind and gentle with yourself as well. Remember, this is something which none of us has ever experienced before, so you must not blame yourselves for not being prepared enough. If you are not able to learn a new skill or cook fancy dinners for your family, or if you are not as productive as your usual self, there’s no need to be harsh on yourself. If you don’t feel like doing anything, that is fine too. Relax, take rest. Remember, the lockdown could also be a chance to refresh or take a break from the normal hustle and bustle of life. If you come out of this lockdown as more energized and refreshed, consider it a success and achievement. Also, stop comparing yourself with others. Every individual is different and will be responding to the situation differently, there’s no point comparing yourself with others. Spend more time with your family. If you feel anxious or depressed there’s no harm in reaching out for help. There must be some online counseling services provided in your community, reach out to them.

16 Benefits of Meditation — ThoughtsnLifeBlog

 

What is all the hype about meditation? Why bother? Are you happy inside? Truly happy inside? Can you be completely alone and happy? Peaceful, and calm? Do you get upset quickly? Do you make bad decision? Do you regret things you have done? Do you ask is this all to life? Meditation and mindfulness are […]

via 16 Benefits of Meditation — ThoughtsnLifeBlog

Mindfulness and Neuroscience — Meditation

GreeneryMindfulness and Neuroscience It seems that everyone is talking about mindfulness lately. Have you heard? *The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society is working with a number of groups—college faculty, attorneys and judges, social justice workers, business leaders, youth and those who work with young people–to encourage the incorporation of contemplative practices in a variety…

via Mindfulness and Neuroscience — Meditation

Mindfulness and Gratefulness — HUMAN PERFORMANCE PSYCHOLOGY

When most people think about meditation, they imagine a person sitting in the lotus position trying their best not to scratch those itches. Because once you put yourself in the lotus position and stop moving, everything starts itching. The bad news is that you WILL start feeling itchy the second you close your eyes.Continue…

via Mindfulness and Gratefulness — HUMAN PERFORMANCE PSYCHOLOGY

7 simple mantras that will improve your mental health — Mental health from the other side

A mantra is a word or phrase repeated again and again, normally during meditation. But don’t worry, we won’t be doing any yoga, drum beating, chanting or dancing in the streets today. However, please feel free – if this floats your boat. Mantras can be a sound (like “OM” – we’re not going to use this) […]

via 7 simple mantras that will improve your mental health — Mental health from the other side

Yoga Tips – Hypnosis-The Relationship between Yoga, Meditation, and Self-Hypnosis — How to do yoga

Though no one knows the exact origin of yoga, meditation and self-hypnosis, one thing is certain, that they are more than thousands of years old. Eminent scholars are of the opinion that the origins and practice of yoga and meditation can be traced to the Indus Valley civilization. In spite of the fact that these…

via Yoga Tips – Hypnosis-The Relationship between Yoga, Meditation, and Self-Hypnosis — How to do yoga

10 Self-Awareness Quotes

1. If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.

Daniel Goleman

2. Every human has four endowments; self-awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom. The power to choose, to respond, to change.

Stephen Covey

3. What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.

Abraham Maslow

4. The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.

Carl R. Rogers

5. Without self-awareness we are as babies in the cradles.

Virginia Woolf

6. Self-awareness is the ability to take an honest look at your life without any attachment to it being right or wrong, good or bad.

Debbie Ford

7. Self-awareness is not just relaxation and not just meditation. It must combine relaxation with activity and dynamism. Technology can aid that.

Deepak Chopra

8. Self-awareness is one of the rarest of human commodities. I don’t mean self consciousness where you’re limiting and evaluating yourself. I mean being aware of your own patterns.

Tony Robbins

9. Self-awareness gives you the capacity to learn from your mistakes as well as your successes. It enables you to keep growing.

Lawrence Bossidy

10. When I discover who I am, I’ll be free.

Ralph Ellison

Ten Complementary and Alternative Treatments for Poor Mental Health — Top 10 of Anything and Everything – The Fun Top Ten Blog

There could be any number of reasons why you might seek out one of these complementary and alternative treatments for mental health recovery, but the main reason people will seek them out is to stay off medication. While I really do think most people need to see these treatments as supportive of their medication and…

via Ten Complementary and Alternative Treatments for Poor Mental Health — Top 10 of Anything and Everything – The Fun Top Ten Blog

Passive-agression

How to Protect Yourself from Passive Aggression

Mary told her husband (respectfully) that his comment felt hurtful. She suggested that he could have spoken to her differently and offered a response that would have felt supportive and kind. Her husband erupted with anger. Who was she to be the judge and jury of him? He wasn’t interested in being controlled by her with her scripts and the words she needed to hear. Mary, who is normally mild-mannered and compromising, exploded with rage. She accused her husband of being defensive and fragile, so fragile as to not even be able to hear or care about her feeling hurt. She was yelling, demanding to know how, when given the opportunity to be supportive, complimentary, and essentially her fan, he could and would make the choice to be unsupportive, uncomplimentary, and cutting. She was sick and tired of his unkindness.

Her husband didn’t miss a beat and accused her of being too sensitive, twisting his words to mean something they didn’t. Mary, becoming even more furious, shouted that it wasn’t about him and him and more him, but rather about the fact that his words had hurt her. And it went on . . . her husband, deaf to her pain, accused her of judging him, to which she again responded that this was not about him, not about who was right or wrong, but rather about his being able to simply hear the fact that she was hurt.

Later that day, Mary called to tell me that her husband had approached her about an hour after the session and acknowledged that maybe his words could have come off as a bit insensitive. While she was still brimming with anger and hurt, Mary had offered a simple thank you for your apology. It was the first time he had owned up to any of his own behavior in 20 years of marriage. And so, while his “apology” felt light on empathy, she made the choice to acknowledge his attempt at kindness and leave it at that, and not risk doing or saying anything that could discourage him from this new, positive behavior.

But the following week, Mary reported that her husband had become withdrawn, sullen, and unfriendly. He was playing the part of the one hurt and angry, while she had stepped into the role of the one trying to win back his affection and regain a sense of peace in the couple.

This was the standard trajectory of their disagreements. Mary would be hurt by something her husband said or did; she would then bring it to his attention. Upon hearing what he perceived (only) as criticism, he would immediately attack her emotionally (which I had witnessed), and then withdraw into his role as the victim in the relationship. As a victim, he would become silent, non-responsive, and backhandedly unkind towards her over the next several days. He would, in essence, fall into full-blown episodes of passive aggression.

Mary and I had both felt hopeful the previous week when her husband was able to take a baby step forward in acknowledging his own behavior and considering how it might have affected her. And yet, it seemed that his old pattern of reverting to passive aggression after hearing he had done something she didn’t like was still firmly intact.

Mary confessed that she was completely lost as to how to deal with her husband’s behavior. She still wanted to stay in the marriage (and still loved her husband), but his passive aggression, which appeared each time she shared that he had upset her, felt unbearable and maddening. She was utterly unable to find her ground or feel at ease when he was in this mode. She couldn’t get okay until the couple was again okay.

Mary felt that she had always been stuck in the same place with regard to her husband’s passive aggression. Unable to speak her truth, she felt that her only recourse was to wait for him to get over it, after which time she could get back to her own center.  But of course, when he did get over it, she then was left to deal with her own anger and hurt.  Regardless, her well-being was dependent on his behavior, which she hated.

But while she felt stuck, I reminded Mary that something profound had in fact transformed within her. When we first started working together, Mary would actually feel guilty when her husband punished her in this way. She would identify with his projections of blame and try to make up for the hurt she imagined she had caused him. She would play the perpetrator (having told him he hurt her after all) to his imagined victim; she stepped into his projections and took on the role of the bad one. I was happy to remind Mary that she no longer felt guilty in any way despite his playing the part of the one abused. This was an enormous change in her and a huge relief.

While Mary could acknowledge that she was no longer suffering from this most insidious consequence of passive aggression (imagining oneself as deserving of the punishment), she was however still frustrated that she felt so anxious and de-stabilized, that she couldn’t get comfortable inside herself when her husband was acting out in this way. No matter what she did for herself, how much meditation and awareness she practiced, or how she tried to separate herself from it, she still felt afraid and off-kilter living with his punishing behavior. She was angry and disappointed with herself that she couldn’t get a grip on her experience. She couldn’t will herself into well-being, but she strongly believed that she should be able to control her inner experience regardless of what was going on in her environment.

Simultaneously, Mary was bottling up a lot of rage about the fact that she couldn’t speak her truth to her husband. In the past, when she had tried to call him out on his behavior, he had attacked her more directly and denied all responsibility and intention for his behavior. Her trying to talk about it had always made things worse, and so she felt resigned to acting as if nothing was happening. Pretending he wasn’t affecting her was the way she had learned to protect herself. The truth was, he was getting to her; she felt manipulated, controlled, and humiliated by his behavior. Enraged, in fact.

However, this pretending to not notice, to save face if you will, was breaking down as a defense strategy; it felt impossible to maintain this level of falseness, and also, more and more like an abandonment of herself. It was making her angrier and more anxious to know that he was (as she experienced it) cornering her into being inauthentic. Mary felt stuck in this either-or scenario. Either she confronted someone angry, reactive, and not self-aware and faced the consequences of that scary choice, which also included acknowledging that he was hurting her (and therefore winning in her mind), or, she pretended nothing was happening, pretended to be Teflon to his aggression, and in the meanwhile went on living in an anxious, disconnected, and angry state of being. Neither felt doable for much longer.

When I asked Mary what she wanted to scream from the rooftops, she said this (without hesitation): I did nothing wrong. I’m the one who was hurt! And now, I’m the one being punished. What the hell! But instead, she went on smiling, asking if he wanted milk with his coffee, and being the person she wished he could be with her.

The first thing I wanted Mary to know was that there was nothing wrong with feeling anxious and angry. Living with someone who’s acting out in this way is bloody awful. Her expectation that she should be able to feel well in an environment that was so un-well was absurd. She was not made of Teflon, and as humans, we are relational and porous beings; we are affected and impacted by our environment. So right out of the gate, I insisted Mary stop blaming herself for feeling anxious and off-center. If she didn’t, I’d think something was wrong!

With regard to her desire to stop pretending she wasn’t being affected, I asked her a simple question: What was it was like to be with her husband when he was treating her this way? She erupted with tears upon hearing the question. After some time, she was able to share that it felt painful, unfair, unkind, hurtful, and just terrible in every way. I asked her if she could stay with these feelings and maybe see if there was also any sense of I don’t want to be treated this way, or maybe just I don’t want this. I asked her if she could step outside the whole narrative and history attached this situation and just feel the direct, bodily-felt experience of I don’t want to be treated this way. And indeed, Mary could feel this, without any help from her mind. It was right there in her heart and gut. It was true now.

I then asked her if she could remember this I don’t want this, I don’t want to be treated like this feeling in the moments when she felt herself putting on the Teflon suit. This refuge of self and self-compassion could then be home for Mary, a destination she could go instead of having to step outside herself and into the pretender. Her self-caring truth was safe ground for her in the present moment when the unkindness was happening, and this is what she had been missing.

What we need in these situations, when we’re really struggling, is self-compassion. We don’t need more judgment or more strategies for figuring out the situation. Yes, we need to address the other person and their behavior, and yes, we need to decide if and how we can live with this situation if it’s not going to change. But in the moments of triage when we’re really suffering, what we need most is our own loving kindness. In offering Mary permission to let herself have the experience she was having and also, pointing her towards her own self-loving experience of I don’t want this, Mary was able to return home to herself and to her ground. While the situation on the outside might have been the same, her inner world had profoundly transformed. She had somewhere to go inside herself now, a refuge in which she could live in the truth in the midst of whatever was happening in her outer environment.

Furthermore, I knew that Mary’s body-knowing of I don’t want to be treated this way would prove to be a far more powerful guide and motivator than anything our minds could come up with. I trust and know (from experience) that when we let things be as they are, feel what we’re actually feeling, without judgment, and simultaneously allow ourselves to feel the heart’s authentic I don’t want this, the process itself reveals our next right step; we are led to know what we need to know. How and why this happens remains for me the great mystery and magic that is this thing we call truth.

Tips for Dealing with Passive Aggression

  1. Don’t fall into guilt.The passive-aggressive character will play the part of the victim. Be mindful not to step into the role of the perpetrator, the bad one. Remind yourself, you are not that.
  2. Give yourself permission to have the experience you’re having, to be affected by their behavior. When we’re around aggression (regardless of whether it’s direct or buried), we feel it. Don’t judge yourself for having a response; it comes with being human!
  3. Tap into self-compassion.Feel your heart’s genuine I don’t want to be treated this way. Drop into this feeling on your own, and when their behavior is unkind. It’s your refuge; let it guide you in how to respond.

Source link: https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/inviting-monkey-tea/201903/how-protect-yourself-passive-aggression

Metacognition – a Fascinating Ability of the Human Mind — Thrive Global

It’s a bit like being in two places at the same time. Imagine a basketball game in a sports hall, where you play along and in the same time you watch yourself while playing from the stands. Meditation makes us aware of our inner dialogue and it leads to metacognition. This way we learn to…

via Metacognition – a Fascinating Ability of the Human Mind — Thrive Global

Yoga for Mental Wellness — A Beginner’s Guide — Virtual Siyahi

Woman doing yoga

Yoga for Mental Wellness, because Mental health matters the most. A healthy state of mind will always radiant a healthy you outside.

Yoga is a part of rich Indian heritage. Yog, pranayama or asanas all are synonyms to the different forms of a single holistic approach towards wellness—YOGA [. . .]

via Yoga for Mental Wellness – A beginners guide — Virtual Siyahi

Several open books

12 Strategies to Boost Your Memory

We all forget things once in a while. And most times we don’t even pay attention to this problem until and unless we find ourselves in a demanding situation. Memory loss is not something to be taken too lightly and we ought to make conscious efforts to improve our ability to memorize, retain, and recall information. Although there is no sure shot way to prevent dementia, certain techniques may go a long way in helping you improve your memory and increase your brain’s potential in general. Here are 12 strategies that can effectively boost your memory and help you remember and recall better:

1. Focus your attention: In order to store information in your memory storage system, you need to take interest in the information presented to you and give it your full attention. Information is more likely to get lost when you pay half attention to it. While reading or meeting people for the first time, give your full attention.

2. Visual/Imagery: While attending to the information add visual imagery to the information. We are better able to remember things that are visual. So while reading for an exam, use imagery as much as possible.

3. Associate: Associating new information with the information you already know or have can also help you better memorize new information. Associations help create more mental connections of the information which, in turn, helps in better retention of the memory of that information.

4. Chunking: This technique can help you memorize a large set of information by breaking the information into small chunks or groups. In other words, the information to be remembered is divided into small chunks or groups of information. For example, if you need to memorize a phone number- xxyyyzzxxx, you can make chunks of this number—xx/yyy/zz/xxx.

5. Get good sleep: Our brain gets to consolidate the day’s information during sleep. Consolidation is a process in which short-term memory is transferred into long-term memory. In order to improve your memory you need to get a quality sleep of 7-8 hours daily, whereas, lack of proper sleep can affect your memory negatively. That is the reason students are advised to get a good sleep before an exam.

6. Mnemonics: Use of mnemonic techniques can also help to memorize better. Mnemonics are specific techniques designed to improve recall. Like using first letters of the given information to form a word, for example using VIBGYOR to memorize the colors of rainbow.

7. Brain exercises: Just like any other muscle in the body our brain is also a kind of muscle that needs exercise to work at optimum level. In order to enhance memory, play brain games. Solving puzzles, crossword, Sudoku, and playing word-recall games etc. have been proven to boost memory.

8. Be active while learning: There is a saying that individuals remember 20 per cent of what they hear, 75 per cent of what they see, and 90 per cent of what they do. And this saying is fairly correct. Being active while learning something like movement of arms, pacing back and forth, and using gestures while learning a new information has been found to enhance memorization. So keep your body actively involved while learning.

9. Recite: Repeating something in a loud voice can help memorization of that information better. As you recite you involve another sense, i.e., hearing. This helps better anchoring of the information in your brain. You can also recite what you have learned to another person in your own simple words and language. This technique is especially effective for students.

10. Meditation: Meditation has been found to improve memory. Mediation helps lower the stress which, in turn, is known to affect memorization. Meditation has also been found to improve the gray matter in brain, which positively affects memory. Practice meditation on daily basis for healthy mind and body.

11. Exercise: Scientists have proven that daily exercise as simple as running or jogging can help in formation of new neurons in brain and can help improve memory. Exercising daily not only keeps you physically fit but it also keeps your brain fit.

12. Keep stress away: As mentioned above, too much of stress has been found to affect memorization and recall both. Chronic stress has also been found to damage brain cells, especially in hippocampus which is responsible for retrieval of old memories and formation of new memories. So in order to improve your memory you also need to keep your stress level under check.