So you want to be a counseling student, or perhaps you are a counseling student, looking for some funny stories, or you want to counsel students.
Have you heard of the Mind Sparke Brain Fitness Pro? It is a computerized brain fitness program that takes about 1/2 hour per day for 19 days and it increases IQ. Yes, there is research and you measure using a real IQ test if you want to.
More information below about the Mind Sparke. Increased IQ could be helpful in graduate school.
You the counseling student are by turns amazed, gratified, overwhelmed, curious, frightened, (how will I find a job?), and determined.
You probably review your reasons for attending counselor education frequently, and that is a good thing.
I know for me, as a student juggling academic and job responsibilities, keeping on a schedule which included regular rest was very important.
I could only do so many hours of learning and then I had to turn off the prefrontal cortex and do something like sleep, which is actually one of the pillars of brain fitness, by the way.
However the concepts of brain fitness, neurogenesis, and neuroplasticity, were not frequently used back in the day, those long ago days from the early 1990's.
When we learn new 'stuff' the neurons in our brains connect in new ways, which is called neuroplasticity.
Neuroplasticity is a capacity of the human brain, which can be encouraged by novel learning experiences, and graduate school is certainly filled with novel learning experiences.
Neuroplasticity is encouraged by good sleep, because during sleep the brain gets washed down with certain hormones like melatonin, which are very important to the memory consolidation process.
So now you have an excuse to get regular sleep. But not in class.
So how do you make your brain as fit as possible for the rigors of graduate school?
First thing to do is read Brainfit for Life by Simon Evans,Ph.D. and Paul Burghardt,Ph.D. who are Professors and neuroscientists at the University of Michigan.
They have culled the neuroscientific research for tips about what we can do to enhance our brain to age well, and their tips fall roughly into five categories, physical exercise, nutrition including getting lots of antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acid, sleep, stress management, and novel learning experiences.
The good thing about attending to the pillars of brain fitness is that they can be incorporated into your daily activities without taking a huge amount of time from your class, study, and work schedule.
I am assuming that you have no time for a social life.
If you can build brain fitness activities into your schedule, your reward is that you get to keep your new neurons that you grow every day, and they migrate to the hippocampus where you make memories for test taking. And your brain will make new connections between neurons very effectively, which is what memories are. That capacity of the human brain is called neuroplasticity.
Making new neurons is called neurogenesis, and no one knew that we humans did that until perhaps 10-12 years ago.
So how can you build in physical exercise? Doesn't that usually mean going to the gym for hours? Not in graduate shcool.
You can do a 10 minute workout, and I know you can take a study break to do this, and practice what is called a HIIT or high intensity interval workout, which means that you do intervals of 30 seconds of calisthenics (you choose) for 10 minutes. Burpees for 30 seconds, run in place for 30 seconds, jumping jacks for 30 seconds, ect. and you will be both winded and growing new neurons.
Want a model? Try this one. You do this at home, at least I do. No expensive equipment necessary.
Now for the nutrition. You need fruit and vegetables, and not what you get at a fast food place. Make smoothies and eat salads.
The nutritional side of brain fitness requires lots of antioxidants, which Evans and Burghardt explain, and lots of omega 3 fatty acid. The best source of omega 3 is fish, which might come from a supplement, if you do not like to cook or eat fish. Just make sure it has been processed to clean out the mercury poisoning. Here is a link to a good brand for your brain. Now for the novel learning experiences for your student counseling brain. The kind of novel learning experience most often cited as necessary for neurogenesis and neuroplasticity is learning a new instrument or a new language.
Not sure about you, but I did not have time to learn either in graduate school, so try some of the computerized brain fitness programs to keep the neurogenesis and neuroplasticity going.
I mentioned the Mind Sparke Brain Fitness Pro above, and it is an excellent choice for both your brain and your schedule. You can do it at your P.C. as a break between bouts of study.
Same for Lumosity, it is a great tool simply to refresh yourself, before diving deep again.
The Posit Science Tool takes a bigger commitment of time, but the research in regards to its impact is very impressive. Check out the impact study. And I hope you will take some time to add an entry below about your favorite class or professor or tool. Thanks. Mike Logan, a graduate student never again.
When I was beginning my personal growth journey, a wise person told me that when I was feeling resentful or afraid or sad, that I should remember the phrase "gratitude is the attitude" when I was ready to feel better. That phrase has helped me feel better tens of thousands of times.
Would you share what you are most grateful for? Your story could be just what another person is searching for to renew themselves? Thanks.
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