Like most things in life if you want to be good at something you have to practice, train and improve as you learn. With muscles we go to the gym and spend time pumping iron. There are diets and philosophies that can push the body to be bigger, stronger and faster.
So, how do we train our minds to take us out of the WTF moments? Calm down our nervous reactions and move into a more peaceful and focused state? Peaceful and focused may not sound like they belong in the same sentence as trouble, fear and stress. Believe it or not it is possible. Let’s see if we can identify some training methods for our brains to prepare them for whatever comes your way.
If this seems to be a stretch for you try reading some of the basics we plan on facing as we prepare our minds to overcome. Training your mind will benefit you in all aspects of your life. Survival, work, home and play will be enhanced as your mind becomes sharper, quicker, more agile and more capable.
Let’s start with our memory. Short term memory and long term memory differ in how the brain categorizes them. Short term memory is quickly forgotten because the mind has tagged them as mostly inconsequential. Long term on the other hand has been identified as important and worth keeping around. The training comes in how you allocate and stretch your memory, primarily short term.
Most people can remember about four things at one time before they have to make room for new information in their short term memory. Imagine a verbal explanation of instructions to build a shelter. You are not told how many steps there are and as you hear the fifth, sixth, seventh….step how easy would it be to recall steps one – three? What is the easiest way to stretch your mind and remember more than four items? Repetition. Repeat the steps before moving to the next will greatly assist your brain remember.
We have all heard of muscle memory or motor learning. Repeating a specific action with exactness in order to train the muscle to act on its own. Again, as with any major muscle groups the brain can be trained with repeating thoughts over and over to create mental triggers and ease of access to thought processes. As with the structure we built earlier we can repeat the steps out loud or in our minds and we can repeat thoughts of, “when it’s raining make/find shelter”. This is overly simple of course, but done correctly what will you think about the next time it rains? Making or finding a shelter. Try to find new things to try over and over. Build a shelter, make a fire, and find food….
Eating well and treating your body right also has positive effects on your brain. Good fuel and resources will make processing information more efficient. Giving you mind a break from time to time is also important. Would you continually work your biceps every day without rest? No. Even the most massive bodybuilder rests muscle groups so they can recover. Find something that allows your mind to take a break. Mediation, yoga, a good book, being in the wilderness it doesn’t matter, finding something you can do to rest your brain does.