Improve Your Brain Through Hubbing
Recently, the question “How do I get back my concentration and memory?” prompted the writing of a couple of articles here on HubPages which I planned to turn into a series on improving one’s memory. Since that time, there has been a new article about concentration and/or memory practically every other day in some sector of the Internet – so much so, that my original resolve to add my own wisdom to the mix has waned somewhat.
At the same time, my research showed me that many of the very specific suggestions for improving brain function are available through the process of participating in the HubPages community. Follow my reasoning.
Improvements to brain function fall into two very (very, very) broad categories: the physical and the mental. Among the physical steps that can be taken, we include things like diet and supplements, rest/sleep/meditation, exercise, social activity, and breathing techniques. All of these are important in different ways.
The mental activities that help to boost memory and concentration include playing games, learning new things, acquiring information on the subject of how the brain develops and works, developing and expressing confidence, lowering stress, choosing what to forget, and developing skills for organizing (both physically and mentally).
New Thinking about Thinking
Years ago, the prevailing wisdom in medical circles was that brain cells could never be replenished after they decayed; therefore we were told to do everything in our power to preserve what we already had. Not only was the thinking (back then) “Use it or lose it”; the idea was more accurately and gloomily stated as “Once lost, always lost.” More recently, studies have contradicted this old way of thinking. Scientists now tell us that the healthy brain continues making neural connections throughout life. Perhaps the operating speed changes; perhaps other changes take place. But we can count on a brain that continues to develop throughout our lifespan, as long as we do our part to keep it healthy, barring severe trauma.
I would love to say here that every single one of the activities listed above, including the physical and the mental steps, can be found here on HubPages. Yep, I would love to say it…. but it actually would be a slight exaggeration. Or maybe slightly bigger than “slight.”
That doesn’t diminish at all the significance of the ways HubPages activity can contribute to better memory and concentration. Of the areas listed above, at least five of them can be practiced here.
One very important brainpower-boosting activity is social interaction. Areas of the brain’s frontal lobe that are involved in executive function (planning, decision-making, and response control) are activated when people interact with one another. The interaction with other people and the resulting brain activity help to build up a reserve of mental ability. This means that some areas of the brain develop in such a way that they become capable of taking over certain brain functions, when other parts begin to decline.
So, how is social interaction accomplished on HubPages? A better question would be, how is it not accomplished? Look at the comments to Hubs. Look at the Question and Answer section. Look at the number of followers AEvans, Patty Inglish, ripplemaker, and relache, for example, have. And, good heavens………… look at the Forums!!!!!
Writing tends to be a generally solitary practice, and it would be quite easy and even natural for a writer to become closed off, shut off from the world. But on HubPages, it is possible to combine writing and socializing. For one thing, because of the fact that we are not using auditory software here, our communication is actually in the form of writing; that is, the social interaction takes place in the same way that the solitary activity of writing does, but directed towards a known audience with the expectation of a quick response. The writing and socially interacting can and may be simultaneous.
Then too, we can do what IzzyM recommends: we can write for a time, then take a break from writing and dip into the Forums to see who’s there, to make comments, to read the most recent arguments – and certainly to express ourselves.
But the social interaction here is far more powerful than simply sharing opinions, ideas, and knowledge. There is a remarkable degree of real compassion and understanding, encouragement and cheerleading. Look at the response to anyone's 30-Day Challenge. Look at the sympathetic and encouraging response to the admission "I Failed." Look at the gathering around numerous people who say, in essence, "There is a crisis of some kind in my real life, and I need your good thoughts and prayers [even if I myself don't know quite where I stand on the subject of prayer]." One Hubber took time to connect with the community on the very day her partner died, seeking and receiving wisdom, suggestions, insight, and a genuine outpouring of love. All of this from people that we will never meet face-to-face.
Playing Mental Games
Participating in forums also fulfills two others of the experts’ recommendations for developing better brainpower: that is, learning new things (challenges) and playing mental games. Look at the names of these games:
A Sentence that Starts with an R and ends with an R
This or That!! You are going to war, what would you pick?
The one thing you must have Say Anything, in 3 words
New Word Game... This one a bit different! The Word game begins...
5 alphabets Word Game Say anything in 3 words BUT
Describe yourself in 5 words Another 5 Letter Word Game, but...
Non plussed. Say it here. A-Z of women's failings
What comes to mind when you hear.... A-Z of men's failings
Write anything but truth... A-Z of noble failures
Word association game................Chicken the cyrus game
Word Association Game.............Pork! What you really mean
The list will change tomorrow or the next day or the day after that. HubPages is a community of writers, and we play with words and ideas. We create games out of thoughts, and we are always thinking.
Of course, there are also forums in The Sandpit that are not quite games but that are quite playful: games of counting up or down; a game of Fibonacci numbers; Guessing Game (playfully responding to the previous post’s prediction of the next poster's trait, then adding a new prediction); Hub Radio 101, Chatter’s Thread, Wacky advice from us! and Hijack this thread! - varying ways of enjoying one another's playful or serious sides. And of course there is "Last one to post is the Winner! (redux)." What can I say? As of this writing it has over 34,000 posts.
Investigate These Ideas for Boosting Brainpower
Learning New Things
How does one learn new things in HubPages? One way would be to try to say something in a political or religious forums. There will certainly be an opposing viewpoint, often within seconds, and quite frequently it will be about something you have never heard before. While you try to understand the “bizarre” opposing comment and hold it up side-by-side with your own perfectly reasoned thoughts, and then compose your response in a way that will convince the most unintelligent person (after all, only the unintelligent would hold a view different from yours, right?), you are learning new things and facing new challenges for your brain to sort out. Mental challenge ... learning new things ... improved brainpower.
But for those of us who choose not to participate in the highly charged, highly opinionated forums, or who participate only minimally, there are still new things to be learned within other forums, things that may be perhaps even more puzzling: SEO, keywords, PR, backlinks, RSS. Nearly every day, I learn about something I had never even heard of a few months ago. For some Hubbers, simply filling Hub capsules with text, photos, videos, quizzes, links, and all – even as user-friendly as it truly is – may be a challenge, something new to be learned.
An important point to remember is that playing games every day will lose its effectiveness if it is the same game or the same kind of game all the time. In order to remain youthful, pliable, and constantly improving, our brains need frequently to confront new types of learning - new information, new puzzles, new routes to work, new languages, new ideas.
HubPages provides an incredible wealth of information, opinion, advice, and suggestions. Among the nearly one million Hubs that are available, there are many - besides the series I began - that offer ideas on how to improve your memory, concentration and brainpower. You can find advice about nutrients, meditation, recovering from a TBI, how to memorize anything fast – the list goes on and on. There is plenty of information to help make you smarter and better at using your brain, if you will simply read it and follow the advice to the best of your ability.
Raising Confidence and Lowering Stress
Strengthening and developing one’s skills - through writing and publishing Hubs, through discussing and learning in Forums, through reading other Hubbers' articles - leads to greater self-confidence. Positive social interactions can also contribute to a higher level of confidence and therefore a lower level of stress. Both higher confidence and lower stress have been linked to better memory.
For the most part, except in the political and religious forums, Hubbers tend to be helpful to one another. Personalities do surface; some are more direct, perhaps even abrupt – or maybe they are simply concise; others are a bit warmer, sometimes perhaps even a bit too fuzzy-feel-good. But the end result is the feeling of a community, of people to whom one can turn for ideas, suggestions, thoughts, advice – the very warm, comforting feeling of a security blanket, the confidence-building security of a safety net, or the awareness of having a group of well-meaning friends who will give an appropriate kick in the seat of the pants, as needed.
Whenever I have a question about some esoteric aspect of publishing on the internet, all I have to do is to post a question, and usually within minutes there will be an answer from somewhere... maybe halfway around the globe. I’m sitting here at my computer desk in Indiana, USA, and when I ask a question it is answered by a Hubber in Australia or Canada, South Africa or Saudi Arabia, Nigeria or France. What a TRIP!
Developing Skills for Organizing
Many Hubs provide information that will help you to organize yourself and your life; the process of organizing can help your brain develop new patterns that will make it more efficient and effective. Organizing, after all, is a form of observing or creating and using patterns - noticing and grouping similarities - and the use of patterns is one great tool for enhancing the memory.
The HubPages site is arranged in such a way that Hubs within one account can be organized into Groups. When a reader reaches the end of one Hub, they will find a link or links connecting to other Hubs within the same group, likely coordinated by some similarity in content, focus, style or some other trait.
HubPages also permits, and perhaps even encourages, writers to create separate accounts if they wish so that they can organize their Hubs better. Within one account, an author might choose to publish articles on the subject of Children, Parenting, and Family Life; within another account, the writer might publish articles related to Fishing, Fishing Equipment, Traveling to Fish, Fishing as a Sport, and so forth.
These options for organizing are available to HubPages members, and whenever they are used the writers are practicing and developing organizational skills. Improving one’s ability to organize is enhanced by the practice of putting words on paper/computer screen (organizing thoughts); putting a Hub together with text, photos, links, polls or quizzes, and affiliate capsules (organizing resources for the reader); following statistics on each Hub or on the My Account page (observing organized results); following progress with Google Analytics (observing organization of trends); and using bookmarks to keep track of articles of interest by other Hubbers or permalinks to find one’s way back to a forum comment in the future (organizing resources for the Hubber's personal future reference).
The site itself is arranged in such a way that the concept of organization (sometimes "organized chaos") is part of its fabric. There are categories for Hub topics, questions, ideas, forums, Hubbers, ranks, and scores. The practice of organizing is not only recommended and made very user-friendly; it is also modeled throughout Hubpages. The staff seems always willing to consider new ideas for improvements to the organization of the site. Some suggestions are helpful and useful; some are not. That is the nature of sharing creative ideas, whether related to organization or to solving every problem in the known universe.
Among the available wonderful suggestions for improving one’s memory and concentration, there are some that do not precisely fit into the category of Better Brainwork Through Hubbing. But simply by reading the articles here, you may learn all about some other great ideas and find ways to work them into your life.
If you would like to Improve Your Brain Through Hubbing, you can start by signing up as a member of HubPages.