Thursday, 22 December 2016

The Top 5 Timeless Tips for Handling the Holiday Stress and Finding Inner Peace

“May you have warmth in your igloo, oil in your lamp, and peace in your heart!”
Eskimo proverb
The holidays are upon us.
A time of needed relaxation and more time with the people closest to us.
A time of stress and worries. A time of not all the joy you may have hoped for or been promised by upbeat advertising and movies.
It can be a time of mixed feelings.
So today I would like to share 5 powerful and timeless tips that can help you to make these holidays a more joyful and peaceful time.
1. Slow down.
“For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.”
Lily Tomlin
First, slow down. Even if it may feel silly and if you have to force it a bit. Slow down your body, move and walk slowly.
Breathe slower and more deeply with your belly (and focus on doing just that for two minutes and see what happens).
Slow down your eating (this will not only help you to relax, it will also help you to not eat too much during the holidays since it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register that you are full).
Slow it all down and pay attention to what you are doing. Be here now and focus on doing just one thing at a time. By slowing down, by being here now, by not having your focus split between many things you – your body and your mind – start to relax.
2. Appreciate the little things instead of focusing on perfection.
“Nobody can be uncheered with a balloon.”
Winnie the Pooh
Daily happiness is to a large part about appreciating the small things. If you just allow yourself to be happy when accomplishing a big goal or when everything lines up just perfectly then you are making life harder than it needs to be.
Instead, focus on appreciating things that you may take for granted.
Take two minutes and find things in your life you can appreciate now. If you want a handful of suggestions, here are a few of the things that I like to appreciate around the holidays:
  • All the tasty food.
  • My health.
  • My family and friends.
  • That I have a roof and a warm home as the snow is falling and the cold winds are blowing.
  • The beautiful wintery landscapes.
3. Give a bit of joy to someone else.
“Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.”
Eleanor Roosevelt
This may sound like an empty cliché but it surely works. One of the best ways to become happier is simply to make others happier.
When you make someone else happy you can sense, see, feel and hear it. And that happy feeling flows back to you.
And since the Law of Reciprocity is strong there is another upside. People will feel like giving back to you. Or like paying it forward to someone else.
And so the two (or more) of you keep building an upward spiral of for example positivity, of helping out, of cheering up and of lending a listening ear and support.
4. Focus on what is most valuable.
“You can never get enough of what you don’t need to make you happy.”
Eric Hoffer
“Joy is not in things; it is in us.”
Benjamin Franklin
Instead of focusing on a lot of things focus on what is most important and valuable to you.
If you still have Christmas gifts to buy then instead of giving away a lot of expensive stuff it may be better to give one thing that the person you are giving it to will truly appreciate.
Or maybe you could skip giving a physical thing altogether. And instead give away an experience that will become a special day and cherished memory for him or her or for the two of you.
However you choose to go about things over the holidays make it YOUR choices as best you can and not a bunch of shoulds that mostly make you feel deflated.
5. Just accept how you feel right now.
“We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.”
Carl Jung
Maybe you try some of the tips above. And they still can’t help you to shake that negativity, worries or stress you are carrying around. I would then suggest that you just accept that the feeling is there.
Tell yourself: This is how I feel right now and I accept it.
This might sound counter-intuitive and like you are giving up. However, by accepting how you feel instead of resisting it you reduce the emotional energy that you are feeding into this conflict or problem.
And it then tends to lose speed like a car that runs out of fuel. Sometimes the problem or conflict will then become so weak that it just moves out of your mind.
By accepting what is you have now freed up energy and your attention so your mind can become more level-headed, open and constructive once again. And you can see more clearly and take focused action towards a solution.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

How To Turn A Negative Situation Into A Positive One

Greater Noida College of Technology(GNCT)
Negative emotions are the single biggest enemy that any of us have.
If we had no negative emotions, our lives would be wonderful — as would our relationships, our health and everything else.
I’ve spent more than 4,000 hours studying this, and today I will be providing you with some strategies for turning negative situations into positive ones.

Where Do Negative Emotions Come From?

The great business of life is to eliminate negative emotions. To solve this, we have to answer the question:
Where do negative emotions come from?
Almost all negative emotions depend on blaming someone or something else for negative situations that happen in their life. The problem here then, is that people hold on to those negative emotions, even if they cannot change the outcome and are angry about it.

The Key To Eliminating Negative Emotions

The key to eliminating negative emotions is this:
Take responsibility for yourself, your reactions and your situation.
You cannot take responsibility for your life, your situation, and your reactions and be negative at the same time. Your mind can only focus on one thought at a time, positive or negative.
So anytime you feel negative say to yourself over and over again:
I am responsible.
You might be thinking right now: “But Brian, in a situation involving other people, how can I be responsible for what they did?”
Here’s how: In every situation, whether it involves you directly or not, you are always at least partially responsible for what happened.
You got yourself into the situation, you stayed in the situation, you did or said certain things in the situation, so you’re not completely innocent. You at least had something to do with it.
Here’s another possibility: Let’s say you had nothing to do with the negative situation, maybe you weren’t involved at all. You’re still responsible for how you respond to it.
This is what is called your ‘response-ability’ — your ability to respond in a positive way. And again, to respond in a positive way, you simply repeat to yourself “I am responsible.

You Have Complete Control

The truth is nobody can make you feel negative, other than you. If you think about things that make you feel unhappy or angry, you are going to feel negative. If you think about things that make you happy and excited about your life, you will feel positive.
The most important thing to remember about negative feelings is this: you have complete control over the way you feel, the way you respond to any situation and the things you think about at any minute of the day.
Exercise your ability to respond positively, take responsibility for your role in negative situations, and allow yourself to let go of negative feelings that might be trapped inside of you.
Before we wrap up, I’d like to leave you with a thought to share with your friends and followers:
“Accept complete responsibility for every part of your life. Refuse to blame others or make excuses.” 
Now I’d love to hear from you. So my question today is:
“Which recent negative situation in your life can you turn into a positive?”
Leave a comment below, and I’ll be sure to follow up with you.
Part of turning negative situations into positive ones has to do with your level of self-confidence.

Monday, 19 December 2016

6 Quick Questions to Help You Simplify and Free Up Time for What Truly Matters

“Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of. One man gets only a week’s value out of a year while another man gets a full year’s value out of a week.”
Charles Richards

There are many important things in life.

Your family and friends. A hobby perhaps. Working out and staying healthy. Reading, learning and growing as a person.

But finding the time for what is most important in life is not always easy. It sometimes feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day.

But even if it may not feel like it, there are often ways to improve how you use your time. This week I’d like to share 6 of the best questions I have found for doing just that and for shaking yourself out of a rut.

1. What are the top 3 most important priorities in my life right now?

With a lack of focus on what is most important in your life it becomes easy to spend too much time and energy on aimless actions or work. On things that aren’t really that important but you do out of old habit or because of other unhelpful reasons.

To keep your attention in the right place it is essential to remind yourself every day of what is truly most important to you.

So ask yourself: what are the top 3 most important priorities in my life right now?

Write those three things down on two notes and put one in your workspace and the other one on your bedside table.

2. What are the 1-3 most common distractions that keep me from doing my work in a focused way?

Figure out how you can prevent those things from distracting you. It could be by:

Shutting the door to your office.

Putting your phone on silent mode.
Having notifications for your email or instant messaging program/app shut off.
3. What are the 1-3 most common distractions that keep me from having quality time with the people closest to me?

The answer could for instance be your smart phone, TV-shows you just watch out of routine and not because you like them very much or bringing your work back home.

Then figure out how you can reduce or eliminate those distractions.

4. What is one healthy limit I can start setting in my life this week?

One of the smarter ways to simplify your life and to free up time is to set limits.

Here are a few key areas that you can set powerful and healthy limits for:

Your daily input. Reduce the number of blogs, newsletters, magazines, book clubs, podcasts, TV-shows etc. you follow. Just keep the ones you are really getting something out of.

Email. Just check and process your email during one chunk of time once per day. Instead of checking it 10 times or more each day.
Social activities. Write down a list of the social activities you are involved in after school or work. Maybe you are involved in a club or an activity that it is not as fun or rewarding as it used to be. Maybe you want to rearrange your priorities a bit to focus on something else this winter and in 2017.
5. How can I minimize or eliminate one thing I may have missed?

What else can you eliminate or minimize besides the things listed above? Some meetings at work or in school? Redditing or some online forum you hang out on a lot?

Really question and reconsider your own daily and weekly habits regularly instead of moving along in the same old tracks just because it is what you usually do.

6. What is one piece of unnoticed or misused piece of free time during my regular day?

There is often quite a bit of open travel- or waiting-time during a year.

What will you use such time for as we approach the end of this year and go into 2017?

Perhaps you would like to read more while riding the train or while waiting for a meeting to start. I, for example, often listen to podcasts while I’m out and about or while waiting for a meeting.

Even if you only have 10-20 minutes of commuting time each day you still have a many, many hours in a year that you may want to, at least partly, use in a new way.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

How Smart People Deal With People They Don’t Like

In a perfect world, each person we interact with would be nice, kind, considerate, mindful, generous, and more. They would get our jokes and we would get theirs. We would all thrive in a convivial atmosphere where no one was ever cross, upset, or maligned.
However, we don’t live in a perfect world. Some people drive us crazy, and we (admittedly) drive a few mad as well. Those we dislike are inconsiderate, rushed, malign our character, question our motives, or just don’t get our jokes at all — but expect us to laugh at all theirs.
You might wonder whether it is possible to be fair to someone who ruffles you all the time, or someone you’d rather avoid eating lunch with. You might wonder if you should learn to like every person you meet.
According to Robert Sutton (a professor of management science at Stanford University), it’s neither possible — nor even ideal — to build a team comprised entirely of people you’d invite to a backyard barbecue.
That’s why smart people make the most out of people they don’t like. Here’s how they do it.

1. They accept that they are not going to like everyone.

Sometimes we get caught in the trap of thinking that we are nice people. We think that we are going to like everyone we interact with — even when that’s not going to happen. It’s inevitable you will encounter difficult people who oppose what you think. Smart people know this. They also recognize that conflicts or disagreements are a result of differences in values.
That person you don’t like is not intrinsically a bad human. The reason you don’t get along is because you have different values, and that difference creates judgment. Once you accept that not everyone will like you, and you won’t like everyone because of a difference in values, the realization can take the emotion out of the situation. That may even result in getting along better by agreeing to disagree.

2. They bear with (not ignore or dismiss) those they don’t like.

Sure, you may cringe at his constant criticism, grit your teeth at her lousy jokes, or shake your head at the way he hovers around her all the time, but feeling less than affectionate to someone might not be the worst thing. “From a performance standpoint, liking the people you manage too much is a bigger problem than liking them too little,” says Sutton.
“You need people who have different points of view and aren’t afraid to argue,” Sutton adds. “They are the kind of people who stop the organization from doing stupid things.” It may not be easy, but bear with them. It is often those who challenge or provoke us that prompt us to new insights and help propel the group to success. Remember, you are not perfect either, yet people still tolerate you.

3. They treat those they don’t like with civility.

Whatever your feelings are for someone, that person will be highly attuned to your attitude and behavior, and will likely reflect it back to you. If you are rude to them, they will likely throw away all decorum and be rude to you too. The onus; therefore, is on you to remain fair, impartial, and composed.
“Cultivating a diplomatic poker face is important. You need to be able to come across as professional and positive,” says Ben Dattner, an organizational psychologist and author of The Blame Game. This way you won’t stoop to their level or be sucked into acting the way they do.

4. They check their own expectations.

It’s not uncommon for people to have unrealistic expectations about others. We may expect others to act exactly as we would, or say the things that we might say in a certain situation. However, that’s not realistic. “People have ingrained personality traits that are going to largely determine how they react,” says Alan A. Cavaiola, PhD (psychology professor at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, New Jersey). “Expecting others to do as you would do is setting yourself up for disappointment and frustration.”
If a person causes you to feel exactly the same way every time, adjust your expectations appropriately. This way you’ll be psychologically prepared and their behavior will not catch you by surprise. Smart people do this all the time. They’re not always surprised by a dis-likable person’s behavior.

5. They turn inwards and focus on themselves.

No matter what you try, some people can still really get under our skin. It’s important that you learn how to handle your frustration when dealing with someone who annoys you. Instead of thinking about how irritating that person is, focus on why you are reacting the way you are. Sometimes what we don’t like in others is frequently what we don’t like in ourselves. Besides, they didn’t create the button, they’re only pushing it.
Pinpoint the triggers that might be complicating your feelings. You may then be able to anticipate, soften, or even alter your reaction. Remember: it’s easier to change your perceptions, attitude, and behavior than to ask someone to be a different kind of person.

6. They pause and take a deep breath.

Some personality characteristics may always set you off, says Kathleen Bartle (a California-based conflict consultant). Maybe it’s the colleague who regularly misses deadlines, or the guy who tells off-color jokes. Take a look at what sets you off and who’s pushing your buttons. That way, Bartle says, you can prepare for when it happens again.
According to her, “If you can pause and get a grip on your adrenaline pump and go to the intellectual part of your brain, you’ll be better able to have a conversation and to skip over the judgment.” A deep breath and one big step back can also help to calm you down and protect you from overreaction, thereby allowing you to proceed with a slightly more open mind and heart.

7. They voice their own needs.

If certain people constantly tick you off, calmly let them know that their manner of behavior or communication style is a problem for you. Avoid accusatory language and instead try the “When you . . . I feel . . .” formula. For example, Cacaiola advises you to tell that person, “When you cut me off in meetings, I feel like you don’t value my contributions.” Then, take a moment and wait for their response.
You may find that the other person didn’t realize you weren’t finished speaking, or your colleague was so excited about your idea that she enthusiastically jumped into the conversation.

8. They allow space between them.

If all else fails, smart people allow space between themselves and those they don’t like. Excuse yourself and go on your way. If at work, move to another room or sit at the other end of the conference table. With a bit of distance, perspective, and empathy, you may be able to come back and interact both with those people you like and those you don’t like as if unfazed.
Of course, everything would be easier if we could wish people we don’t like away. Too bad we all know that’s not how life works.

Friday, 16 December 2016

36 Inspiring Quotes on Letting Go and Moving On

(Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Technical University CODE-810)

Approved by AICTE, Ministry of HRD, Government of India and affiliated to Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Technical University, Uttar Pradesh, 

Letting go can be one of the hardest things to do in life.
But at the same time it can be one of the most powerful and liberating things too.
So this week I’d like to share 36 of the most thought-provoking and inspiring quotes from the past few thousands of years on letting go, moving on and living your life fully and happily.
I hope you’ll find something helpful here.
  1. “Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go.”
    – Hermann Hesse
  2. “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”
    – Alexander Graham Bell
  3. “Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.”
    – Erich Fromm
  4. “Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.”
    – Oprah Winfrey
  5. “We need to learn to let go as easily as we grasp and we will find our hands full and our minds empty.”
    – Leo F. Buscaglia
  6. “There are things that we never want to let go of, people we never want to leave behind. But keep in mind that letting go isn’t the end of the world, it’s the beginning of a new life.”
    – Unknown
  7. “It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.”
    – Theodore Roosevelt
  8. “The greatest loss of time is delay and expectation, which depend upon the future. We let go the present, which we have in our power, and look forward to that which depends upon chance, and so relinquish a certainty for an uncertainty.”
    – Seneca
  9. “Your past does not equal your future.”
    – Anthony Robbins
  10. “To let go is to release the images and emotions, the grudges and fears, the clingings and disappointments of the past that bind our spirit.”
    – Jack Kornfield
  11. “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need.”
    – Lao Tzu
  12. “This is love: to fly toward a secret sky, to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment. First to let go of life. Finally, to take a step without feet.”
    – Rumi
  13. “Letting go doesn’t mean that you don’t care about someone anymore. It’s just realizing that the only person you really have control over is yourself.”
    – Deborah Reber
  14. “Nothing in the universe can stop you from letting go and starting over.”
    – Guy Finley
  15. “I demolish my bridges behind me…then there is no choice but to move forward.”
    – Fridtjof Nansen
  16. “Why do people persist in a dissatisfying relationship, unwilling either to work toward solutions or end it and move on? It’s because they know changing will lead to the unknown, and most people believe that the unknown will be much more painful than what they’re already experiencing.”
    – Anthony Robbins
  17. “We must be willing to let go of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”
    – Joseph Campbell
  18. “Courage is the power to let go of the familiar.”
    – Raymond Lindquist
  19. “Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.”
    – Lyndon B. Johnson
  20. “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.”
    – J. K. Rowling
  21. “Stop acting as if life is a rehearsal. Live this day as if it were your last. The past is over and gone. The future is not guaranteed.”
    – Wayne Dyer
  22. “The most difficult aspect of moving on is accepting that the other person already did.”
    – Faraaz Kazi
  23. “Laughter gives us distance. It allows us to step back from an event, deal with it and then move on.”
    – Bob Newhart
  24. “Don’t dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energy moving forward together towards an answer.”
    – Denis Waitley
  25. “Holding on is believing that there’s only a past; letting go is knowing that there’s a future.”
    – Daphne Rose Kingma
  26. “Let go of your attachment to being right, and suddenly your mind is more open. You’re able to benefit from the unique viewpoints of others, without being crippled by your own judgment.”
    – Ralph Marston
  27. “When we go back in to the past and rake up all the troubles we’ve had, we end up reeling and staggering through life. Stability and peace of mind come by living in the moment.”
    – Pam W. Vredevelt
  28. “Just remember, when you should grab something, grab it; when you should let go, let go.”
    – Unknown
  29. “You don’t need strength to let go of something. What you really need is understanding.”
    – Guy Finley
  30. “There’s an important difference between giving up and letting go.”
    – Jessica Hatchigan
  31. “You’ve got to make a conscious choice every day to shed the old – whatever ‘the old’ means for you.”
    – Sarah Ban Breathnach
  32. “Leaders spend 5% of their time on the problem and 95% of their time on the solution. Get over it and crush it.”
    – Anthony Robbins
  33. “Anything I cannot transform into something marvelous, I let go.”
    – Anais Nin
  34. “The best skill at cards is knowing when to discard.”
    – Baltasar Gracián
  35. “Let go. Why do you cling to pain? There is nothing you can do about the wrongs of yesterday. It is not yours to judge. Why hold on to the very thing which keeps you from hope and love?”
    – Leo Buscaglia
  36. “You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present.”
    – Jan Glidewell

Thursday, 15 December 2016

7 Small Habits to Help You Handle The Overwhelm of Working and Living in the Digital World

“If you ask what is the single most important key to longevity, I would have to say it is avoiding worry, stress and tension. And if you didn’t ask me, I’d still have to say it.”
George F. Burns
“Give whatever you are doing and whoever you are with the gift of your attention.”
Jim Rohn
Life today is quite different compared to when I was a kid in the 80’s and early 90’s. Back then I had a TV with just a few channels and later on a Nintendo videogame. That was it.
Today many of us have smartphones that we use to browse the internet, to work and to play games. We spend a many hours in front of computers and a part of our day is often spent online.
There is so much information these days. So many potential distractions and sources that seem to have made people more stressed, overwhelmed and unhappy than they were in the past.
Working and living in this age isn’t always easy.
So this week I’d like to share 7 habits that help me to keep my attention on what truly matters – both at work and in my private life – and at the same time minimize stress and overwhelm.
1. Shut off notifications.
To find focus the first simple thing to do is to shut off notifications in:
  • Your email client.
  • Messaging programs.
  • Social media and gaming apps.
Then get back to what truly matters without those pings hanging over you and distracting you.
2. Keep your smart phone far away for quality time/work.
The simplest way to not be distracted all the time by your smartphone is to put up small obstacles so you don’t have that easy and tempting access.
Here’s, for instance, what I do when I work:
  • I put the phone in silent mode.
  • I put it in another room at the other end of our home.
  • Then I check it a few times a day for calls and text messages.
We often do the same thing during the evenings and weekends to make sure that the time we spend together is quality time and not time spent being distracted.
3. Unplug or use an app to keep your focus on what matters.
When I write a new article or work on a course then I usually do that disconnected from the internet.
If that’s not possible for you then try a program or browser addon like for example StayFocusd or Cold Turkey Pro to temporarily block the sites where you know you tend to procrastinate and waste too much time.
4. Disconnect over the weekend.
Stay away from work and offline over the weekend. Leave your work phone at your job.
If that’s not possible keep things to a minimum:
  • Leave that work phone in silent mode and check it just every 24 hours over the weekend.
  • Do a quick 2 min check of email once a weekend (that’s what I do).
  • Reply only to the calls, texts and emails that are very important.Otherwise, let them wait until Monday.
5. Focus your information inflow.
Ask yourself:
  • What email newsletters in my inbox have I actually read and gotten something good out of in the past 30 days?
  • What podcasts I have listened to that have given me value in the past month?
You can ask yourself the same questions for magazines, blogs and forums and so on. Then take 5-15 minutes to unsubscribe to the ones that just clutter up your inbox, smart phone, bookmark list and shelves.
Time is limited. So is your attention.
So use both of them in a way that enriches your life and that focuses on only the best information sources. This very simple exercise can be surprisingly effective to get rid of mental clutter too and think more clearly again.
6. Stop comparing your life to someone’s high-light reel.
When you start comparing yourself and your life to what old classmates, friends and celebrities share on Instagram or Facebook and you each day see how perfect and wonderful their homes, kids, work and lives are then that can create a lot of stress and erode your self-esteem.
So what can you do if you get stuck in this habit?
  • Remember that what they share is usually just the high-light reel of their lives, the most positive moments. The other stuff that is a part of life happens too, you just don’t see it.
  • Focus on comparing yourself to yourself instead. See how far you have come, what you have learned and what you have overcome.
7. Remember the 5 little words for sanity: One thing at a time.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the tabs open in your browser or missed messages, when you’re distracted by something while trying to have quality time with your loved ones and when the stress is starting to build up remember those 5 little words.
Breathe and let them help you to connect with this moment and with simplifying things. Use them to slow down, to find clarity in what you need to do and to resharpen your focus and attention once again.

Friday, 9 December 2016

‘Testing Effect’: How self-testing helps memory improvement

The word ‘test’ alone is probably enough to strike fear into the heart of even the most nerveless of students. Yet research shows that tests can help improve our long-term memory and our ability to retrieve important information when we need it.

We all have our own study strategies, with specific habits, quirks and routines that we feel work best for us. But there is a mounting body of evidence to suggest that the traditional approach to learning may not be as effective as we once believed. In fact, if you find yourself reading until your eyes are almost ready to pop out of their sockets as you approach exam time, then it’s likely you’re doing things wrong.

The Testing Effect

Tests are widely considered to be ends rather than means. We use them to show us how much we know (and in some cases, how much we don’t!), but more and more psychologists are advancing the notion thattests can be far more useful to us than this. ‘How?’ you ask. Well it seems they can actually help improve long-term memory. This makes them ideal for language learning or storing key facts and dates. Which makes it all the more of a shame that they’re either under-utilized, or not utilized in a more effective way.
For instance, while students may have their own unique study habits, their overall approach to study generally looks quite similar:
Study, study, study, test.
Or it can look like this:
Study, test, study, test.
However, according to researchers, what it should look like is this:
Study, test, test, test.
That’s because studying in this way is a more effective method for making information stick. Psychologists call this the ‘Testing Effect’.

Memory improvement through testing – some research

The impact of the testing effect can be seen in two recent studies, which are outlined below.
Study #1
Two American psychologists, Jeff Karpicke and Henry Roediger, conducted an experiment on a group of college students to examine the effects of testing on fact memorisation and language learning. The got students to learn pairs of Swahili and English words. They asked the students to prepare for a test in different ways. For example, one group were asked to keep testing themselves on all items without dropping what they were getting right, while another group were told to stop testing themselves on their correct answers.
The results were remarkable. The students who dropped items from testing remembered about 35% of the word pairs. Those who kept testing items even after they had learned them could recall 80% of the word pairs.
Study #2
Another notable study was conducted in 2014 study when Carola Wiklund-Hörnqvist got 83 students in an undergraduate psychology course to study a series of psychological concepts for four minutes. Half of the students in the experiment continued to study the facts while each one was presented on a computer screen for 15 seconds.
The other half of the class took six tests in which they had to come up with the concept described on the screen.
At the end of the learning period, all 83 participants took a test in which they were given a fact and asked to type in the corresponding concept. The same test was given 18 days later and again 5 weeks later.
Participants who had been tested outperformed the other students on all three tests.

The students who were tested in the second example were given an additional memory boost through what is known as ‘immediate feedback’ – that is, finding out whether you’ve answered correctly or incorrectly straight after you have provided your answer.

Learning how to learn

So if testing is so effective in improving our long-term ability to recall facts, why don’t we use it more often and implement it into our revision plans? Some commentators have suggested that it may come down to the way that we traditionally feel about tests. It’s probably fair to say that most people would view standard study methods as being less intimidating and demanding than tests. As the brain is hard-wired to follow the path of least resistance, learners are more inclined to opt for the easier option.
However, it has also been noted that people exhibit a lack of awareness when it comes to the ways we think and how they can be improved upon. These are what psychologist Tom Stafford refers to as ‘mental blind spots’.
So while it may seem counter-intuitive to think that testing yourself when not properly prepared might be a good thing, it can still be hugely rewarding when used as part of a broader study strategy.