In a recent podcast (episode #402), I talked about mental processing speeds and how you can improve your thinking.
Since your nonconscious mind is operating at a faster speed than your conscious mind, there are techniques that you can learn to tap into your nonconscious mind. Intelligent thinking occurs in the nonconscious mind at about a million operations per second. Our nonconscious mind is therefore constantly working and is operating at faster speeds than our conscious mind.
To make this simple to understand, think about the way that cartoon animations are made. An illustrator will draw around 40 images of different actions and that will be put together to form one action that we can see and understand as an action on the TV as we watch the animation. Yet behind that one simple action are those 40 images that were put together in sometimes just under a second. For example, Mickey Mouse could be jumping up and down waving his hands and we only see the action as ONE scene yet behind that scene were multiple single images put together. This is comparable to how the nonconscious mind puts 40 or however many “actions, sensense, stimuli” together to form a conscious thought.
Basic signs of slower mental speed include a consistent pattern where you are struggling to follow or process what people are saying to you or you struggle to follow lectures, videos, conversations, readings, movies, stories and so on. An important thing to point out here is that everyone has those moments where they struggle to do all of these things. However, it is a concern when it is consistent.
But there is hope! Although our thought life is a stream of consciousness with thousands of individual thoughts blending together, we can bring a level of order to our thinking by managing what we allow in our mind and editing what is already in our mind and brain. We are able to learn to evaluate the individual frames of thought (those “individual illustrations”) by self regulating our stream of consciousness. By learning how to regulate our consciousness, we can learn to tap into our nonconscious mind at a faster rate and thus improve our mental speed!
So what exactly is regulating our stream of consciousness? And, how can we improve our mental speed? This means we have to learn how to tune into those individual “images” that make up the “action” we see. I have spent 38 years researching how to help people tap into the intelligence of the nonconscious mind and developed a system called the Neurocycle. This system can be used to build your brain and improve your mental speed, as I discuss in my latest book, Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess and app Neurocycle.
Below is a brief overview of how to do a Neurocycle to improve your processing speed:
Step 1: Gather Awareness
The goal of this step is to understand what you’re hearing, reading, seeing or experiencing and to get the info in the brain properly. You can choose the information you are going to practice building your mental speed with. Read a small section or listen to a small portion of whatever you choose.
Step 2: Reflect
ASK yourself what you just read, watched or listened to (who, what, when, why, and how).
ANSWER yourself by reviewing what you just read, watched or heard.
DISCUSS–explain to yourself in your own words until you understand it.
Step 3: Write
Write down the information you selected to help organize your thinking.
Step 4: Recheck
Go through what you wrote and compare it to the source to see if it makes sense. Edit or add information if necessary.
Step 5: Active Reach
Reteach the information to yourself or a loved one.
It is best to repeat this 5 step process until you have finished reading the whole document, watched the whole clip, or listened to the audio. This helps you tap into training your conscious mind to connect faster with your nonconscious mind and improve your mental speed.
Once you train your brain to do this automatically, you will start applying these techniques at a much faster rate and improve your mental processing, which I discuss in my book Think, Learn, Succeed.
It is also important to look at your environment and think of ways you can improve your lifestyle to increase your mental processing speed. This includes seeing your mistakes as learning opportunities, and managing your thinking and stress levels through daily self-regulation (see my other podcasts and blogs for more on this) and mental decompression techniques like meditation and deep breathing.
Contributed by Dr. Caroline Leaf B
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