Friday, October 06, 2006

Things to remember Bharat Savur

Forgetfulness is mainly due to a disorganised and scattered mind that cannot focus or concentrate.

REMEMBER... to relax

We take our forgetfulness far too lightly. "Oh, I always forget my umbrella wherever I go," we grin. "I keep misplacing my keys. It's Freudian," we joke. "I've lost four mobile phones," we rue. Forgetfulness is due to nothing but a disorganised and scattered mind that cannot focus or concentrate.

The simple truth is: If you are interested in something, you will pay attention and remember. Not being interested weakens the mind and scales down your all-rounder skills. For example, if you do your job mechanically and uninterestedly, you waste your mind and life. There is nothing memorable in your drudgery. So, gradually, you train your mind to forget. Interest comes when you pay attention.

Rise to shine: Get out of bed in the morning as soon as you wake up. Don't laze, linger or loll. In training your body to be active, you train your mind to be alert.

If you give in to sloth, the mind roams restlessly into random thoughts and dissipates its energy. Reading something inspiring focuses the mind and fires it with a higher energy.

Act on goodness: Act as soon as possible on every good, positive thought. Not doing this makes the mind inactive. Every time you act on a good thought, you become more co-ordinated in thought and action, and your mind gets an enormous boost.

Relax to receive: Know that sleeping is not necessarily relaxation. You can wake up tired. But when you consciously and wakefully relax, you let go many negative things and preoccupations, and bring your mind to a beautiful, undisturbed and receptive state, expanding and enhancing its retentive quality.

Chant to relax: Sit straight-backed on a chair, head slightly raised, and neck slightly stretched. Chant `Om' deeply from your stomach along with a mantra for 30 minutes daily and you'll emerge a new person. Even during chanting, the mind will wander, reminding you of some task to be done, some insult endured. But after chanting, these thoughts won't agitate you, as you get a mastery over your emotions, which truly relaxes the mind.

Count to concentrate: Every day, the mind is bombarded with words, images and forms. This continuous inflow agitates and confuses it. You try to sit and concentrate; but you get off your chair, walk around, and drink a glass of water. You still cannot focus. To keep your mind from fidgeting, count 1 to 200 under your breath. You will experience interruptions like `I have to pick up fruits, the contract hasn't arrived,' etc; let them go.

Don't get into them. They disrupt your concentration. Force your mind to continue counting. As you become more proficient, count backwards from 100 to 1. The mind sharpens sooner than you expect.

Be stable to be able: Forgetfulness occurs due to an unstable, erratic lifestyle. The mind needs the disciplined infrastructure of a routine to function from. Pen down a broad routine, follow it and add smaller tasks. It's like the artist who adds small but significant details to his canvas to give it more depth and beauty.

Oxygenate the brain: Pencil in exercise-time. Walking, cycling and swimming are ideal. The strong movements of the legs improve oxygenated blood circulation to the brain. Research shows that brain cells starved of oxygen lower the level of intellect, reasoning and memory. A brisk 15-minute walk reduces neuromuscular tension. A relaxed brain retains information better and recalls things when you need them.

Banish alcohol and fats: It's important to know that excess alcohol `glues' red blood cells and clogs capillaries to cut off oxygen supply to the brain. Fats narrow the brain's blood vessels, stop oxygen from reaching the cells to cause not just memory-loss but life-threatening strokes as well.

After this elimination, the diet automatically becomes memory-friendly. However, Ayurveda helps us fine-tune further. If you have blinding flashes of anger, cut down spicy food. If you are prone to dullness, take more spices. Eliminate dry foods — biscuits, wafers, and breads. Have grounding foods — moist hot rice, dal, and soup. Cultivate a loving, stable home environment.

Ayurvedics recommend brahmi, a bitter-sweet herb as a mental tonic and memory booster. Recommended dosage: 500 mg to 1 gram twice a day. Rich in minerals, it relaxes the nervous system and stimulates the cerebro-vascular system.

Essentially, happy, interested and active people want to remember; depressed, indifferent and inactive people want to forget. It's a choice.

(The writer is co-author of the book, Fitness for Life.)

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