Category: Stress

Why some tasks are easy for some, difficult for others

February 27 is National “No-Brainer” Day, created to celebrate “no-brainers:” concepts and tasks that are simple, easy and obvious to most people. But for people with learning struggles, tasks considered “no-brainers” for many others—reading, balancing a checkbook, managing time, staying organized or just paying attention for an extended period of time—can be painfully challenging.

LearningRx knows that tasks considered “no-brainers” for the average person can prove to be much more difficult for someone with one or more weak cognitive skills. For example:

New Year, New Student!

Start the year off right with improved study habits

Returning to school after the long holiday break can be tough, but now is the time to set routines that will stick for the rest of the school year. If your child is struggling in school, it’s possible that stronger study skills could make a difference in his or hearing learning success. There are ways you can help your child develop more effective study habits.

Encourage your child to put the following suggestions into practice:

Set daily and weekly goals.Help your child developdaily and weekly plans, as well as ways to measure their success. Write these goals down, either on paper or digitally.Here are some examples of questions your child should ask himself on a regular basis:

  • “What do I want to accomplish this week?”
  • “What are my goals for today?”
  • “Did I meet yesterday’s goals?”
  • “What kept me from meeting those goals?”
  • “What can I do differently today to help me better meet my goals?”

Stop multitasking.Is your childstuck at the kitchen table for hours trying to study while checking Facebook,texting friends, or making multiple trips to the kitchen for snacks? If so, your child is training his or her brain to dawdle. Instead, show your child how to teach his or her brain to work hard for set periods of time. One way to do this is to use a timer. Start by having your child turnoff any mobile devices and close distracting browsers. (You might also have your child finish any snacking so he or she can focus fully on studying.) Then set the timer and get started. When that timed session is over, have your child take a break. After the break, set the timer again and dive in. If at first all your child can do is fifteen minutes at a stretch, that’s fine—build up over time. The point is training your child’s brain to study, not dawdle.

Choose a couple of good study habits and practice them for a month. Experts in the formation of new and lasting habits suggest committing to two or three desired changes for a period of a month. Focusing on a few changes over the course of thirty days allows time and practice for that new change to become an integrated part of your routine. In other words, if you want help your child develop better study habits, have him pick two or three habits he wants to develop, and focus on making them an integral part of his study protocol for 30 days.

Take better notes in class.When a child sits down to study and discovers that his or her class notes are incomplete or difficult to follow, that child is simply not going to be able to accomplish what he or she needs to accomplish. Encourage your child to take complete and legible notes in class. You might start by reviewing current class notes and making suggestion on how they could be improved. Some experts say a great study tip is to rewrite class notes at home. Those notes will not only be better organized and easier to follow, the repetition will make remembering the concepts easier.

Train the skills your child’s brain uses to think and learn.Something else you can do as a parent is enroll your child in a cognitive training program. Cognitive skills are the core skills your child’s brain uses to think and learn, and when these skills are strong,learning is easier.

LearningRx is a brain training company with more than 80 centers across the United States. LearningRx uses intense mental exercise done one-on-one with a personal brain trainer to strengthen cognitive skills. These skills include attention, long and short-term memory, auditory processing, visual processing, processing speed, and logic & reasoning.

LearningRx helps children and adults of all ages. To find out if LearningRx brain training can help your child learn faster and easier, contact a LearningRx brain training center near you.

Hey Big Spender! Why our brains make us spend too much during the holidays


Whether or not we stay within our holiday shopping budget may not depend as much on willpower as it does on the circuitry of our own brains. Learn why your brain “lights up” when shopping—and how you can avoid impulse spending this season.

Three Simple Tips to Avoid Impulse Spending and Stay within Your Holiday Budget

The holidays are here, which for most of us means spending time shopping in malls or online looking for gifts for loved ones (and even for ourselves!). It also means trying to keep from spending too much money.

Apparently whether we stay within our holiday shopping budget may not depend as much on willpower as it does on the circuitry of our own brains.

Brian Knutson of Standford University and colleagues mapped the brains of shoppers using a MRI. They discovered that, as people contemplated whether or not to make a purchase, one of two segments of their brains would “light up.” If the nucleus accumbens–part of the reward and pleasure center of the brain–lit up, the subject would invariably make the purchase. If the insula–the part of the brain that registers pain (such as the pain of something costing more than its perceived value)–lit up, the subject would invaribly say “Thanks, but no thanks.”

By watching which part of the brain became active, researchers could accurately predict whether or not the shopper would make the purchase.

The reason shopping feels so good may be related to the brain chemical dopamine. This “feel good” chemical is released anytime we are exposed to the exciting mix of new places, challenges, sights and sounds–all of which are plentiful at the mall.

Looking to the brain for reasons people make the decisions they do is a new science. Baba Shiv, professor of marketing and an expert in the field of “decision neuroscience” says that, “Ten years ago if you said there is going to be fMRI in marketing research, I would have said it will never happen.” He explains that now business researchers and neuroscientists are working together, “moving toward systems of brain analysis, figuring out what gives us the juice to make decisions.”

Knudsen agrees, adding, “We’re moving from the outside to the inside of the mind.”

As you go about your holiday shopping, understanding how your brain perceives and even influences the experience may help you make better decisions.

If you’re prone to impulse purchases and are worried about staying in your budget, try these three things:

For starters, be extra careful while traveling–the novelty of shopping in a new city can make you particularly vulnerable to the heady pleasure of bagging a bargain.

Also, when contemplating a purchase you suspect you’ll regret, neutralize the thrill of the moment and activate your insula by thinking of three unpleasant ramifications that might be related to the purchase you’re trying to resist.

Finally, consider leaving the store and coming back the next day to let the dopamine settle before making your final decision.

5 Ways Keeping a Journal Can Help You Be a Better Parent

Blog1 By Guest Blogger Karen Linamen Bouchard

You want to be the best parent that you can be. What if something as simple as keeping a journal could help you be a more effective parent?

I happen to be a writer, so it makes sense that I’m enamored with the power of the pen. But it’s not just me! In fact, the myriad benefits of journaling have been well documented by study after study.

Let’s take a look at a few of the perks of journaling, starting with something every parent can appreciate.

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Are Daily Homework Battles Driving You Crazy?

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HiResDoes your child struggle with homework?

Kids who struggle with learning can find homework frustrating and exhausting (as in “tears, excuses, and tantrums” kind of frustrating and exhausting). And of course it only makes things worse when, for struggling students, assignments meant to take twenty minutes can take up to several hours.

Kids who struggle with learning can find homework frustrating and exhausting (as in “tears, excuses, and tantrums” kind of frustrating and exhausting). And of course it only makes things worse when, for struggling students, assignments meant to take twenty minutes can take up to several hours.

Whether you and your child tackle homework immediately after school or a couple hours before bedtime, this kind of recurring routine is exhausting for kids and exhausting for parents, too.

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