So I have the SAT coming up saturday, and from what I’ve learned it doesn’t matter hardly how prepared I am for a test, but all that really matters is if I’m in a really good mindset or not. And I don’t mean the positive self affirmation type of mindset, I’m talking about the very noticeable flow zone where the thoughts are focused, organized, and you just seem to be infinitely smarter than when you’re not in it.
I’ve been in this zone plenty of times but it’s hard to put myself there intentionally. I just want to know any and all of the things that you all do when you want to be at your optimized mental ability. It might be very strong coffee, long meditation beforehand, certain supplements, exercising, I’m just interested in seeing what works for you to get into flow. I appreciate any feedback
@charlieboy, For me its a perfect amount of caffeine. I usually will drink 5 cups of tea before im in my “zone”. I also eat alot of goji berries throughout the day and they seem to improve my mood and mental clarity if I eat enough of them. Some people think its placebo but ive given some to random friends and asked them later that day how they are feeling and they have always replied, “im in the best mood!”. I didn’t tell them that it would raise their mood before hand either.
Also I’d recommend getting plenty of sleep and making sure you have eaten healthy foods and have enough carbs in you.
Hope this helps
@charlieboy, They sell them at whole foods! And yeah its black tea so its most likely around 100. I will get some tea leaves and drink about 2 full teapots and Ill be super energized but wont have the jitters coffee gives me. And jitters in tests are horrible.
Also pro tip right here: most people dont understand how amazing caffeine can be because it either “doesnt work” for them or makes them more tired. If caffeine isnt working for you, it simply means you are dehydrated. So usually i’ll wake up, drink 20 oz or so of water, then make my tea.
To me caffeine is pretty damn enlightening in a way now that ive learned how to use it. It can put me in great mindsets and make me really in the moment. You just have to figure out how to use it.
I like background music – just enough to be able to keep me bouncing along while I study. No lyrics…too distracting for me.
Taking breaks periodically also helps me. Stretch! It feels good to engage the body after straining the mind for a while.
I suggest you 2 things, brother:
1. Workout prior to test ( not the hard-core stuff, maybe light shadowboxing)
2. Visualization. Find a good tutorial if you dont know how. After a positive visualization you will feel that spark of motivation and empowerment.
@charlieboy, I notice the times when I’m best in the zone are when I’m not trying to be in the zone, paradoxically. When I’m just focused on my direct experience of what’s going on around me. Trying to get in the zone is a form of compulsion, and when you’re struggling to achieve some result, you take yourself out of that zone. Looking back, as a kid I was always in the zone. And then as I got older, I started thinking too much and it ruined my performance in things I used to enjoy.
I forget where I heard this story (I think a book I read on Zen), but being in the zone can be described in the following scenario. Imagine you’re in a fight. You see the huge crowd gathered around you, yet if you start focusing on them and start thinking about how people are watching you, you take your attention away from the guy who is trying to kill you and you die. If you start worrying about the next move the guy is going to make or get fearful of what he’s going to do, you take your attention away from the moment and it opens the door for him to attack. Basically, you can’t afford to take your attention away from what’s going on, or you’ll get killed.
Being in the zone means you are in tune with what you are doing. Not thinking, just doing what you’re doing. If you read a paragraph, but are thinking about something else (like how to get in the zone), you won’t absorb any of the information. You can’t ever get good at a sport unless you’re focused on the motions you’re making. The best athletes are the ones who get in the zone the best.
So for me, what works best is just focusing on my bodily sensations. My breath, what I’m feeling (any nervousness/fear, etc.), but not trying to escape any of it or label it. Not letting any of the sensations feed my thoughts. Cause once your mind starts churning, you feed your emotions, which then feed back to your thoughts. It’s a feedback loop