exercise your brain

50 Reasons Why You Should Study

Need motivation?

  1. To get an education. 
  2. To earn a degree. There are barely any jobs that offer positions to people without a degree, or are on the path of obtaining one.
  3. To prove people wrong. That science teacher that said you’ll never make it in the medical field? Make him eat his words. 
  4. To prove yourself wrong. Every student has doubts on whether or not they can be good enough in the classroom. Prove yourself wrong, and always be better than you were yesterday. 
  5. This is a privilege. Regardless of how much you believe that you HAVE to do this, to some extend you don’t. Realize that you have the privilege of an education even being an option for you.
  6. Take advantage of what you’re capable of. Don’t waste a perfectly intelligent mind. 
  7. More money. That degree can do wonderful things to your bank account in the future. 
  8. It’s interesting. Studying can get pretty boring, but there are always those topics that spark your curiosity and motivate you to learn more.
  9. It’s attractive. Not everyone cares for someone who is academically gifted, but a partner who is eager to learn makes me eager to take my pants off.
  10. It’s useful. That random fact that you read in a random textbook can stick with you and really end up helping you out one day.
  11. It’s fun to know useless shit sometimes.
  12. To make your parents proud. This is one of the main reasons I study. My parents have always been aware of my capabilities and have pushed me to be academically better every year. They know I have big dreams, and I just want to achieve them so they can know that their child made it.
  13. To make myself proud. This goes along with number four. Knowing that you accomplished something, however small or big the thing may be, is a huge self-esteem booster.
  14. To be independent. There’s nothing quite like knowing that you don’t need someone else’s job, degree, intelligence, or presence to make you successful.
  15. To pursue your passion. 
  16. To gain knowledge. Whether its in your field, or a completely different one, being knowledgeable is just downright fun.
  17. People will look up to you. Your siblings, your best friends, and your classmates may see you consistently studying, and it could motivate them to do the same. 
  18. To make a name for yourself. “Oh yeah, (insert name here), I know them. Aren’t they like really successful now?”
  19. To become your own role model.
  20. To be able to pay off your student loans.
  21. Because the long nights and excessive coffee will all be worth it. Even if it doesn’t seem like it now. 
  22. To exercise your brain. Your brain is just like a muscle, and like the body it needs to be exercised. 
  23. To improve your hippocampus. Your hippocamus is responsible for memory, and if you study your memorization will become significantly better.
  24. To not waste time doing useless stuff. 
  25. Because stationary is amazing. I could spend a whole paycheck on just pens.
  26. Because notes are actually all so pretty. 
  27. To be productive. I used to spend a lot of time on social media, and although I still do, the amount of time I spend studying and getting stuff done has definitely increased.
  28. So classes will be easier. 
  29. So tests will be easier.
  30. To impress your professors. Get those letters of recommendation! 
  31. So the anxiety of getting a bad grade is sufficiently decreased. I constantly worry about my grades, but studying has helped me not worry so much.
  32. Because coffee exists. 
  33. There is no other atmosphere quite like the inside of a library. 
  34. So you won’t have to retake a class. Failing a prerequisite for your major really sucks, so maybe try not failing the first time around. This also saves you a lot of money because you won’t have to pay for the class again. 
  35. Finals week won’t suck as bad. You’ll be used to studying so when finals week comes around it wont nearly be as stressful as for those students who are now opening a textbook. 
  36. You won’t go to as many college parties. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for socializing and having fun, but a lot can go wrong at a college party very quickly. And there’s no better way to prevent that, than just not going to the party cause you’re reading your economics textbook. 
  37. You’ll get used to FOMO. Fear of Missing Out. Every teenagers nightmare. Eventually, you’ll get used to the feeling. 
  38. You’ll be getting the most out of your college experience. You’re paying for these classes. Might as well try your best to pass. 
  39. You’ll get used to not getting enough sleep. So, if you decide to go to grad school you’ll have that department covered. 
  40. There’s really good study music out there. 
  41. I guarantee there will be at least 5 places on campus, or around you that are perfect for studying, and you’ll want to go there everyday. 
  42. You’ll become a pro at writing essays, or lab reports.
  43. You’ll learn fairly quickly that study groups rarely work. 
  44. You’ll make a lot of friends that are just as passionate about studying as you are. And you will cherish them. 
  45. Beauty and Brains. Don’t you want to fit that description? 
  46. Thousands of students before you have done it, so you can too. 
  47. You can run a studyblr. Aren’t they the cutest? 
  48. You get really good at time management. 
  49. Sleep becomes 5x more satisfactory after a night of studying.
  50. Because you want to. There’s no better motivation for studying, than the motivation that comes from within. 
Avoid some of the Main Brain Damaging Habits

1. No Breakfast – People who don’t eat breakfast have lower blood sugar levels. This can lead to an insufficient supply of nutrients to the brain (and to underperformance in terms of thinking, processing , retrieval and memory skills).

2. Overreacting – This can flood the brain with chemical which interferes with clear thinking, logical analysis and memory.

3. Smoking – This can cause a shrinkage in the brain, and possibly lead to Alzheimer’s disease.

4. High Sugar Consumption – Consuming too much sugar interferes with the absorption of proteins and nutrients. These are essential for healthy brain development.

5. Air Pollution – The brain is the largest oxygen consumer in our body. Inhaling polluted air decreases the supply of oxygen to the brain. Again, this can reduce and interfere with the brain’s healthy functioning.

6. Sleep Deprivation – Sleep allows our brain to rest and rejuvenate itself. Long term sleep deprivation accelerates the death of brain cells. It interferes with putting down new memory traces, effective problem solving and memory retention.

7. Exercising your Brain in Times of Illness – Working or studying during times of sickness can lead to a ineffective thinking, poor processing, and to poor memory and retention.

8. Lack of Stimulation – Thinking is the best way to train our brain. Lack of stimulation can prevent new neural pathways from forming. It can also prevent us from reaching our potential in terms of creative thinking and analytical thinking. Source: The World Health Organisation

So here’s a random realisation. 

I consume a lot of content, like A LOT, (tv, movies, books, music, etc you name it) and more often than not, particularly with the visual form of content, I find myself consuming content passively. What I mean is that I just sit there and watch things without really processing them (most of the time after a really tiring day, it’s the kind of content I prefer, because I don’t really have to think too much about it). But here’s the great thing about this little Norwegian tv show, it doesn’t allow us to do that. Skam feels like what the future of media content should be. Active audience engagement. The fact that you have to seek out the website, wait for updates, integrate that with other social media updates. It makes you less likely to consume the show without thought. Here’s Julie saying, this show isn’t going to play by the rules, we’re not gonna spoon feed you, figure it out yourself. 

And because your participation in it is self-initiated, you’re more likely to start actively assessing what you watch, and start thinking about implications and making predictions. And substantiating/backing up those assertions you make and this is where metas and analyses comes in. what I love so much about this show is the sheer amount of discussion that goes on in the fandom as the seasons progress and everyone’s active (im using this word a lot am i?) involvement in these discussions. Not only does it cultivate a mindset of critical analysis, but also you learn to be more engaged with the characters and their development which in turn teaches us empathy. 

Ok, but like, don’t a lot of shows have fandoms that discuss things and have fans who relate to characters? Well, yes, I’m not saying they don’t. But another thing that sets skam apart from most shows is the audience engagement is much more of a two way street than most tv shows (which incidentally makes the audience interest more sustained in the show). a lot of the times, most tv/movies get produced first and then the audience gets the finished product and the feedback from the audience is delayed by 4 to 5 episodes. If its something the audience isn’t receptive of, shows probably only start pivoting in the next season.  And some show creators don’t really care about the audience feedback beyond the numbers and ratings. and on some shows, all they care about are the review critics. and tv networks and movie producers generally don’t care about fans so long as the content makes money. There have been fandoms where the creators have actively worked against what the general fandom wants, which creates a negative dichotomy where the fandom still engages in the media that doesn’t want to cater to them. 

But so far, skam is, fortunately, different in that fan discussions are welcomed and even addressed (re: all those fourth wall breaking). And the response from the creators is often almost instantaneous, fluid and flexible. It creates a lively environment that fosters creativity for both fan and content creator (albeit challenging for the show runners). And because the content creators listen, viewers are more likely to become much more discerning, critical thinking people who form opinions on their own and want to actively (there’s that word again) throw these ideas out there to the creators and have some sort of autonomy over the content that they’re consuming rather than just sitting staring at the screen being fed ideas passively. Basically, what im saying is, watching skam helps me become smarter lmao.

Did you know that you can train your concentration? It’s not something you will get over night but with a little practice and patience you can train your focus. Here are five training methods you can do in your daily life.

  1. Write with your week hand.
  2. Write a word backwards.
    E.g. “concentration” -> “noitartnecnoc” 
  3. You can’t focus on class or a speech or anything like that?
    Don’t doze off instead just pick a word from the topic what the person is talking about. Start with a simple word which is not very often used and count it in your head.
    E.g. it’s your international law class. Pick the word “contract”. Every time the teacher/prof uses the word “contract”, count it. Sounds simple?
    Later you can continue with a more often used word like “and” and so on.
    The meaning of this exercise is to train your awareness and accuracy of your listening.
  4. Count a specific letter from a text.
    E.g. use an article from a paper and mark the letter “r”. Later you can try to do that without marking the letters. Like this you can also use a text from the internet e.g. your favorite blog etc.
    With this exercise your brain is forced to focus since you have look at the article carefully so you won’t miss a letter. It’s the perfect time killer for waiting times ;)
  5. Imagine a white wall.
    This exercise is perfect to start (or end) your day with a clear head.
    Sit down comfortable (not too comfortable so you fall asleep again :P). Close your eyes and imagine a white wall. Nothing but a white wall. If another thought is coming into your mind just start again. Try to do this 15 minutes long without distraction.
    Don’t get frustrated if it doesn’t work at your first try. It’s quite hard actually. You can also start with e.g. 5 minutes and increase the time from time to time. Maybe setting a timer if you feel like you could loose time with this practice.

That’s it so far. I really hope this is useful!
Have a nice day ♥ 

- xoxo, junli -

When you listen to music, multiple areas of your brain become engaged and active. But when you actually play an instrument, that activity becomes more like a full-body brain workout.

From the TED-Ed lesson How playing an instrument benefits your brain - Anita Collins

Animation by Sharon Colman Graham

Inspiration Ideas and Solving Writers Block

Okay, a lot of us writers suffer from writers block and lack of inspiration. Here’s what I do to help.

1. Go to your picture files and create a new folder. Title it the name of your book.
2. Find relevant photos and stick them all in the photo. Photos of vampires, flowers, dogs, teacups, or anything that’s an important part of your story.

That’s it! Look through the photos when you have writers block or when you need inspiration. Scout for more photos if needed.
–An alternate is using a website like pinterest. It’s pretty easy to use pinterest. Create a board, name is the title of your work, and find relevant photos.

If you’re not into either options try putting together a youtube playlist of songs that capture perfect moments in your story. Don’t want to make a playlist? Find one on youtube or spotify or etc.

Other solutions to gather inspiration and stopping writers block:
-Take a break from your work.. Put your work down for a week, then come back to it. After a week, reread your entire work, and think about if you were a reader where would you want the story to go or what would you wish to happen.
-If you haven’t already, make an outline and think about where you want to go or themes you want to explore.
-Look at why you have writer’s block. Are you scared of writing badly? Keep this in mind, it’s easier to edit a pages of bad writing than it is to edit a blank page. If you’re afraid of writing badly, then remind yourself that you can always edit it later.
-Create a writing routine such as drinking tea when you write, listening to music without lyrics. writing at 7 am, or whatever fits you.
-Are you stuck on a certain scene? I suck at writing romantic scenes, so what I do is listen to love songs from various genres from around the world and think of what makes the song so romantic. If I could match the song to a scene in a movie, what would be happening? That’s what usually helps me.
-Start brainstorming ideas to get you on the right track. No matter how wacky or outlandish those ideas are. Add zombies, make your character a god, the enemy is a poor bread baker, she falls in love with cheese, or anything. Even if it doesn’t fit your novel, it’s a good exercise to get your brain going.
-Here’s my ultimate favorite thing to do: watch TV and imagine how would you write out a scene to do it justice. How could you describe what’s going on in the show to a total stranger and have it make sense? This writing exercise could help jumpstart you.
-Read books from the genre you are writing. Watch tv shows or movies from the genre as well. Do research to look up popular tropes/cliches from the genre. Do you want to stay within the genre or break from it? This can help you think about where you want to go, and before you know it your writers block will be gone.
-Find a friend to talk to about the problems in your work. Too shy to tell other people about your work? Talk to a pet! Sometimes just the act of talking about the problems can be beneficial.

My opinion of popular Korean language learning resources and some tips

Talk to me in Korean: Some of their grammar explanations are very helpful, as well as their Iyagi series. I’d really recommend them for learning elementary~intermediate grammar. However, they use a lot of English and their content often isn’t serious enough (stock full of jokes that are not necessarily related to Korean at all, the hosts constantly teasing each other) and it can be cringe worthy and annoying. Would recommend but not as a prime resource. 

Koreanclass101: They have a lot of interesting features where you can actually track your lessons, record your pronunciation, use specific vocab lists for each lesson etc. But again, most of their lessons are filled with idle talking in English and come off as a bit cheesy. 

Livemocha: Livemocha is like a free version of Rosetta Stone with more community interaction. After each lesson, you must write from a prompt and record a paragraph which is given to you. It’s really cool that native speakers listen to and judge your pronunciation and correct your entries for free. However, the content is rather limited and doesn’t go to an advanced level (nor is it very practical content). Still, it tracks your progress and covers all aspects (listening-writing-reading-speaking) in every lesson. I’d still recommend if not just to get your pronunciation corrected personally.

Rosetta Stone: I’m not a believer in their products. Not for serious learners who want to reach a high level. No explanations for anything. Assumes adults learn like babies, which they don’t.

Quizlet: This is a website only for vocabulary, but I highly recommend it because you actually have to be able to recall the vocab instead of simply looking at it. Especially like the ‘learn’ tool. It may be a bit tedious to constantly input new terms and doesn’t necessarily help in long-term memory if you don’t put the vocab to use in another way. If anything, it will be tremendous help in practicing Korean typing.

Memrise: This is like Quizlet but with a more ‘scientific’ approach to help with long-term memory of vocabulary words. It keeps track of which words you need to review so you’re not forced to also shift through the words you already know. Their process can be a bit long and tedious for some people though. If you’re impatient, quizlet might be better. But as a whole it is a more structured way to learn vocab and I’d recommend it.

Lang-8: This is one of my favorites because it’s pretty unknown to the western world despite how useful it is. It’s not really a learning website; just a tool where you can write anything in your target languages and native speakers will correct it for you for free. I’ve even had people correct parts of my school assignments on this website. The community there is nice and helpful and there are lots of Koreans willing to correct your entries quickly. Recommended for people who are self-motivated in writing entries. Not particularly helpful for low-level learners. ALSO a lot of native learners writing english posts include the Koreans translation so you can study off of that.

TIPS:

1. There is no reason you should pay to learn Korean on the internet. If millions of free resources are not enough motivation for you and you’re too lazy to study without strict online lessons telling you how to do everything, you might not be motivated enough to learn a language. 

2. NEVER use google translate. Naver english dictionary is the best, closely followed by daum. 

3. If your motivation for learning Korean is to understand TV shows or music without subtitles, you’re probably underestimating how difficult it is to learn a foreign language. Waiting a week for some subtitles to come out on your favorite drama is exponentially easier than dedicating thousands of tedious hours to your life to learning a language. Language learning should not be fun and it should not be easy. But there’s nothing wrong with having a hobby and exercising your brain. 

4. Do not blindly trust Korean language learning tumblr blogs. Especially the ones with very light content that use lots of pretty graphics and have hardly any non-reblogged content. I have seen SO MANY spelling errors, incorrect vocabulary, and tons of other things that are just straight-up wrong and made by people who don’t know what they’re doing. 

5. Nothing will stick if you don’t make an effort to use it yourself.

6. Use penpal sites to interact with Koreans in Korea. Chat with people on kakao talk. A lot of nice people will help you learn.

7. Whenever you watch anything with subtitles, take notes on how things were translated. I would recommend you look for Korean subs every time you want to watch a movie in your native language. Also, most TED talks have Korean subs!! Watch some!!

8. There are apps you can download that stream Korean radio. Turn them on while you’re doing something else or when you go to sleep at night. Even if you’re a beginner and can’t understand what is being said, it helps to acclimate yourself to the flow and pronunciation of the language. 

“Living healthy” is not one big task - in fact it’s a lot of tiny, easily achievable steps! Take care of your body, mind and soul one step at a time and allow yourself to be proud of every tiny step! 

30 little healthy things you could do right now*: 

1. Drink a glass of water! 

2. Eat a piece of fruit.  

3. Dance to your favorite song. 

4. Walk up and down the stairs. 

5. Use spices instead of salt when you cook the next time. 

6. Set a reminder to go to sleep early enough to get 8 hours of sleep tonight. 

7. Make a list with 5 things you like about yourself. 

8. Clean your room for 5 minutes. 

9. Send a sweet message to a friend. 

10. Snack on some nuts. 

11. Plan a meal that includes some vegetables. 

12. Make a smoothie using fruits and water. 

13. Make a cup of herbal or green tea. 

14. Take a short walk outside. 

15. Walk around your room if you don’t feel like going outside. 

16. Do a 5 minute workout. 

17. Dry-brush your skin to improve circulation. 

18. Wash your face. 

19. Plan to include some healthy fat in the next meal (for example, coconut oil or avocado). 

20. Take a few deep breaths. 

21. Sit in the sunshine for a few minutes. 

22. Do something you enjoy, such as reading or painting! 

23. Write down 5 things you’re grateful for. 

24. Smile at yourself in the mirror. 

25. Brush your teeth. 

26. Floss your teeth. 

27. Exercise your brain by learning a word in another language. 

28. Give yourself a quick hand or foot massage. 

29. Choose a positive affirmation (such as “I am enough”) and write it down. 

30. Wash your hands. 

 * This advice does not replace advice from medical professionals. These things are not meant as treatment for physical or mental illnesses. 

Blossom ~ An Avenger’s Story (9/15)

Originally posted by ohevansmycaptain

AU Summary: Steve opens up about his feelings towards Bucky and Jack’s relationship.

Notes: filler chapter. i know. i’ll work on the plot a little bit more. but hey here’s a chapter. finally, eh? haha. sorry it’s only so short. 

Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10

MASTERLIST


Sometimes he would spend his time alone thinking what would have happened if any of the plans from previous heads to take over the world. What would he be doing right now? What would have happened?

There were many attempts at world domination but as their luck would have it, either SHIELD or the Avengers or some other force would come in and stop it from happening. The belief that mankind needs to have that sense of freedom and security is apparently so important to uphold. Even if they don’t really have it. What for? HYDRA and SHIELD and other agencies or groups have eyes everywhere. Nothing is private but people still like to parade around thinking that they’re safe and free.

And if there was one attempt at world domination that he wishes went successfully, it would be the bombing of Pearl Harbor during World War II.

It was told in history that the Japanese launched a surprise attack on the United States Naval Base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, resulting the USA’s entry to the second world war.

That is what everyone thought happened.

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anonymous asked:

So I thought I had asked something but turns out I forgot to haha oops... My question is: Are constant exhaustion and memory problems associated with adhd in adults? I'm 23, soon to be "officially" diagnosed (took aaaagez), and I am crashing and burning. I feel constantly tired, sometimes nodding while standing, but I also feel like I "just have to do this and this and this" so I get terrible sleep. Also, my short term memory is almost non existent.

Yes.

Memory problems are a symptom of ADHD, and the exhaustion is one of those things that happens when we’re constantly taxing our brains to do things that it’s just not great at.

Medication will probably help once you’re diagnosed, but in the meantime focus on your diet (high protein is great for your brain), exercise (cardio is especially great), and sleep (which I know you said is hard, so keep reading).

If you don’t already make to-do lists, it’s time to start. This is an external memory tool, and if you go to bed and start thinking about all the things you need to do, either add them to your list or remind yourself that you don’t need to worry about it since it’s already on your list. This will help, I promise!

-J

Avoid some of the Main Brain Damaging Habits

1. No Breakfast – People who don’t eat breakfast have lower blood sugar levels. This can lead to an insufficient supply of nutrients to the brain (and to underperformance in terms of thinking, processing , retrieval and memory skills).
2. Overreacting – This can flood the brain with chemical which interferes with clear thinking, logical analysis and memory.
3. Smoking – This can cause a shrinkage in the brain, and possibly lead to Alzheimer’s disease.
4. High Sugar Consumption – Consuming too much sugar interferes with the absorption of proteins and nutrients. These are essential for healthy brain development.
5. Air Pollution – The brain is the largest oxygen consumer in our body. Inhaling polluted air decreases the supply of oxygen to the brain. Again, this can reduce and interfere with the brain’s healthy functioning.
6. Sleep Deprivation – Sleep allows our brain to rest and rejuvenate itself. Long term sleep deprivation accelerates the death of brain cells. It interferes with putting down new memory traces, effective problem solving and memory retention.
7. Exercising your Brain in Times of Illness – Working or studying during times of sickness can lead to a ineffective thinking, poor processing, and to poor memory and retention.
8. Lack of Stimulation – Thinking is the best way to train our brain. Lack of stimulation can prevent new neural pathways from forming. It can also prevent us from reaching our potential in terms of creative thinking and analytical thinking.

Source: The World Health Organisation

Symphony of Illumination [Spencer Reid Imagine]

*Requested* i love spencer reid imagines! if you wanna write anything about him, I’m game. I love angsty ones? Like ones where he breaks up with you and goes with Maeve and regrets it? or like ones where there’s just so much heart ache, y'know?

Author’s Note: This is low-key inspired by How I Met Your Mother and uses an outline from 7x12: “Symphony of Illumination”.

Request things!!! Masterlist

Originally posted by babyspencerreid

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The Science of Spellcraft

The question I get asked most as a Witch, I think, is “How does it all work?” This is often said with a skeptic tone, as in, “You don’t really think you can do magic, can you?” I know. I, too, was (and still am, at points) skeptical of the New Age crowd. But the truth is, there are witches and magic users who are lawyers, professors, paramedics, screenwriters, and environmental scientists, and not one of these people are doing anything that is outside the realm of physical possibility, or really anything more interesting than a ceremonial and personal ritual to get things goin’ or changing in their own mind and in their own life. It’s about as magical as remembering your mom’s house when you bite into her famous meatloaf (which, to a Witch, is exceedingly charming and magical, but to a lot of people, like my partner, is just another mundane example of nature being kind of neat).

Frankly, magic is a lot more boring and sensible than you care to imagine. The general idea is, with “casting a spell”, you’re creating a mini visual metaphor for a result you want to achieve. I’m not saying that by doing this, you’ll “magically” get that result. Not at all. That’s honestly nonsense.


So here’s my whack at explaining how spells and the “science” of magic works:


“Visualization” is one of the techniques that people often misunderstand in magic. Some think that if you “visualize” what you want – say, picturing a new Audi – that Audi will fall from the sky into your lap. Well, there are quite a few steps between wishing for a car and getting one, that require you to do a little bit more than simply imagine a car. A more effective thing to do, maybe, would be thinking of all the features you’d like your dream Audi to have, thinking about your savings and how you might finance a new car, imagining where you might drive it or use it, and imagining how you might interact with the dealership to haggle down the price. Then – and this is the important part – you go out and try to do the thing you just imagined. That’s the whole point, like practicing a situation in your head first. It’ll be easier, since you’ll have an idea of what might happen, and you’ll be familiar with the situation, so if you need to adapt or change, you’ll know what to do.

Imagine you have to break up with your partner. You figure out that’s what you need to do, then you decide what you want to say. You run through it in your head several times, making sure you know what to do. When the time comes, you can say everything on your mind and you’re ready for that conversation. That’s visualization!


“Correspondences” is another word that describes a concept often used in magic. This refers to the properties an object, time of day, or other type of thing has in relation to magic – for instance, Sunday is the day of the Sun, or hematite being good for protection and grounding. There are lots of people who believe herbs, crystals, and other objects have intrinsic properties that affect other things magically. You may have heard people talk about how rose quartz is “good for healing”. I’m a spoilsport “Scientific Method Witch” who won’t take these at face value unless I see it myself or can see practical data on the subject to make up my own mind. Personally, I have a couple theories on why things like stones, herbs, and colors – all commonplace things with a wide variety of types that can be acquired easily or incorporated into spells – are so often used as magical tools, and given these special attributes. Certain herbs really do have numbing, aphrodisiac, or hallucinogenic qualities: It’s not hard to see why rosemary is a “cleansing herb” when it helps with the digestion. Perhaps certain crystals are colder to the touch, lighter than they look, or have a unique texture, thus giving them unique qualities that are easy to remember and associate with a property. Whether these objects have any “intrinsic magic”, though, is kind of moot: It definitely adds depth to your practice when you truly know the steel in the knife you’re holding is running high vibrations, but the knife is ultimately a metaphorical representation. Correspondences are a personal and widely universal way to assign attributes to the reagents and tools around you, to incorporate them into your spellwork (which, largely, is an elaborate visual metaphor).


“But Ash,” you may be saying, “All of this just sounds like common sense and not in the least bit magical.” Hold your horses. We’ll come to how this applies to spells and rituals and the Craft in a second.

The general idea of “casting a spell” is that your spell is a smaller representation of your ultimate result. That is, it is a miniature ritual representing what you want to happen, by simulating it metaphorically.

I know, I know, I’m the only person who can make magic boring!


Take this very easy example I like to use, which is a memory spell paraphrased from Scott Cunningham’s popular Earth, Air, Fire, and Water:

For each thing you need to get done today, find a small stone. (It’s best if these are somewhat visually distinct.) Make a to-do list. For each item on your list, hold one of the stones, concentrate on what you need to get done and walk yourself through it, then, when you’re sure you know what to do and your stone is fully associated with the task, put that stone in your pocket. Repeat for all your to-do tasks, then, as you complete them throughout the day, remove the associated stone from your pocket. Continue til your pocket is empty.

Sound like something folksy you’d hear from Huck Finn about remembering easier? That’s because it might as well be. Magic really is as simple as that. If you break down the most elaborate spells and rituals, it all comes down to a smaller, earthly representation of the larger effect. Some people call this “vibrations” - think of it as a non-chaotic butterfly effect.


It would be a lot less exciting, of course, if magic relied purely on your own imagination and head to get done. It would work, certainly, but human beings need stimuli. Most importantly, by working with the environment around you and incorporating real, natural effects – like burning incense to set a sense of wonder, or brewing an ale with a little bit of endorphin-boosting borage – a system takes place, wherein the magic-user works in harmony with the world around them.

Take this paraphrased spell for sharpening the senses from Australian psychology doctorate and White Witch, Titanie Hardie:

You will need: A light green ribbon, a selection of herbs and flowers, a silver talisman that represents focus (try a stag or an owl).

1. Tie a light green or mulberry ribbon around your hand.

2. Close your eyes. Take one of the herbs, and crush them between your fingers. Feel its texture, then hold it to your face and remember its scent. Continue on with all your herbs and flowers, until you’re quite sure you know which is which by touch and scent alone.

3. Put your head to the ground. Become attuned with the noises around you: Try to hear everything. Become aware of the faintest footsteps in the distance, a rumbling of a washing machine, or birds out the window.

4. Once you are done, take your ribbon and secure it around the talisman. Hold it up to the sun, and thank it for its senses. Look at the world around you with heightened senses and new eyes, and touch the talisman whenever you have need of awakening your senses again.

Let’s break this down.

The light green or mulberry ribbon here represents “wisdom”, a color gone over in Hardie’s book, but you could use any color ribbon that represents wisdom or focus to you. By tying the ribbon to your hand, this will associate the actions performed in the ritual to that ribbon.

Crushing the herbs and smelling them allows you to experience a much more delicate and refined set of smells and textures than you come across on your daily life, forcing your nerves to work harder to distinguish and experience the many-layered scents and textures before them. By remembering which is which, you’ve not only stimulated your tactile and sensory senses, but allowed your brain to make some snap associations to them. You’re basically exercising your brain out by playing a mini memory game, using scents and textures instead of visuals, which, in my opinion, is much more of a powerful and mystic experience than playing a matching game with cards.

Putting your head to the ground tunes up your auditory senses just as the previous exercise did for your touch, sense of smell, and memory. By trying to listen in to even the faintest sound, you’re become much more aware of the bevy of sounds around you.

Taking off the ribbon and securing it to the talisman “binds” the ritual to the talisman. By knotting the ribbon, you’re “securing” what you did in the ritual, remembering it and its results – leaving you feeling exhilarated and open to outside stimuli – whenever you see or touch the ribbon. The talisman is a physical bonus: By choosing a shape representative of wisdom or focus, you’ll additionally remember the subject of the spell, and you’ll have something physical to touch in your pocket or bag to “activate” the spell again without having to look at it.




I hope you can begin to see the possibilities at hand when working with magic. Using the human resources available on Earth and in world around us, we can combine them in a nigh infinite number of ways to create hundreds of unique and personal rituals!


Ash

Starting Your AS Levels

Hello! Here are some tips I have about going from GCSEs to AS level:

  • Keep your GCSE notes- please keep any relevant gcse notes because they can be useful for going over things that you’re doing in more depth at AS. You don’t have to keep them all (for example, if you’re doing art, history, english lit, and philosophy you won’t need your physics or french notes), just make sure you don’t throw away notes that you’ll regret not having later as you may want to look over them to recap basic ideas! Or maybe a friend or sibling in another year may find them useful- you never know so please don’t rush to burn them!
  • Go over things after every lesson- at the beginning of year 12 all my teachers said this to me and I just ignored them because like seriously no thanks, but when it came to spring I deeply regretted not going over things as suddenly I had to recap everything in just a few weeks! So I’d suggest that maybe one night every week, go over everything you’ve learned, rewrite notes if needed, and do extra practice questions on things you’re not sure of- it’ll definitely be worth it in the long run, trust me! Also it’s good to make revision notes throughout the year; for example, if you have a test on one topic of a subject, make some good quality notes and keep them as during exam season you’ll be so happy that you already have some good notes. The night before one of my AS chemistry exams I was trying to cram my way through the whole syllabus (revise early!! I’ll talk about this next) and cried tears of joy when I found a set of notes I’d made previously as it’s much easier to revise from concise notes than it is a textbook or your school notes.
  • REVISE EARLY!!!!!!- I’m currently in the middle of my AS exams and omg please please please start revising early! I kept saying ‘it’ll be fine, I’ll start next week’ from like January until mid-April and by then it was too late and I ended up not being able to revise everything I needed to and to a poorer enough level overall. Therefore please start revising definitely before March- this sounds a bit extreme as that leaves around 2.5 months before exams but ‘revise’ doesn’t just mean ‘write intense notes’: make mind maps, timelines for subjects like history, flashcards, do past papers, make notes based off mark schemes so you know what key words examiners like, etc. Make resources so that when it is April/May time you won’t be panicking (as much) as you already have concise notes to then make even more concise and specific notes off, and hopefully you’ll be much clearer on things from the start of the year that otherwise you’d have forgotten completely!
  • Do your homework- teachers set it for your benefit so by not doing it you’re just setting yourself back! Try to do it as soon as possible after you get it and please do actually try when doing it- don’t just google the answers straight away (I am very guilty of this and it only made things worse in exams as I hadn’t built up technique).
  • USE YOUR FREES- free periods are an absolute blessing and it’s easy to just see them as extra break times. However they are given to you for a reason and it’s soooooo important that you actually use them for what they’re for- working! It’s okay to be ‘free’ in your frees sometimes but more than not you should be working in them; catching up on homework, doing past exam questions, improving your notes, etc. Most sixth forms/colleges have quiet working areas/study centres so do try to take advantage of these areas in your frees- it means you have less work to do at home!
  • Plan- buy a planner/diary (if your school doesn’t provide you with one) and use it! Make sure you write down all your homework and when its due as it is extremely easy to lose track of things, especially if you have multiple teachers for one subject! I’d also recommend having a whiteboard or something in your bedroom where you can write a clear and visible to-do list.
  • Be organised- most sixth forms like you to use files and to write your notes on A4 lined paper, unlike in ‘books’ like you did in lower school. It’s extremely easy to end up with a messy file so please make sure that you organise it well (use dividers and maybe buy a mini hole punch and stapler to go in your bag- teachers are too good at not hole punching sheets…) as this will make revision a lot easier! It also makes a good impression on your teachers.
  • Crappy teachers- there isn’t much worse than having a crappy teacher at A level. It’s seriously frustrating- especially if there’s another class for the subject you’re doing who have the good teacher! If you’re unfortunate enough to get a bad teacher, please don’t let it define your grades! Download your exam’s spec from their website, buy a textbook/revision guide, etc, Basically do as much as you can to make sure you’re learning everything that you should be and that you don’t fall behind. Maybe talk to another teacher if you really need help or straight up tell your teacher that you aren’t learning from them- most are happy to help and don’t realise that they’re so bad! Tell them how you learn best and maybe they can adapt to help you.
  • Buy revision guides/wider reading- please try to get a hold of revision guides as they will save your life during exam season. If money is tight, speak to a teacher as most schools have bursary funds that can help you out if needed. It can also be good to do some wider reading, especially around subjects you may want to continue in the future- ask teachers or google for recommendations.
  • Use online resources- if your school has access to revision websites, etc. please try to use them! Really take advantage of as many resources as you can since A-level resources are more scarce than GCSE ones.
  • Make decent notes- this one is very important! Please make sure that your notes throughout the year are good quality- if you feel like they aren’t then make sure you add to them using a textbook/revision guide as otherwise you might end up revising from sub-par notes and therefore won’t get the top grades.
  • Catch up- if you miss a lesson (even if a friend tells you that you didn’t miss anything important) always go and see your teacher as soon as possible! You must make sure you don’t miss a single thing and also it’ll make your teacher like you more since you’re actively trying to catch up!
  • Give yourself a break- please make sure you have a life outside of school work! But also make sure you don’t get too wild; usually the people who flake out are the ones who party too hard or work too hard. So make sure you find a good balance. Sixth form/college is an awesome chance to make/maintain some amazing friendships so make the most of it! Also please don’t feel pressured to get a girl/boyfriend and if you do, do not let your relationship get in the way of your grades.
  • Good habits- also try to make sure you stay healthy and make good diet/exercise habits. It’s vital that you have an outlet (running, tennis, walking you dog, whatever you like) outside of school. Also, exercise is good for your brain! A levels can be extremely stressful so you need to try to take care of yourself or else you might not make it- I know many people who dropped out because they couldn’t deal with the stress so you need to try to deal with this as best you can. If you do start to struggle, talk to a teacher as this is very common and there’s lots they can do to help you! 
  • It’s okay to fail- there is no way (unless you’re superhuman) that you can continue getting the same grades at GCSE and at AS; for example I got A’s and A*s in chemistry all through GCSE (an A at the end) and in AS I always got B’s (and a few D’s…). AS is such a huge step up in most subjects (some you may find are quite similar- I found this for geography but most are way more complex) so it’s totally fine to not get the top grades; at AS you can’t even get A*s (they don’t exist) and E’s are still a pass so it’s really not expected of you to get the same grades as gcse, especially at the beginning. It can be disappointing but please try not to get down about this! At the start of the year I was getting mostly D’s-B’s and towards the end it was more B’s and a few A’s so there’s plenty of time to improve. Also, if you feel that at the beginning of the year you want to swap subjects, do talk to your teachers as this may be possible within the first few weeks. Remember that you could retake year 12 if thins went terribly wrong so it’s not the end of the world if you fail everything! Also the new AS levels don’t count towards your final A level grade so you do get a second chance.
  • Overall: so overall the jump can be pretty daunting but to be honest it’s really not that bad as long as you stay organised and ask for help if you need it. In sixth form, learning is more your own responsibility so you need to make sure that you are doing enough work outside of school and that you understand all topics being covered. Year 12 and 13 are seriously some of the best years of school (the best yet to be honest) so do also try to make the most of them!

I hope this is helpful and please do feel free to send me any questions you might have! :)

40 tips for writers

GENERAL STUFF:

1. You ARE a writer, it doesn’t matter if you have already published a bestseller trilogy or have just written your first short story, you ARE a writer, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Writing is your career.   

Originally posted by young-foolish-dreamer

2. Do you love melodrama? Write melodrama. Do you love erotic? Write erotic. Do you love vampires? Write about vampires. Be honest to your passion. Write what you love and not what you think is cool.

3. If you are facing a creative block, you most likely just need to sit down and write anything to break that initial anxiety. Write a one page description of the clothes you are wearing, or the landscape from your window, or the last dream you’ve had.  

4. If, after years of writing, you lose your passion, just take a time away from it. Don’t force yourself to write just because you HAVE TO be a writer. You are free. Write as long as it is fun.  

5. You are not perfect. Your stories won’t be perfect… and that’s great. Just have fun. 

6. Some people will love your book, some won’t. Some people will completely adore your writing, some won’t. Some people will give you 5 stars, some will put your story away. Reviewers will review. Writers will write. People need their space for liking/disliking a book, and, as a writer, you must respect that.   

7. You have greatness in you. You have awesome stories to tell. Start right now… WRITE.

Originally posted by davidpurse

ABOUT INSPIRATION:  

8.  There’s no such thing as good ideas or bad ideas. Bad ideas can turn into awesome stories. Good ideas can shrink into terrible books. It doesn’t matter which idea you choose. Anything, if well developed, will become awesome.

9. Don’t wait for a magical momentum of great inspiration. This momentum is a lie. You are full of life and inspiration right now. There’s no best moment to start than right now. 

10. Take inspiration from history. Something that happen in Joseon dynasty three hundred years ago might as well happen again in nowadays New York. Why not? History repeats itself.

11. If you have no idea what to write about, go back to your childhood. Which movies/series did you watch everyday? Watch it again! What imaginary friends did you create? Play with them again. Our childhood has a major influence in our artistic spectrum. Going back to your roots will show you new paths to take. 

12.  Write down 10 story ideas everyday. Collect ideas. Exercise your brain.

13. If you are divided between two (or more) ideas, write the first page of both. Keep writing the one that excites you the most. Let your passion decide, not logical arguments.

14. DON`T EVER choose an idea based on how easy will it be to sell/advertise. Only cliche and boring ideas are easy to sell. Choose the most difficult/complex/crazy/absurd ideas.  

Originally posted by homurahyakuya


ABOUT CHARACTERS:

15. Don’t ask too much of your characters. They don’t need to be the most complex soul on earth, or the most heroic, or evil, or wise. Don’t overthink every step they take. Put your characters together and let them live. It’s that simple. 

16. Imagine what would happen to your life if you went through the same events as your character. Put yourself in their shoes.  

17. Antagonists are not bad by association. They are just an opposite force to the protagonist. If there’s no need for your antagonist to be evil, don’t force it. Antagonists are allowed to be wise, good, kind, fragile, sick, beautiful, nice, traumatized, bullied, broken, scared, afraid as well… just like protagonists are allowed to be evil.

Originally posted by late-august-1960

18. Give your characters proper names, there’s no need to be fancy. Think about what type of names their parents would be able to come up with.  

19. Speak dialogues out loud before writing. Record your voice if needed. Dialogues are informal, fast and easy.  

20. When writing a couple, prioritize dynamics over kisses. Let your characters work together for a common goal, let them know each other, accept each other’s flaws to finally trust each other. Let them be partners in crime (well, not necessarily in crime). Take your time. And even after they go canon, keep working the dynamic.

Originally posted by miraculousgifs

21. Don’t give in to stereotypes. Not every prince will be arrogant. Not every master will be wise. Not every orphan will want a family. Not every character will have a dream. 

ABOUT FICTIONAL WORLDS:

22. Imagine yourself living in your fictional world. Walk around, find a restaurant, eat something. Visit a friend. Or go to the market. Imagine the buildings, and the people, and the cars. Use your five senses in this exercise. Don’t worry about characters or plots, visit your fictional world like a tourist, take mental photos, make memories, have fun.    

23. There are thousands of things happening at the same time as your story. Maybe it’s the most severe winter in 50 years, or maybe a serial killer is everywhere in the news, maybe the last mayor suddenly died in a plane crash. Let this parallel events shape your fictional world. If it’s winter, people might be sick and hungry. If there’s a serial killer, people are scared. If the last mayor died, someone might have caused it.     

24. If your story happens in 20’s Tokyo, research, research, research. Read anything you can find about the period and place: economic, political and demographic situation. Read about celebrities, sport tournaments, scientific discoveries, even crime cases. Having all angles of knowledge will not only make your world more realistic, but also give you plot ideas.    

25. This might sound stupid, but create a routine for your characters inside this environment. Where they sleep, where they work, where they eat… routine is realistic, because we all live in one. The reader will recognize the characters’ routine and sympathize with it. 

26. Describe your environment using the senses: sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch. That’s why Studio Ghibli locations are so magical… they make you feel like you are there by exploring the senses.

Originally posted by ponyo-ghibli


ABOUT WRITING:

27. Make a list of things that could go wrong to your characters… use them as plot.

28.  You don’t have to worry about creating a style, write as direct and understandable as possible. Readers will appreciate it and you won’t pressure yourself in the process.

29.  Write with the flow, don’t reread, don’t rewrite, don’t erase, don’t edit, don’t look back. Just write like you are having a dream, free and wild. 

30. Prefer ambient sounds over soundtracks to listen to while writing. Songs and soundtracks might evoke feelings that go against your story. Ambient sounds, however, are neutral. Search for rain sound if it’s raining in your story, search for a train ride if your characters are traveling by train. Youtube is an ambient sound paradise.

31. Use words you know. There’s no need for Thesaurus. The less fancy words, the better.

32. The most important aspect of your story are the feelings. Don’t worry about a perfect orthography and flawless narrative. The most boring books I’ve read were flawless in semantics, but had no emotion to offer. And how do you put emotion to a story? Well, readers LOVE to watch the world burn, so give it to them. Take your characters to the extreme. Fuck everything up. Write down the three most important emotions you want your readers to experience and explore them throughout the story. Be mean.

Originally posted by ninngunaparte

33. For every action, there’s a reaction. If your character had a bad experience, he/she needs time to recover.

34. I’ve seen hundreds of charts on how to build a story. These charts are bullshit. They are cliche. They are boring. They take away the fun of exploring. You don’t need to write about the most epic journey of the most epic fantastic universe… with dragons. Maybe, if you write about a baker in love with breads, it will turn out much more interesting than… dragons. No one knows for sure how to create a story. We are all on the same boat here. So we might as well enjoy the ride.

ABOUT EDITING:

35. Decide on how many times you will read your book before publishing it. A book is never completely ready, so don’t beat yourself in editing. Don’t read the same book more than five times. Write. Edit. Publish. Move on.

36. Read out loud, or using voice programs, it’s easier to spot mistakes. 

37. Editing is basically a cutting out job. Cut out everything that doesn’t make the story move forward. Cut phrases, paragraphs, characters, scenes, even whole chapters if they are not working. I’m serious about cutting. I have a friend that once cut the first half of his book.    

38. Adverbs… well, these little bastards are tricky. Avoid them as much as possible. Not only they are annoying for readers, they also break the text fluidity and causes pleonasm. For example: “Mr. Jones screamed loudly.” If he screamed, he was loud. Verbs are strong words, they most always won’t need a description. “Suddenly” should just change to “adverb-who-should-not-be-written”. Hahaha, I’m kidding. You can use it… but be careful.

Originally posted by gifsboom

39. Editing requires full attention, so don’t edit for hours non-stop. Give yourself many breaks. For every twenty minutes of editing, take five minutes for walking, eating, watching a youtube video or anything. You deserve it.    


FINAL TIP:

40. Write the story you look for in a bookstore. Be your first and most important reader.  

Avoid some of the Main Brain Damaging Habits

1. No Breakfast – People who don’t eat breakfast have lower blood sugar levels. This can lead to an insufficient supply of nutrients to the brain (and to underperformance in terms of thinking, processing , retrieval and memory skills).
2. Overreacting – This can flood the brain with chemical which interferes with clear thinking, logical analysis and memory.
3. Smoking – This can cause a shrinkage in the brain, and possibly lead to Alzheimer’s disease.
4. High Sugar Consumption – Consuming too much sugar interferes with the absorption of proteins and nutrients. These are essential for healthy brain development.
5. Air Pollution – The brain is the largest oxygen consumer in our body. Inhaling polluted air decreases the supply of oxygen to the brain. Again, this can reduce and interfere with the brain’s healthy functioning.
6. Sleep Deprivation – Sleep allows our brain to rest and rejuvenate itself. Long term sleep deprivation accelerates the death of brain cells. It interferes with putting down new memory traces, effective problem solving and memory retention.
7. Exercising your Brain in Times of Illness – Working or studying during times of sickness can lead to a ineffective thinking, poor processing, and to poor memory and retention.
8. Lack of Stimulation – Thinking is the best way to train our brain. Lack of stimulation can prevent new neural pathways from forming. It can also prevent us from reaching our potential in terms of creative thinking and analytical thinking.

Source: The World Health Organisation

I love languages, languages are a big, big, big hobby of mine. It’s what I do in my free time. You know, a lot of people..I love video games but I always tell people that my video games are language books. I really enjoy keeping up with my italian, um, my french is really shitty but I enjoy, you know, stupid things that we hated when we were kids like grammar workbooks. I really enjoy doing those, like french conjugation. […] Well it’s fun for me cause it’s like, it’s puzzles to me, it’s language puzzles cause I love words, I love languages. I just like learning as many things as possible. In the past two years I kind of dived into japanese and chinese, which is crazy, and I’m not saying I’m gonna be fluent or anything, it’s just a fun exercise to keep your brain challenged. It’s fun to see something and have no fucking clue what it means, but it’s cool because then you go « okay cool, well, I can get there », you know? Human beings are smart, we can get there, it’s a cool challenge to, just to try and understand everything that you can’t understand. I love that. So languages a really really great hobby for me. It’s like music.
—   Darren on his hobbies aside from music and theater