Take a Walk in the Park

One thing I'm sure you know well by now is brain fatigue: the state of having low mental energy, and being easily distracted, forgetful, and mentally flighty. Studying for the bar exam is an express ticket to brain fatigue. You're only human, and your ability to stay calm and focused has its limits. How many times have you been in a situation where you finished reading a question and realized you have no idea what you just read? Many? That means you are suffering from brain fatigue (unless of course you are reading a Real Property question, because none of those seem like they make any sense on the first read).

Luckily, one of the nicest ways to rid yourself of this ailment is to get your bar prepping butt into a park and take a lovely stroll. Studies have shown that natural settings like parks are calming and require less direct mental attention. Therefore, the brain can rest and reset its overused resources to help reduce mental fatigue. People who live near trees and parks have lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, in their saliva than those who live amid concrete and buildings.

Even more directly, studies have taken volunteers into labs and tested their reactions to photos of natural versus urban scenes. The brain wave results showed that the volunteers were more relaxed and meditative when they saw the natural scenes.

Walking through a park is beautiful and relaxing. Try walking through the park silently, letting your mind wander. Don't focus on any one thing; merely take in the scenes around you. In this way, your walk through the park will be mentally quieting. Jenny Roe, a lecturer at Heriot-Watt's School of Built Environment, who oversaw one of these studies, said, -Natural environments still engage [the brain], but the attention demanded is effortless. It's called involuntary attention in psychology. It holds our attention while at the same time allowing scope for reflection.

It's really important to take the time and relax once in a while. Take a break from your bar exam prep and let your mind rest. Think about it, when you work out, if you keep working your muscle it'll never grow. You need to work out and then rest, giving your muscle time to recuperate. Your brain is the same. I'm not saying take a week off, but I am saying try to set aside a few hours in the day to read leisurely, watch a TV show, take a walk in a park, garden, really whatever makes you smile. Time will fly by quickly. Put in the effort now so you don't have to think twice on the day of your exam.

Happy Studying!