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Find your way around your mind

Mind mapping is one of the simplest, yet most powerful tools a person can have in their creativity toolbox. It is a non-linear way of organising information and a technique that allows you to capture the natural flow of your ideas. A mind map is essentially a multi-coloured and image-centered radial diagram that represents connections between portions of learned material. It is extremely helpful for a range of tasks such as writing memos, preparing a meeting agenda or trying to get a bird's eye view of a complex project. The maps can be drawn by hand either as 'rough notes' - for example, during a lecture or meeting - or they can be more sophisticated in quality. There are also a number of software packages available for producing mind maps. Graphic organisers similar to the mind map have been in use for centuries, mainly for learning, brainstorming, memory, visual thinking, and problem solving by educators, engineers, psychologists and people in general. However, the claim to the origin of the mind map has been made by a British psychology author, Tony Buzan. He claimed the idea started forming as he wrote An Encyclopedia of the Brain and its Use in 1971. He argues that 'traditional' articles rely on the reader to scan left to right and top to bottom, whilst what actually happens is that the brain will scan the entire page in a non-linear fashion. He also uses popular assumptions about the cerebral hemispheres in order to promote the exclusive use of mind mapping over other forms of note making. Radiant Thinking is at the very heart of mind mapping. It means "to spread or move in directions from a given centre" and refers to our associative thought processes. It is the natural and automatic way which all human beings have functioned. Mind mapping is really a tool to capture and develop our natural thought process. Though drawn on a two dimensional page, mind mapping represents a multidimensional reality that encompasses space, time and colour. They may be enhanced and enriched with colour, pictures, codes and dimension to add interest, beauty and individuality. These in turn aid creativity, memory and specifically the recall of information. The maps help you to make a distinction between your mental storage capacity and efficiency. Storing data efficiently multiplies your mind's capacity. It is like the difference between a library with or without an organised system of retrieval. Tony Buzan claims that mind mapping has many applications in personal, family, educational, and business situations, including note-taking (a modified variant of brainstorming) summarising, revising and general clarifying of thoughts. For example, one could listen to a lecture and take down notes using mind maps for the most important points or keywords. One can also use mind maps as a mnemonic technique or to sort out a complicated idea. Claims have also been made - including in some advertising for mind mapping software and literature - that managers and students find mind mapping to be useful, because the techniques have made them better able to retain information and ideas. There have also been more outlandish claims that mind mapping can help a person find the perfect lover, combat bullying, persuade clients, develop intuitive powers, create global harmony, and tap the deeper levels of consciousness by using mind mapping techniques. Here are some guidelines for making the perfect mind map. Start in the centre with an image of the topic, using at least three colours. Use images, symbols, codes and dimensions throughout your mind map.Select key words and print using upper or lower case letters. Each word/image must be alone and sitting on its own line. The lines must be connected, starting from the central image. The central lines are thicker, organic and flowing, becoming thinner as they radiate out from the centre. Make the lines the same length as the word/image. Use colours - your own code - throughout the mind map. Develop your own personal style of mind mapping. Use emphasis and show associations in your mind map.Keep the mind map clear by using radiant hierarchy, numerical order or outlines to embrace your branches.So the next time you're taking notes or preparing that huge presentation for work, try using mind maps to increase your stimulation and unleash a never-ending torrent of memory-boosting ideas.

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Will men ever embrace the spa experience

2/4/2011

Spas have become as much part of a woman's life as Chablis and Chanel, even in these cash strapped times a facial or massage is a treat for us equivalent to our mothers going for a shampoo and set. Yet men - despite the Becks effect which encouraged them to embrace moisturiser and, yes, even comb their hair once in a while - seem as doggedly against the spa as ever before. There are hundreds of reasons why your average lad avoids these places like the plague (unless dragged along by a girlfriend intent on be-robed romance): from the girls on the reception desk, who most men are convinced are giggling at them, to the downright fear that their naked flesh being touched by a woman or, heaven forbid, a man may cause erm…unwanted side-effects. Many men, perhaps more used to the footballers favourite sports massage, compare your average pummelling to being tickled by a feather. Less enjoyment than buttock clenching embarrassment as the therapist works her way over your sensitive spots. And that's not even to mention the paper pants, too short robes and feminine choice of slippers which most spas hand out and most women now seem to embrace with the enthusiasm usually reserved for a new pair of Jimmy Choos. Then there are the less obvious annoyances. The wishy washy new age music, the smell of lavender and rose and other girly aromas, the whispering and the spa restaurants which appear to offer very little in the way of burgers and chips. It's enough to make even the most in-touch-with-his-feminine-side male go running for the nearest spit and sawdust pub showing football and serving Stella. Yet in other countries, and indeed in other times, the male species embraced and still embrace a good rub down. Though this may be less a cultural phenomenon than the fact that there's nothing in the least sissy about being thrown about the room by a sweaty, twenty-five stone Turk until your bones seem to have all the hardiness of a Stretch Armstrong doll.
Turkish Baths do exist in the UK but, more often than not, are accompanied by a slightly seedy atmosphere and the distinct feeling that you may not leave alive. However these are not the only option for a more manly spa experience. While most spas reserve a token two treatment space on their price list for the chaps, Elemis offer a wide range of relaxing and useful treatments for men while their day spas are simple in and out affairs, devoid of robes and all that sitting about with a cup of green tea. Even better is London's Gentlemen's Tonic, which has an old school vibe and, in addition to Reiki, Reflexology and massages, offers barbers shop favourites including the closest wet shave you're likely to find outside of Sweeney Todd's.

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