On the other hand, a mathematician he knew was able to do lots of mental things while counting that Feynman couldn't, and wasn't able to do other mental things while counting that Feynman could, because the other guy counted visually.
I picked an ordering of foods and imagined the transition from one to the next.
Touch is easier, since the ordering is already there. Just look at your fingers and imagine a sensation in each finger as you count. Easiest is to actually move your fingers though.
When I'm writing, I can't listen to music with lyrics or podcasts. That's not too surprising, since I'm obviously using the parts of my brain related to processing language for my work, so I can't process language in the background.
When I'm doing grunt-level programming or debugging, I can listen to music with words or podcasts.
But when I'm doing architecture-level program design, I can't listen to music with lyrics or podcasts. For me, this kind of thinking is too similar to writing.
In it he points out how some people with Alzheimers or other degenerative brain damage can use familiar music to co-ordinate a sort of 'flow' a rhythm of activity.
When I am coding it is like this. I can put on a familiar record that know back to front and then suddenly it is over and I haven't heard any of it but it has marshalled my flow for me.
Put on an unfamiliar playlist or a 'radio' style thing from last.fm (or the radio even) where I don't know what is going to be played next) and it trashes my flow.
So to get stuff out of Spotify I have to make and learn playlists (as it trashes the order of all the LP's which I have burnt into my head from years of listening to them on vinyl....)
Trying to count visually is almost impossible, I lose track before reaching twenty. As a friend of mine put this, “I can't count sheep to sleep because they are always cheating.”
Ask yourself, "how do I know I am breathing?": there is some physical sensation that tells you that you're breathing, whether it's a whistling noise in your nose, the feeling of air rushing past the tip of your nose or the back of your throat, the feeling of wanting to return to the neutral position that your ribs give you during a deep breath.
For a lot of people, just one of these sensations is the most dominant one. If you can pick one, just lie quietly and concentrate on it and notice it every time you take a breath.
This process is more about noticing sensation than doing any kind of cognition, so I find it very useful when trying to take a mid-day nap (I haven't had trouble sleeping at the end of the day since I had children, funny that).
"mind racing before sleep"? If you smoke, try not to smoke at least 1 hr before you go to bed.