Boost your brain, mend your mind, and fine-tune your focus with these all-natural tips to improve concentration and conquer whatever the day throws your way.
We’ve all been there before. You have an important presentation requiring lots of preparation, but all you can seem to do is think about the errands you need to run after work. Or, you’ve been trying your hardest to come up with the right words for your thesis paper, but your energies are focused on scrolling through your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter feeds.
Living in multi-sensory and multi-tasking world means we can all get caught off guard a time or two (or ten), but with these tips for improving your concentration, you’ll find enjoyable ways to boost your brain power quickly and naturally.
1. Essential Oils
If you’re brain is feeling a bit frazzled, experts believe that sniffing certain scents will improve your ability to concentrate and focus. Rosemary essential oil is not only thought to be an immunity booster, but a brain stimulant, too! Base Formula recommends vaporizing this oil with grapefruit or peppermint (another good cognition booster) for a creative boost or mental fatigue aid. If you’re pregnant or suffering from epilepsy, skip the rosemary and try eucalyptus instead.
2. Eat These Foods
It’s easy to grab take-out during your lunch hour, but try to brown bag it, or at least search for plant-based options. Some of the best foods to consume that are thought to boost mental acuity are: avocados, beets, blueberries, coconut oil, dark chocolate, green leafy veggies, olive oil, and walnuts. Sounds like the recipe for a super delicious, antioxidant-rich salad to me! Throw in some extra meat-free protein options, like tofu or quinoa for well-balanced brain food.
3. Social Media Shutout
Shutting down the social media and other distractions from the web will help with everyone’s concentration, including those who suffer with ADD and ADHD. When you’re splitting your mental time among multiple tasks, and one of those includes a responsibility, then the other more enjoyable tasks are bound to win, thus causing greater distraction and less focus. When trying to complete something important, turn off the apps, or rid yourself of social media accounts altogether–some experts believe your career could depend on it.
If you prefer to swallow your way to improved concentration, then there’s a natural vitamin or supplement for that. WebMD suggests ginkgo biloba to boost cognition, which is believed to work by thinning the blood and thereby improving oxygen flow to the brain. Apparently even a slight lack of oxygen can thwart concentration. Additionally, ginseng and vitamin B6 are also believed to enhance memory, performance, and brain function.
5. Grab a Cup
Your favorite morning beverage can give you a caffeine boost during your afternoon slump, but experts caution to use the drink wisely. Try not to overdo your coffee consumption, or the high concentrations of caffeine can actually have the opposite effect. Caffeine is one of the fastest acting stimulants, and can do wonders for concentration when used judiciously.
6. Get Your Blood Flowing
Regular exercise has been shown to improve concentration in both children and adults. What’s truly fascinating is that a study with adult subjects who participated in a three-month aerobic exercise program were found to have formed new neurons and more diverse, interconnections between them. Not only does exercise seem to improve brain function, but it will also help ward off other neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and even ADHD.
7. Silence the Noise
Taking a few moments to sit in complete silence, including a departure from the thoughts and inner dialogue running through your head, is crucial to recharge your brain. uDancer, choreographer and author Twyla Tharp told the story of an opera singer who had to rest her vocal chords for three weeks by not speaking a word during those 21 days. She apparently enjoyed the silence and peace of mind it afforded her so much, that she made it an annual ritual. This “speaking diet” now comes highly recommended to creatives, or anyone in need of a cognitive boost, for meditation and other forms of quieting the mind have many benefits.
8. Turn-in Earlier
Although unfounded, a lack of sleep might be the root of all evils, especially concentration. There’s nothing quite like the blahs after waking up from poor or short-lived sleep. The more shut-eye you get every night, the greater your chances are of concentration well during the day.
If there’s one thing this season of “The Bachelor” taught us, it’s that nap time is always a good thing, even as an adult (#ThanksCorinne). If you can’t fit in more sleep at night, then take a 20 or 30 minute nap during your afternoon slump and you’ll likely wake up refreshed and ready to conquer what’s left of your day.
10. Have a Singular Focus
Multi-taskers, listen up! The brain’s ability to focus on multiple tasks at once, whether computer-related or tangible, is not efficient for prolonged periods of time. Your adrenaline can only boost your ability to juggle multiple things for so long before it eventually burns out, so it’s important to implement a habit of singular focus.
One concentration recommendation is the Pomodoro technique. It starts by removing all distractions from your area and getting comfy. Then, it instructs you to set a timer for 25 minutes and muster up all of your focus to concentrate on the one singular task at hand for the full 25 minutes. If you stray, that’s alright, just refocus your mind. And when the timer goes off, take a break. The writer who shared this technique swears by its efficacy, especially for the things she really loathes, like taxes. Blech.
Now that you have the tools, go out there and take back your cognition with these all-natural concentration-boosting methods! Share your thoughts on the EcoSalon Facebook page!
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