In today’s modern, fast-paced world with a thousand different things going on around us, it can be difficult to stay focussed. Add to that the fact that many of us have diets and lifestyle habits which aren’t exactly conducive to peak mental performance, it is not surprising that an increasing number of people are interested in finding out about natural way to improve focus and concentration.
Fortunately you don’t have to turn to exotic nootropics to bring your thoughts into clearer focus and enhance your cognitive and executive functioning. There are many natural ways to stay sharp and improve focus and concentration, ranging from simple dietary and lifestyle changes to herbal supplements, to alternative therapies. Let’s take a look at a few of these natural approaches and boost your productivity, protect your brain, and improve your overall wellbeing.
Nutrition and Diet
Your diet has a huge impact on your mental agility and ability to focus. Fill your plate with these healthful, nutrient-rich foods, and you’ll be giving your brain with everything it needs to work at its best.
1. Get enough omega-3s:
Omega 3s are a type of essential fatty acid which play a key role in preserving brain health with research showing that they’re highly effective at reducing “brain effort” relative to cognitive performance. Include foods like flaxseed and oily fish like salmon and sardines which are both high in omega-3 fatty acids.
2. Eat the Rainbow:
Antioxidant nutrients like vitamins C, E, flavonoids and carotenoids found in brightly colored fruit and vegetables may help slow the rate of cognitive decline – the set of mental abilities associated with processes like attention, memory, and problem-solving.
3. Drink Coffee:
Compounds in coffee other than just caffeine can stimulate the brain’s internal anti-oxidant system, also helping to improve cognitive function and reducing age-related cognitive decline.
4. Eat Dark Chocolate:
Dark chocolate contains a high concentration of epicatechin which is linked to improvements in cognition. It does this by helping new blood vessels and neurons develop and grow as well as cause positive changes in neuron morphology, mainly in regions involved in learning and memory.
5. Green Tea:
Drinking green tea may enhance learning and memory while improve cognitive function – especially as we get older.
Although your diet can go a long way in boosting focus and concentration, you can give your brain that extra boost by adding in some brain healthy herbal supplements.
Daily intake of the herb rosemary may boost cognitive performance and sharpen memory, while sniffing the essential oil can boost your memory.
3. Ginkgo Biloba:
Ginkgo biloba has been shown to boost cognitive function in both younger and older people. Ginkgo seems to especially boos working memory.
One placebo-controlled study found 4500 mg of red ginseng a day for two weeks can improve reaction times and brain power.
Making a few changes in your lifestyle while adding in a couple of new behaviors can be highly beneficial for naturally boosting your focus and concentration every day.
1. Get Enough Sleep
There is a ton of research showing that sleep deprivation can have a profoundly negative impact on cognitive function, including damaging effects on focus and memory. Getting your bedroom sleep ready with blockout curtains, a comfortable mattress and some nice breathable sheets. Also consider getting air cleaning plants to improve air quality.
2. Never Skip Breakfast
Studies show that a nutrition-adequate breakfast, compared with a nutrition-inadequate breakfast or no breakfast, significantly improves short-term cognitive function. A diet rich in nutrient dense foods and the foods discussed above, keeps your blood glucose levels steady throughout the day and nourishing your brain for peak cognitive performance.
3. Get Some Exercise
Exercise not only gets serotonin levels up which can help increase focus, but a recent study also suggests that walking at least six miles per week may preserve memory while regular exercise helps fight aging-related shrinkage in brain size.
4. Manage Your Stress
It’s no secret that trying to stay focussed while you’re stressed out is a bit like trying to catch a fish with your bear hands – illusive at best. In order to stay focused and sharp, it’s vital to incorporate stress relieving practices into your daily routine.
5. Do 20 Minutes of Meditation Daily
Speaking of stress relieving practices, meditation not only helps reduce stress but researchers found that a 20-minute per day meditation training for five days can help improve attention, as well as lower anxiety, fatigue, anger, and depression.
6. Take Up Tai Chi
A review of several previously published studies shows that starting practicing tai chi may help improve attention, memory, and other measures of cognitive ability in healthy adults.
7. Limit Your Screen Time
Keep your screen time to as little as possible. Not only does the blue light from computer screens and smartphones interfere with your circadian rhythms which can cause insomnia, but research shows that it can actually cause changes in your brain. Multiple studies have shown atrophy (shrinkage or loss of tissue volume) in gray matter areas as well as loss of integrity to the brain’s white matter amongst other things.
There will always be days when focus and concentration is an illusive beast. But with these natural ways to improve focus and concentration you can get back on track quickly and boost your productivity. Have you tried any of these tips or do you have some of your own? Share them in the comments section below.
DISCLAIMER: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Consult with a physician if you have a serious medical condition or use prescription medications. A doctor’s advice should always be sought before before embarking on any new treatment.