Boosting Your Brain Performance
Our brains are bogged down with task after task, day after day. Here are a few tips on keeping mentally fit!
In today's society, we need to be able to work efficiently, creatively and with focus. In order to keep up this performance, our brains need to stay fit! Fortunately, everyone can make little changes to stay in top shape. Here are a few tips for keeping your mental processes up to snuff!
"Mens sana in corpere sano" is the Latin phrase that means "a healthy mind in a healthy body". The ancient Romans knew that physical health and mental health go hand in hand.
Exercise is key to good cognitive performance.
When you don't move around, your pulse gets sluggish, and your body pumps less blood and less oxygen to the brain. This is why cardiovascular activities are important for mental health, or any type of endurance sports.
Stress hormones in the body keep us from thinking clearly. Cortisol makes us feel impulsive increases the likelihood of overreaction. This is very bad for good performance. To stay in top mental shape, actively address stressors in your life.
The more focused we work, the better our mental performance. Staying focused is a discipline that can be practised. It helps to:
- eliminate all distractions
- work alone
- work in a quiet environment
The better your diet, the better your brain performance. The brain needs fuel to perform. Therefore, a balanced, varied diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits and whole grains is generally the best. Avoid processed foods and fast foods to help the brain stay in shape.
We are mostly made of water, so it's no wonder that we don't function well when we are dehydrated. Drinking two or more litres of water a day is recommended. Unsweetened tea and still water are most recommended for staying hydrated.
During sleep, the brain releases various toxins that accumulate during the day. If we do not get enough sleep, these metabolic wastes remain in the brain. As a result: the brain can not work properly and we feel even more tired. For this reason, we should try to get seven to eight hours of quality sleep each night. It is best to sleep in a cool, quiet and completely dark room.
Sleep also helps us process new information, so if we want to get ahead at work or at school, sleep is key!
Even when we make a mental note of things we should remember, sometimes information slips through the cracks. So rather than letting your brain do all the work, take down notes of important things to remember to help your brain out.
In addition, notes create space in the head. When we write things down we leave valuable space free for new thoughts.
The brain thinks in pictures and is a huge association machine. With the help of mnemonic techniques, which take advantage of these principles, one can remember information much faster than usual. These are worth giving a try!
When we get creative in our free time, it is easier to let the mind roam to find creative, witty solutions to problems. Furthermore, creative activities provide an excellent balance to our stressful jobs or worklives.
With all the effort we exert and all the many hats we wear, we sometimes forget to take a break. Our brains need regular periods of idleness to come down from working full speed. If we forget to take breaks, our cognitive performance decreases.
Leave the comfort zone
As we age, the brain gets used to patterns of thought. To stay sharp, we need new experiences and new challenges. Tasks that frustrate us, tire us out and push our boundaries are great for the brain.
Crossword puzzles, Sudokus and such are nice practice, but only really strenuous things tasks help us long term. Learning a new language, a new musical instrument, a new type of dance - anything that frustrates us at first is worth it!
Some of these ideas are small, some are big, but no matter which options you choose, just getting started helps!