As I age, I’m finding I have a shorter attention span and my memory sure isn’t what it used to be. I suspect this may be connected to being peri-menopausal, but I’m hoping there’s some way I can regain some of my mental capacity! Our daughter is in Year 12 and studying for her Higher School Certificate this year, so I thought it would be a great time to research how to improve brain power – both hers and mine!
My initial research has revealed there are a number of ways you can allegedly increase concentration, mental focus and memory, such as:
Dietary supplements such as Fish Oil (Omega 3 Fatty Acids), Gingko Biloba, CoQ10 and Turmeric are purported to have positive effects on memory and concentration.
Increase Intake of Vitamins and Minerals
A number of sources suggested the following vitamins and minerals may also help with improving brain function:
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B12
- Niacin – Vitamin B3
- Vitamin D
Get Adequate Rest
Ensuring you get enough sleep and rest is essential for reaching peak mental performance. Fatigue often leads to a lack of concentration and increased procrastination.
Exercise Your Body
We know that physical exercise expends energy, but it also helps us to sleep better, which in turn assists with the functioning of our body and brain. Exercise also increases blood flow to the brain. Even exercising for as little as 20 minutes can facilitate information processing and memory function, according to a study undertaken by the Department of Exercise Science at the University of Georgia.
Exercise For Your Mind
Learning something new and challenging can help improve your cognitive function. Experts suggest learning a language or a completely new way of doing a routine activity will help your brain establish new neural pathways, which in turn helps ward off ageing.
There are a number of brain training apps such as Lumosity, CognitFit Brain Fitness and many others, plus activities such as crosswords, Sudoku, jigsaw puzzles and brain teasers, which some experts say help maintain or improve your mental capacity. The more we exercise our “mental muscle”, the stronger it becomes, just like our physical body does when we work out. If it’s been a while since you did any mental exercise, try starting out small, say one minute at a time, then repeat and build up to several minutes each day.
Many people swear by meditation as a means to increase focus and improve brain power. By focusing on the breath and emptying the mind of thoughts, meditators report an increased ability to concentrate after their meditation session.
Eat a Healthy Diet
By consuming a balance diet rich in essential nutrients, you increase your physical health and have a much greater chance to improve brain power.
Focus on One Thing At a Time
Successful multi-tasking is a myth. Our brains are overloaded with a multitude of tasks which we’re trying to juggle simultaneously – most often without success.
According to neuroscientist and author Dr Daniel J. Levitin, “Multi-tasking is one of the most damaging illusions of the internet age.” He believes multi-tasking doesn’t really exist, it’s an illusion! Dr Levitin says, “We’re doing all these things at once, but the brain doesn’t work that way. All of that switching comes at a neurobiological cost. It depletes essential neuro resources that you need for actually doing things and thinking things.”
Challenge: Try doing things one at a time – let me know how that works for you.
Having a positive attitude toward your maximising your mental capacity can help increase concentration and focus. “What you think, you become.”
That’s my list of suggestions to help improve brain power so far. Let me know if you’ve tried anything else that works for you. I’d love to hear your thoughts – please leave a comment below.
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