As we go through the day we kind of rely on our brains. It’s our brains that do the thinking and as a result it’s our brains that dictate whether we do sterling work or whether it’s sub-par. It’s our brains that make us switched on and witty or slow and unintelligent, so likewise they will dictate the first impressions that people have of us. It’s our brains that make us forget our keys or remember them, and it’s our brains – when on top form – that help us to make creative solutions to problems so that we solve then quickly and efficiently or even come up with something great and game changing.
Frustrating then, when we know that our brains are capable of more but they just don’t want to play ball and are acting slow and groggy. If you don’t feel quite ‘with it’, and don’t feel quite switched on, then you can find yourself struggling to think clearly and certainly at a loss for any genius ideas. If only there was a way to switch your brain back on – to rejuvenate it and to give it a boost in energy and performance. If only there was some way to kickstart your brain…
Well, as the title of this article suggests there is a way, and in fact there are several ways. Following are a list of suggestions for how to boost your brain into working better and to get more from it. Clear away the brain fog, and start feeling productive, innovative and inspired again.
Drink Some Caffeine
Caffeine has its bad points, but when it comes to kickstarting the brain you can’t complain and you’ll find that it gives you a real boost as it stimulates your body to produce adrenaline and to speed up your heart rate. Many people swear by caffeine as a way to kickstart their brains in the morning. If you’re worried about health effects, then drink green tea which still has caffeine in it and which will provide you with antioxidants.
Fresh air and sunlight can really help to boost your mental performance. The fresh air will be invigorating in your lungs and the higher oxygen content will help you to get more oxygen to your brain and so invigorate it. At the same time the sunlight will stimulate the production of hormones associated with wakefulness and by the same measure will stop the production of sleep hormones such as melatonin – this is after all a natural cue that our body uses to regulate its body clock. Finally the warmth you will feel will directly warm your head and your brain and this is a very rejuvenating feeling.
Exercise increases blood flow and so oxygen flow around the body helping to get more of both to the brain. It also triggers the release of many chemicals which help with mental function and neurotransmission. In fact exercise has been shown to help us to improve our recall, and is one of the only ways you can trigger neurogenesis – the production of new brain cells.
Nicotine, famously found in tobacco and cigarettes, is actually very good as a mental boost which is partly what makes it addictive. If you take in nicotine it will again improve neurotransmission immediately and will improve your memory. At the same time though it is also highly addictive and you can become dependent on it. This isn’t as bad if you’re using a nicotine gum, but it’s still an expensive habit that can lead to smoking. So use very much with caution (it also tastes pretty bad).
If you’re wrestling with sleep, then sometimes a short power nap can help you to feel more awake and can brush away the cobwebs on the old cortex. However at the same time it can also have the opposite effect and make you feel more groggy, so handle with caution and make sure to do it correctly and be strict when the alarm goes off.
Feed and Hydrate
Like the rest of your body your brain needs water and carbs to run efficiently. By eating and drinking then you can supply it with the fuel necessary for it to operate. Something like a banana is a great form of complex carbs that also contains vitamins and minerals and will give you a slow release of energy (avoid simple carbs like sugar or cake which create a spike in energy and then a sudden drop). Drink an isotonic drink for best effect which has the same sugar and salt content as your blood helping to replenish those vital substances.
Sometimes a lack of inspiration and mental prowess will come from the fact that we are bored stiff with what we’re doing – never conducive to our best work. What you need to do then is to give your brain something exciting to work on. Either take a short break to play a challenging computer game, or find a way to make the work you’re doing more creative and challenging (the better option). You’d be surprised at how you can make the most mundane tasks interesting. Think about how quickly you sober up in a crisis, and you’ll realize the ability of the brain to wake up when it has to.
Guarana is a great herb often used in the place of caffeine in many energy bars and drinks. Its great benefit lies in the fact that it is a stimulant that nevertheless does not interfere with your sleep and doesn’t cause jitters and headaches as caffeine can.
Take a second out and breath more deeply. Your brain needs oxygen to run and by inhaling and exhaling fully you can help your body to be more efficient at supplying just that.