Before you get started, it’s important to understand the following, first:
Your mood, motivation, and focus rely on your brain’s ability to produce chemical messengers called neurotransmitters.
Your Brain uses these messengers to help it communicate to the rest of your body how it should respond to specific situations.
Imagine yourself in the jungle stumbling upon a tiger...
Your body rapidly fills with an immense supply of energy. Your heart beats faster. Your vision narrows in on the potential threat with laser-like focus.
Your body is preparing to either fight against the danger or to find the quickest passage to safety. In either case, you’ll need as much energy and precision as humanly possible to survive the next 5 seconds.
The increase in energy you’re feeling is a natural chemical reaction at play within your body. Your brain produced an extra supply of an excitatory neurotransmitter called epinephrine (better known as adrenaline) and rapidly distributed it throughout the rest of your body using your bloodstream.
This extra supply of adrenaline will give you the energy you need to make it through the next 5 seconds...
Now, we’re not tiger-survivalist experts, but we do understand how the brain works.
Fortunately, if you’re reading this article, you’re not face-to-face with a tiger in the thick of a jungle. However, you may be facing a scenario where you could benefit from your brain doing you a solid by stimulating the production of the neurotransmitters responsible for making you more productive.
Meet those neurotransmitters:
Acetylcholine: responsible for producing focus, clarity, and memory.
Dopamine: which controls being in a good mood and motivation.
The following tips will help influence your brain to produce an extra supply of Acetylcholine and Dopamine.
Get up and move! Those of us who sit at a desk all day long are prone to lose focus and mental clarity (not to mention suffer from back problems). It’s important that we keep physically active to maintain healthy circulation to power our brains. The next time you hit a mental energy slump, try running in place to get your heart rate up and to increase oxygen and blood flow to your brain. You may even take a brisk, 10-minute walk around your building. Another great way to stimulate your brain is to keep a yoga mat handy wherever you go, so when brain fatigue strikes, you can stop, drop, and do some yoga poses, push-ups, or sit-ups.
A quick, 10-minute exercise can be more than enough to refresh your brain and has been shown to enhance focus, decision-making, and problem-solving. It can also boost your mood and energize you. Studies have shown that patients who maintained a healthy level of exercise scored better on tests than those who didn’t. (1) Moderate-intensity exercises, like cycling, jogging, or jumping jacks, showed longer-lasting results. (2) Another study showed that high impact running improves learning ability specifically. (3) The best improvement in cognitive performance and accuracy was seen after 20 minutes of moderate intensity exercise. (4)
Eat your protein! Some high-protein sources are eggs, meat, beans, peas, and nuts. Studies show that your diet choices can greatly affect your mental function. This means that if you want a reliable brain all day, that convenient bowl of sugary cereal won’t cut it for breakfast. Make sure to get adequate protein in your meals, and maybe even keep some handy for snacking throughout the day. Protein is your go-to when you’re having trouble focusing or feeling distracted. High-protein foods is linked to alertness. (5)
Another perfect snack is a handful of fatty nuts, like walnuts, pecans, almonds, or macadamia nuts. Eating nuts regularly can actually strengthen brain waves associated with cognition, learning, memory, and other brain functions. (6)
One important thing to avoid, especially when life calls for a high-functioning brain, is sugar. This means pastries, high-carbohydrate food like bread, pasta, or pizza, and even sugary drinks like soda pop or flavored coffee. According to a study by UCLA, sugar can sabotage learning and memory. (7)
Forget staying up late, cramming for tests! Routine quality sleep is an absolute necessity when it comes to brain function. When we sleep, our brain works to process everything we’ve experienced throughout our day. Sleep plays a crucial role in memory and learning ability (8).
For the best results, you should be getting 7-9 hours of sleep every night. (9) If you have trouble sleeping, be sure to mention it to your doctor, and ask about some natural sleep remedies to try.
Sometimes, all you need to do is play in some dirt! It’s true. Naturally occurring soil bacteria can improve learning and decrease depression and anxiety. (10) How do you reap the benefits of these bacteria? By going outside and taking a deep breath. You’re bound to ingest some beneficial bacteria this way if not just good old brain-boosting oxygen.
Just seeing nature is enough to stimulate our minds. In one US study, people who walked around in a garden did 20% better on a memory test than those who walked around in the city. Even looking at photos of nature can improve mental function. In a study done at Hiroshima University in Japan, students who spent several minutes looking at cute pictures of animals performed about 44% better during mental testing than the students who didn’t! (11)
Great habits like the ones above are ideal for stimulating the brain. That being said, a few other quick tips to stimulate brain function are quitting brain-damaging habits, like smoking, drugs, or binge-drinking (13), having a meditation or mindfulness practice (14), solving challenging puzzles or problems (15), and avoiding stress (16). These changes may seem insignificant, but the science surrounding their benefits on mental health is vast.
Most importantly, don’t be too hard on yourself. Everyone struggles with mental fatigue. That’s why we all have to eat well, exercise, sleep, spend time in nature, and do whatever else we can to keep our brains in tiptop condition. All we can do is try our best with what we’ve got. Believe in yourself and in your abilities, even when you’re overwhelmed, and you will most likely succeed. Science says so. (17)
"Okay, this is great and all, but...
a) These are basic. I was already aware of these practices and am even doing some if not all of them...
b) It's not that I don't want to do these things - it's that I don't have the time to do them.."
Then, you're not alone. It is for these reasons (and many others) we created, BrainJuice...
These tips are designed to offer an easy solution for a quick mental boost. If you are looking for something more sustained and effective, you have to activate multiple neurotransmitters at once. BrainJuice utilizes12 scientifically-proven nutrients, amino acids, and vitamins to enhance focus, memory, and mood. This concentrated drink was created to stimulate your brain and supercharge your productivity. It is a simple solution to help anyone focus on what is important to them. Get more done quicker, so you can focus on what really matters to you!
To learn more about BrainJuice and what it's designed to do for your brain, check out our science page by click here!
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