Just about everyone would like to be smarter.
If that’s not really possible, it’d be nice to boost brain power for better memory and quicker recall.
Research now shows that you can boost your brain power fairly quickly.
In fact, a UCLA research study from the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry shared that people can improve cognitive function and brain efficiency in only 2 weeks.
They did so with 4 lifestyle changes:
You can use these four steps to boost brain power, but you might want tips to instantly boost your brain power.
Not sure that’s possible? Read these quick and easy tips and give them a try, and you’ll see for yourself.
Can breathing improve brain function?
Well, consider this: our lives are full of constant distractions. We carry our phones everywhere, so we hear a ping or music every time we get a text, new message, new email, or our favorite Youtuber posts an update.
You get notifications from Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and work related alerts from group communication sites and interfaces.
That means that while we’re in the middle of doing something important, we might get a notification that completely breaks our concentration.
It makes your brain slow down and feel frazzled.
If you want to give your brain a rest and refresh it, use your breathing.
Take a few, slow, deep breaths. Sit comfortably, close your eyes, and focus on pulling in a breath for a count of 6.
Hold it for 2 seconds. Then slowly release until your lungs are completely empty.
You’ll feel calmer and more clear headed, and that boosts your mental clarity instantly.
Our brain uses routines and habits to make our life easier. We don’t have to think about how to brush our hair or use a fork.
We even drive to work on autopilot, not noticing which roads we take.
That helps us get more done because we don’t have to spend mental energy on simple tasks.
However, you can work your brain, and make it stronger, by doing things differently.
Take a different route to work or a friend’s house. Taking the road less traveled keeps your brain sharp.
Also try new things. When you experience something new, it stimulates your brain.
You actually build new neural pathways, thus increasing your intelligence level.
Try doing things with the opposite hand, like brushing your hair or teeth, or doing a simple chore.
You can see this in action, working backwards, in stroke or accident victims who have to re-learn how to do simple tasks like eating, sitting, walking, talking, and using utensils.
The brain builds new pathways, working around the old wounded parts of the brain, so that the person can function again.
The amazing thing is, many of us do this in life without ever realizing it.
Carly, a 30 year old taxi driver, was in an accident. She didn’t think she was hurt, but after a few weeks she felt dizzy here and there, sometimes feeling sick from it.
It took a while for her doctor to figure out that she had damaged her inner ear in the accident.
Her inner ear didn’t fix itself. Her brain made new pathways to work around the injury so she didn’t have balance and equilibrium problems.
The brain is pretty amazing. Use it to its full potential and challenge it, and you’ll reap the mental benefits.
We’re taught that multitasking is a desirable job trait.
The thing is, we’re not actually doing many things at once. Our brain is switching back and forth between the different things we’re trying to do.
We’re dividing our attention.
The truth is, if you were to do one task and complete it with all of your focus, and then complete the second task, you’ll finish before someone who is trying to do both tasks at once.
Research shows that multitasking reduces productivity by up to 40%.
Multitasking on cognitive tasks is equivalent to an IQ drop of 15 points.
One study found that participants who multitasked during mental tasks experienced IQ score declines similar to someone who stayed up all night or smoked marijuana.
So by “single tasking” instead of multitasking, you can be 15 points smarter.
And let’s face it: multitasking stresses you out.
It only takes 20 minutes of interruptions for people to feel significantly more stress, frustration, and pressure.
People feel pressured to work faster, causing more mistakes, when they’re getting interrupted and trying to multitask.
Studies have found that every time we pause work to check email, our heart rate and their levels of the stress hormone cortisol go up.
Stress is not good for the brain, mental clarity, or productivity
So give your brainpower a boost by doing one task at a time. You’ll get more done with better quality.
There are many studies that prove listening to classical or instrumental music can significantly enhance your ability to pay attention.
Listening to popular music might not give the same mental benefit, but it can calm and focus you.
Taking a music break at work can energize you, too.
It’s not coincidence that most offices play music or that we like to jam out to our favorite tunes in the car.
A study in the journal Cognition showed that people can maintain their focus much longer when their brains are given something else to think about every 20 minutes.
20 minutes is about how long our brains want to focus on one thing.
Neuroscientist Mark Waldman confirms this: “Our research has found that taking 2-3 breaks during each hour to consciously relax, stretch, meditate, or do something pleasurable –even for 10 seconds –will reduce stress, enhance your awareness, and significantly boost your concentration and productivity.”
Take short breaks every 20 minutes or so to recharge your attention. Use one of the other brain boosting tips during that break.
Now, if you’re in the zone, you might want to keep working, but don’t push it and fatigue your brain.
“The zone” is when you get so engrossed in your creative work that you don’t notice anything else. Time flies. Productivity goes through the roof.
Authors love this because they can suddenly write 1,000 words an hour, producing 10,000 words a day.
The zone helps you produce much higher quality work, too.
So when you feel it, go for it.
But on a normal basis, when you’re struggling to focus on work, take breaks to refocus and boost your brainpower.
One thing you can do on some of your breaks is to bust out some pushups or other exercise to get your blood pumping.
Exercise is by far one of the best things you can do for your brain.
Regular exercise increases brain function and enhances neurogenesis. This means that every time you exercise, you create new brain cells!
When you exercise, you get the added benefit of better attention for 2 to 4 hours afterwards.
Students with ADHD who participate in 20 minutes of moderate exercise can pay attention longer and even score better on tests.
It only takes 5 minutes of moving to increase blood flow to your brain and boost your attention.
So if you get stumped on something, jump up and get a few minutes of exercise.
It only takes a few minutes to play a memory game, and it’ll boost your brainpower for hours.
There’s games and even tricks you can do on a regular basis.
A few brain tricks include:
When you set something down, think about it: “I’m setting my keys on the table by the door.”
Or, “I’m setting my bag in the closet.”
That helps you recall where they’re at later.
When you greet people at work, at a party, or event, notice one thing about them:
Craig is wearing a purple stripe tie.
Cathy has a pearl necklace on.
Greg has a scratch on his neck.
Paying attention enough to notice a small detail will train your brain to remember more.
How many times do we leave a party and then try to remember someone’s name or who was there?
Do you have any idea what your partner was wearing today? Or what you wore yesterday?
If you notice a small detail about someone you’re meeting for the first time, you’ll remember their name better. (Katie has blue flecks in her brown eyes and very dark hair.)
You can find brain and memory games on apps, online, and just by trying to recall what people at work wore the day before.
Even after leaving the grocery store, try to remember one detail about someone.
It’s amazing how much we miss.
Remember to praise yourself for remembering things too, because that builds your memory practice.
Find ways to train your brain and you’ll notice a big boost in your brain power.
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