Mental health is one of the most overlooked areas in a person’s lifestyle.
Like the rest of your body parts, the brain is an organ and can malfunction at any given time. The thing is, our brains literally control the rest of our body parts, and if it somehow stumbles upon a problem, the rest of our system is affected. It can affect our way of living, rate of productivity, level of motivation, and more.
With the advent of technology and the seemingly increasing number of highly “gifted” people, life can sometimes put us down and make us think that things are not worth accomplishing anymore. However, that’s only your brain malfunctioning! You'll definitely accomplish more in life and experience greater happiness overall if you can become a glass-half-full kind of person.
Indeed, with the right mindset and healthy mental well-being, we can accomplish anything.
Don’t know where to start? Start by picking out a couple of brain exercises and mental productivity tips below!
If you somehow find yourself struggling mentally, a little social activity will help. Meet up with friends and family and spend quality time with them. Go on dates, take fun couple photos, or participate in community events. Doing this will trigger your brain to produce more serotonin and/or oxytocin, or “happy hormones”, that will make you feel better than ever.
Break a sweat and go for a jog or bike. Exercising has been found to boost brain size and improve areas that are responsible for memory and learning. You will find yourself becoming more physically fit, and as an added bonus, your dopamine levels, or another “happy hormone”, will increase as well.
Improve Sleep Patterns
A proper sleeping routine will make drastic improvements in your waking life. Don’t underestimate the power of a complete 8-hour night’s sleep, or a 10-minute power nap during the day. Having a fixed sleep pattern will also make it easier for you to remember your dreams upon waking up, improving learning, memory, and brain performance in the long run.
Sometimes, we get caught up and feel stuck with all the workload and the looming reminder of that to-do list you haven’t ticked yet. It helps to meditate at least 10 minutes a day to relieve stress, anxiety, and even depression, so that you will be able to accomplish the important things that require your full concentration. Meditating has a plethora of benefits for your brain, including improved concentration, increased happiness, and increases self-awareness.
At some point in our lives, we have written daily journals, or short stories, or even poems. Little did we know, writing is considered one of the best brain exercises there is. It doesn’t have to be a Pulitzer piece. Any type of writing will improve memory and brain function, so don’t be afraid to pick up the pen, or start typing on your keyboard!
Listen to Classical Music
Music isn’t just a form of art. Did you know that it is also a tool to improve brain function? Multiple experiments and research have been done on how listening or playing classical music benefits the brain, and the results are surprising. Apart from alleviating physical pain and reducing stress, classical music promotes good sleep, reduce blood pressure, and boosts memory, all resulting to a productive mental health.
Laughter is the best medicine,” they say, and they’re not wrong! It has been proven that laughing makes your brain release endorphins, increasing your mood and generally bettering your mental health. It also strengthens your immune system and has a lot of positive effects on your physical health. There are things you can do to get that laughter going, like going to a comedy bar or watching a comedy film.
The brain is just like any other organ; it needs exercise. Try to multitask and slowly push yourself near the limit. This will train your brain to focus on more than one thing at once, and will improve concentration and the way it handles stress. However, too much and prolonged multitasking can be quite dangerous.
If you are already efficient in doing one task at a time, then it will also feel like you are multitasking since you finish a lot of tasks in a shorter amount of time.
Take a Mental Vacation
Guess what? This is the only vacation that doesn’t cost any money! Try and take a mental vacation and move away from things that stimulates and stresses out the brain. Whip out your favorite book, listen to your favorite music, browse photos from happier times, or even just simply look out the window. Doing this will relax your brain and improve its performance later when you need it up and running.
The secret to a happier and healthier mental health is being grateful. Spend a couple of minutes a day to take notice of things you should be grateful for, like having a roof over your head and eating 3 times (or more!) a day. This will effectively boost your mood and give you a more positive outlook on things. On your to-do list, replace “I need to…” with “I get to…” and see how it changes your perspective.
Practice Negative Visualization
If you’re naturally pessimistic, then you’re in for a surprise. Thinking ahead and expecting negative results can actually lead to a healthier brain, according to a philosophy called Stoicism. If expected the negative outcome from the get-go, then the mental stress you will experience will have lesser impact. It will also lower your expectations and will help you appreciate what you have now. Be careful not to be overly negative though!
Surround Yourself With Great People
According to a study, you become the top five people you spend most of the time with. So if you surround yourself with energetic and highly positive people that you vibe with, then you are likely to absorb their traits. Watch out for people who mentally abuse you, as they can cause extreme stress and may be endangering your mental health.
Positive thoughts equal positive feelings. Believe it or not, even when you are feeling down or not in a smiley mood at all, thinking happy thoughts can reverse this negative momentum and in a couple of moments, your mood will be improved. Merely forcing a smile can positively affect your mood, and if you have mastered this method, it gets easier and easier.
Declutter Your Mind
If you have thoughts and problems that are bothering you and have no control over, it’s best to put your mind off it. Decluttering your mind of unnecessary thoughts and worries will greatly improve your mood and mental function. It will help you focus on the things you actually have control over, and you will be able to perform better mentally.
To declutter your mind, you can write things down. Think of it as dumping everything in your head onto the paper, visualize it like throwing garbage into the bin.
Going outside and soaking up Vitamin D, also known as the “sunshine vitamin”, can improve your mood by a mile. Vitamin D helps fight various diseases, alleviates depression, and can even help you lose weight! If you work in an office for 8 hours a day, you will benefit from a daily sunshine break.
Something work-related isn’t fun anymore? Take a break, and do something you personally love and enjoy, like a hobby. Forget about work for a moment, and indulge yourself. Study shows that taking breaks and having fun actually make you more productive and get more work done.
Like decluttering your mind, decluttering your space can also boost mental productivity. Practice minimalism by only keeping the essentials, and getting rid of clutter. You can also follow Marie Kondo’s KonMari Method by letting go of things that don’t “spark joy”. Some people go the extremes, like actually not having any furniture at all, but you don’t have to go to that extent! A simple tidying up will surely help.
Focus on What’s in your Control
They say worrying is like riding a swing; you’re constantly moving but it’s getting you nowhere. Focusing on things that you have complete control over is healthier to your brain than worrying about things you can do nothing about. Breathe in, breathe out, and identify the steps you need to take to solve a problem. If you can’t solve it, forget about it, and let it sort itself out.
Pursue your Passions
Inspirational speeches everywhere always say this, and it’s not only inspiring, but also pretty helpful to your mental being. Take part in activities that align your passion professionally and personally. If your professional career involves doing something you are passionate about, then you are lucky! However, if that’s not the case, make sure to squeeze in a little bit of time doing something you love. It helps a lot to destress.
Take Responsibility for Your Emotions
No one can help your emotions but yourself. Emotions greatly affect our energy levels. When we are sad or depressed, our energy is low. But when we are happy, our energy levels go up. If we learn to control and take responsibility for our own emotions, we will be able to control our energies too. We will also be able to learn how to handle situations emotionally on our own without validation from other people, which is the case for most people these days.
Stressing about the past and the future causes so much anxiety. You may be thinking about things you could have done, or things that can possibly happen. Avoid this if you want a healthier mental wellness. Stay in the present, and stop thinking about the past as it is out of your control.
Set Daily Goals
Set realistic daily goals that you know you can realistically finish by the end of the day. You don’t have to dump all your tasks in one day. There are 6 other days in a week, so spread it out. If you are using a planner, it is easier to set daily, weekly, monthly, and even yearly goals. Learn how to organize your day so things are less stressful.
First Things First
The secret is to “eat the biggest frog” first. Eating the biggest frog in the morning, as Mark Twain said, will make you think that the worst part of your day is done and over with. So get the hardest task done first to ensure that the rest of your day is productive and mentally fulfilling.
Set Deadlines and Stick to Them
The greatest motivation is indeed deadlines. When there is a deadline set for a specific task or project, you are more inclined to finish it in time and be procrastination-free. Self-imposed deadlines can be a bit difficult, but one of your options is to discuss things with your boss or client and agree on well-spaced deadlines.
Break Tasks into Smaller Tasks
The reason why we procrastinate is because we are looking at a project or task in its entirety. While this doesn’t seem to bother other people, it can be really stressful and draining when thinking about a huge task. Try breaking big tasks into step-by-step tasks and do one small step at a time. If you are aiming to prepare a full-course meal by the end of today, start small, like listing ingredients or printing recipes. Most things aren’t as stressful as we make it to be.
Discover the potentials of your brain by exercising it through deep thinking. Think about a really complex topic, like a social issue, or even a conspiracy theory. Think of the hows and whys. This will train your brain to work to its full capacity. Most people do this when taking a shower or bath (also known as “shower thoughts”), or before bedtime. It’s entirely up to you when you do it, but spare a couple of minutes or hours in a day for it. It’s important!
Put Away Your Cell Phone
If the task doesn’t require the use of your cellphone, then it can be a huge distraction. We are so glued to our phones that we forget to do the things we need to do. Sometimes, social media notifications won’t just stop coming, so we keep on checking. The simple solution is to set it on silent and place it away from you while doing a task. This works effectively because your brain will only have to think about the task at hand, and not social media notifications.
For some people, multitasking can do more harm than good. If you feel like multitasking doesn’t really help improve your mental well-being nor your productivity, try doing one task at a time. Channel your focus on one thing before jumping to the next, so you are sure that you will be able to give your 100% every time.
Know Your Body Clock
Everyone has a different body clock. You might be geographically located in the USA, but your sleep cycle and body clock are in a whole different timezone. Understand and find out when your brain is most active and attentive, and adjust your tasks accordingly. If you are working with fixed work hours and it’s outside your comfortable hours, try to get a little brain boost by drinking coffee or tea.
Work in 90-minute Cycles
Working non-stop for 8 hours or more isn’t really helping your mental health. Research shows that we naturally only work effectively and efficiently for a 90-minute duration, and then we experience what they call a “brain fog” after that. A 20-minute break will ease this fog, and we can start another 90-minute work session with refreshed focus and concentration.
Take Short Breaks
We are humans, not robots, so it’s natural to feel tired after working on something for longer than our concentration allow us. So take short breaks whenever you feel stressed out or fatigued. If you have been sitting in front of a computer for a couple of hours, stand up and stretch for a bit, and try to look away from the monitor to rest your eyes.
Declutter Your Workspace
Like decluttering your mind, decluttering your space can also boost mental productivity. It has been studied that if there are too many unnecessary things in your field of view, it can decrease your focus and can negatively impact your productivity. Get rid of clutter by assessing your things, keep only the essentials in arms reach, put away the rest that you don’t normally use, and learn how to throw things away.
Use the Two-Minutes Rule
The “two-minutes rule” is basically doing something that takes a max of two-minutes right away and not leaving it for later. By applying this rule, you will be surprised at how much stuff you have accomplished in a short amount of time. This is because when you leave small tasks for later, they accumulate and will seem harder to complete. Avoid procrastinating a two-minute task, such as sending a quick email.
Have you ever started doing something and halfway through it, your brain just goes through a brain fog? Change things up and switch tasks whenever this happens. There’s only so much information a brain can handle before it needs to change topic. If you’re working on a big project, switch to small tasks from time to time so your brain doesn’t get sick of it.
Try The Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is one of the most famous and most effective time management tool. It was developed in the 1980s and was inspired by kitchen timers, hence the tomato-timer logo. Basically, you choose a task, work on it non-stop for 25 minutes, and then take a 5-minute break. Repeat and take longer breaks every 4 Pomodoros until the task is completed.
Forgo the GPS
Did you know that you can exercise your brain on your commute to work? You can do this by not using the GPS and trusting your memory when it comes to navigation. Scientists have confirmed that by depending too much on technology can do more harm than good to our brain function.
Visualizing your end goal may be helpful in learning new physical or mental abilities, especially if you are a visual-learner. Visualization maximizes the brain’s spatial-centers and improves learning and memory. Whenever you need to mentally take note or understand a concept or an idea, think of an image you can associate it with so you can easily recall it later on.
Ban the Calculator
In school, we were taught to do maths manually with paper, pen, and sometimes our fingers. We didn’t understand why we had to do it this way when we could use a calculator, but the educators have a good reason for this. Doing maths manually can improve our logic which we can apply to different situations in life, making us smarter. So try to ban the calculator and do calculations the old-style, traditional way.
Read More Books
Reading books is considered to be a way to destress, so if you aren’t really fond of reading books, it might do you good to try and start reading more. To ease into reading, start with books with topics you are interested in, or fiction books in a genre you like. When we read, we train our brains to imagine what is being said in our reading material, improving our imagination in the process.
Take Advantage of Your Commute
Time is gold, and once it passes, we can never bring it back. So use your time wisely, and take advantage of the time you spend commuting to and from work. Instead of endlessly scrolling on social media, aim to utilize and gain more knowledge using this somewhat idle time. Read a good book, or listen to a good podcast or audio book. Respond to emails, or plan important tasks. You can also download and learn from language learning apps such as Lingvist.
Listen to a Wide Variety of Music
To effectively heighten your focus when you are engaged in a task, simply put on some music. It can be any genre, as long as something is playing. It can help shut out any background noises, or if it’s too quiet, it can help you focus more on what you are doing. Different genres also have different effects on our minds, so explore and see what songs stimulate your brain.
Silence All Notifications
Everyday, we get hundreds of notifications on our phones or laptops from social media or messaging apps. We can get easily distracted with all the pings that we find ourselves checking what it is and completely neglecting our task. The best way to solve this distraction is to silence all notifications from both your cell phone and computer. This can be easily done in the settings of each app, or just simply put your phone on silent.
Improve Air Quality
The quality of air in our work environment has a significant impact in our mental health and work productivity. If it is humid and warm, we get all sweaty and irritated. On the other hand, if it is cool and breezy with a little bit of sunlight, we are more comfortable and our body will get the air circulation it needs for our brain to function properly.
Change Your Environment
If you are lucky and you work remotely, you have an opportunity to change your work environment. Changing your environment can positively impact the way you work, and how your brain functions and handles the workload. This is also the reason why coffee shops are sometimes jam-packed with people with their heads glued to their laptops working on something. The smell and taste of coffee, plus the ambiance of a chilled cafe, can get us going and working through our to-do list.
According to color psychology, the color blue sparks productivity and creativity and has an effect similar to a 240mg of caffeine. If you have a desk lamp with blue hue in your work area, it can help you get more things done. This is also the reason why looking at our mobile phones and laptops before bedtime makes it harder to fall asleep. The blue hue emitted by our gadgets keeps us awake.
If you want to get all techy and fancy, try the Neeuro Senzeband. Sometimes, the quick caffeine fix and the walking break don’t give us the boost we need anymore. The Neeuro Senzeband is an innovative product that will help us achieve a healthier and active brain even without coffee. Simply wear the headband and connect it to an app called the Neeuro Memorie and play games on it. Exercise the brain while having fun!
Soaking up Vitamin D, also known as the “sunshine vitamin”, can improve your mood by a mile. Vitamin D helps fight various diseases, alleviates depression, and can even help you lose weight! If you work in an office for 8 hours a day, you will benefit from a daily sunshine break. Try to also keep your blinds open during day time so you still get the Vitamin D that you need while chilling at home.
Get a Massage
We don’t even need to say this: get a massage! If you’re feeling super stressed out and needing a break from everything, a relaxing hour or two of full body massage at your local spa will do the trick. It is advised that you get a massage twice a month to encourage dopamine production in the brain, and, of course, to have some quality “me-time”. If you can get your partner to give you one, then that’s even better!
Get a Pet
According to an article by the MentalHealth.org.uk, having a pet to care for relieves so much mental stress and even alleviates symptoms of various mental disorders. Not to mention mental exercise is good for your pet too! It has been studied that dogs are good when it comes to encouraging you to exercise, and you merely stroking your pet can already have positive effects on the dopamine production in your brain. However, this only applies to fluffy and cuddly mammals such as cats, dogs, hamsters, rabbits, and the likes. Don’t try to cuddle with an iguana and expect similar results!
Listen to Mental Music
This might sound weird, but playing your favorite song in your head actually improves your mood and changes how the chemicals in your brain behave. It’s also the reason why when we’re in such a good mood, we start humming and mumbling words. Take advantage of this fact and “listen” to a song in your head when you’re feeling stressed or when your earphones aren’t working!
Write and Compose Music
Get inspired and write or compose your own music. You may have finished browsing the top songs chart and still haven’t found the song that speaks to you. It might do you good to just whip out your guitar or piano and start translating your emotions into words and chords. The combination of expressing your feelings and your mind plus the sound your instrument makes is a beautiful way to exercise your brain, and who knows, you might be the next musical genius after John Lennon!
Start a Mental Hobby
“Mental hobby” sounds intimidating, but really, it’s just a hobby that encourages your brain to work and focus! It can be from assembling puzzles or miniature figures, to fixing and tinkering with your car. If you already have a hobby that you are very passionate about, set aside time for it daily and watch your mental health improve.
Establish A Streak
Think of it as your personal high score or record. Pick something that you can track your progress on, and tick boxes or enter data as you go. The Bullet Journal method is famous for its collection called “trackers”. Basically, the Bullet Journal method is an analogue system of planning and organizing your life, including tracking certain routines, hobbies, sleep cycle, savings, and even small things such as the daily weather or the steps you have taken today.
Getting immersed and grooving to the music can help induce happy hormones in your brain. Merely listening to good music can do all sorts of wonderful things to our mood, so level it up and match it with kickass moves. Plus, as an added bonus, you get to sweat it out which is another way to encourage happy hormone production!
Take a Cold Shower
Cold showers aren’t that big in colder countries, and most people prefer that warm, comforting bath that feels as if they are being hugged. But a cold shower actually has a ton of benefits to our bodies, and this has been realized by people way back Roman times, when they used to believe that cold showers and baths make us stronger. Apparently, a quick shot of cold shower relieves depression, improves immunity, and keeps our skin and hair healthy. Or if you are really bothered about the cold, try a “Scottish Shower”, and start with warm water and finish with the cold.
Lose Some Weight
Exercising and losing weight are good ways to increase dopamine production in the brain, because being a little bit overweight actually reduces dopamine receptors, ergo lesser dopamine in your system. Moreover, when there is more dopamine, you will have more energy and motivation to keep on exercising and thus losing more weight. It’s the best cycle, and it’s also why people become addicted to working out! It’s a good kind of addiction.
Walk It Off
If you don’t have time for a proper workout, then choosing to walk whenever there’s a chance is already a good alternative. It may be difficult at first, but like all other things, your body will adjust, get used to it, and become stronger and healthier. Do your best to always opt to use the stairs instead of the elevator, and don’t worry too much about parking farther from the entrance of an establishment. Your body and brain will thank you later.
According to Family Therapist Virginia Satir, “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” Our brains produce a lot of oxytocin, a happy hormone, whenever our skin touches another, and that is why giving and receiving daily hugs (plus kisses!) is important and is in fact included in Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs.
Another way to train your brain and explore areas of it that you haven’t explored yet is to try to become an ambidextrous. Being an ambidextrous means that you essentially don’t have a “dominant” hand, and you are comfortable with doing your daily tasks using any of your hands. So take on the challenge and try to do things like brushing your hair or writing (if you want it extreme!) with your “wrong hand”.
Repair Broken Things
Oh no! Something suddenly breaks, and you’re lost. What do you do? Of course, you initially get stressed out, and look for the easiest solution, which is to buy a new one. But why not try a DYI solution first to fix it? Have a quick browse on YouTube and Google if you’re looking for instructions on how to repair things you use, and leave the purchasing a new one as a last resort. You hit two birds with one stone by saving money, and exercising that beautiful brain just by repairing it yourself!
Learning how to formally debate improves a lot of area in a person’s life. Critical thinking, logic, and thought articulation are improved drastically when you debate over a certain topic or issue. It can also make you realize that there many sides you have to take into consideration before coming up with a rebuttal, and so you will understand how to be careful with your words and stay composed even in the heat of a discussion.
Read Upside Down
Another brain boggle that will help improve your mental productivity is – believe it or not – reading upside down! Most of us have done this as kids, and little did we know that it’s an essential part of our brain development. Get creative and read texts upside down when there’s a chance.
Read and Write Backwards
Like reading upside down, your brain can be exercised by reading and writing backwards! For instance, instead of writing “apple”, you write “elppa”. You can also try “mirror image writing” where you write words in their mirrored version. It might be something you wouldn’t normally do, but just think about how effective this exercise is to your brain!
Learn a New Language
Learning a new language can not only improve brain function and activity, but can also open up new career opportunities and bring color to your personal life. Imagine being able to travel and communicating with the locals hassle free because you can speak their language. Wouldn’t that be a fun adventure? Try apps and programs like Duolingo and iTalki.
…with water. A lot of people assume that drinking sodas or juices is a substitute to drinking water. This is a misconception. Water is to our brain as fuel is to an engine. It keeps it running. Heck, our bodies are 60% water! So keep your engines running by staying hydrated. Getting a dedicated water bottle for this purpose will help. You can also download apps that remind you to drink water, like Aloe Bud or Plant Nanny.
Take Up Art
There are two sides of our brains: the left hemisphere, which we use for logic and reasoning, and the right hemisphere, for creativity and imagination. Our work tasks already usually utilize logic and reasoning, so it’s important that we also try to use our creativity and imagination as much as possible by doing little forms of art, like drawing and painting. You can also try adult coloring books, as they are known to relieve stress and anxiety by simply coloring and having some quiet time for yourself.
Some faiths already practice fasting for its spiritual, mental, and physical benefits, and here are reasons you should too! Fasting helps our bodies rid of toxins naturally, regulates blood sugar, improves blood pressure and cholesterol levels, aids weight loss, and boosts brain function among many others. There are many ways to fast, so make sure you practice one that is comfortable and safe for you.
Play Board Games
Challenge your brain with board games and mind-boggling puzzles such as Sudoku and Crossword. Using your brain to think of strategy and tactic will exercise it and will make you even smarter! There are also many benefits to this, including faster response time, improved memory, and that good feeling of beating an opponent or finishing a puzzle by yourself.
Mental Video Games
Casual video gamers have a higher level of eye and hand coordination compared to non-gamers, and this is because of their constant gaming which requires concentration, full focus, and fast response time. Gaming trains our brains to effectively handle even the most stressful situation, so maybe it’s time to look for an action game that might interest you!
Improve your mental health and quick thinking by trying your hands on public speaking. You can join public speaking clubs like the Toastmasters International and practice speaking in front of a crowd to build up your confidence. It also improves your communication skills and make you a better and efficient communicator, which will take the stress out of daily meetings and discussion because you can express your thoughts in an articulate way.
You know that hotline number of that pizza place you always forget? Or the shipping number of the product your just ordered online? Whatever useful information it is, if it isn’t as long as the value of pi (which is LONG), it might do you good to just memorize it instead of frantically looking for it whenever you need it. It exercises your brain to retain information and improves your memory in the long run, which is like, the BEST deal if you think about growing old and gray!
While hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a new and developing field, many have used it to achieve good results when facing otherwise incurable brain injuries. There is the amazing case of Eden Carlson who made nearly a full recovery from a completely atrophied brain. We have a list of over 200 case studies where people have experienced recovery with hyperbaric. And one of the commonly reported side effects of hyperbaric dives is improved executive function and a better sleep schedule. It is by no means affordable, compared to the other ideas on the list. But in-home soft chambers (without concentrated oxygen) can still deliver many of the benefits at a small fraction of the normal cost.
Stem Cell Therapy
Maybe you have suffered a recent traumatic brain injury that’s causing you too much stress and money, you just want it to stop. It’s possible that your doctors might have given you this option and you thought twice, but it might be good to try going through stem-cell therapy. It may be a little costly, but stem-cell therapy is known to successfully repair different kinds of conditions, such as bone, nervous, and muscle conditions.
Practice Lucid Dreaming
You’ve seen the movie “Inception” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, and this is exactly what we’re suggesting. If you have ever been aware that you are in fact dreaming, it’s called lucid dreaming. When we lucid dream, we are completely aware and are in full-control of our dreams. This is a good way to access parts of your brain that you don’t usually access in your waking life, and we all love having fun (because it’s so much fun).
Learning a new word a day is another hobby that you should pick up not only to expand your lexicon but to also improve your memory. Widening your vocabulary means you will have a huge library of words at your disposal when trying to express your thoughts and feelings, and effectively communicating what you are thinking is one of the best ways to lessen mental stress.
We all prefer to be entertained because it takes our minds off of stressful things in life. Opting for educational programs such as Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, National Geographic Channel, and the likes is still considered to be one of the best ways to unwind, because not only you are entertained, but also informed and educated. If those aren’t your thing, then you can try watching documentaries about a topic you’re interested in.
Learn to Sing
Who knew hitting the karaoke was a way to improve your mental productivity? Singing has been proven to boost mental alertness, concentration, memory and it also improves blood circulation. With a lot inhaling and exhaling involved, it increases oxygen level in the blood which is recipe for a healthier brain function. Singing has also been used to help retain and regain memories for Alzheimer patients. So don’t be afraid to belt it out once in a while!
Learn to Cook
Cooking involves the use of our sense of touch, smell, sight, and taste, which means when we’re cooking, we exercise different parts of our brain and make sure they coordinate with each other so you finish with a delicious and hearty food. Besides, cooking for yourself is a form of self-care, and the internet is full of simple recipes you can try for yourself right now. MyFridgeFood.com is a site where you can select all the available ingredients in your fridge or pantry, and get recipes you can make with them.
Learn A New Sport
When you play a sport such as tennis, golf, or bowling, you are not only using your strength, but also your brain. It takes a lot of calculation to be able to get a decent score in sports such as the ones mentioned, so the longer you play a sport of your choosing, the better your brain functions. Additionally, playing a sport such as basketball or football, or any sport that requires a lot of walking or running around, will help you maintain weight, sleep habits, and improve mood and concentration.
Drink Tea and Coffee
Sometimes, we all just need our morning quick fix. Whether you’re a coffee or tea person, both contains caffeine which boosts mental functions such as memory, concentration, and focus. Contrary to popular belief, the effects of caffeine are not just short-termed. Many coffee or tea drinkers, in the long run, have better memory and remember more from a certain event compared to non-drinkers.
Eat Dark Chocolate
Ever wonder why people give chocolates to people they like? It’s because according to science, chocolate helps the brain release a happy chemical called “endorphins”, and people want the person they like to associate them with the feelings of happiness. Also, it’s not fattening or bad for your diet since it’s dark chocolate. Why not give this happiness to yourself and munch on some dark chocolate once in a while?
Eat Raw Seeds
Instead of snacking on chips and candies, opt for raw seeds such as pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Pumpkin seeds contain essential micronutrients such as copper, iron, magnesium, and zinc, which are all good for the heart and help improve brain functions. Nuts are
Eat Raw Vegetables
Let plant become your natural medicine, and eat your greens! No cliche, just pure science. Raw leafy vegetables contain vitamins and nutrients such as vitamin K, lutein, folate, and beta carotene. These vitamins improve your overall health, including eyesight and brain functions. Research also shows that regular plant-based diet can help reduce cognitive decline, so you live a healthier and longer life.
Eat Fresh Fruits
Fruits containing high levels of vitamin C have been proven to prevent oxidative stress, and fight off free radicals, which are responsible to the decline in our brain function (memory, concentration, and focus) as we get older. Study shows that people who incorporate fruits such as strawberries and blueberries in their diet on a regular basis have a slowed down memory decline by up to two and a half years compared to those who don’t eat them.
Eat More Animal Organ Meats
Contrary to popular belief, not all fats or fatty food are bad. Fatty fishes such as salmon, cod, and tuna contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are healthy unsaturated fats that prohibit beta-amyloid, or the protein that is responsible for damaging clumps in the brains of Alzheimer patients. To avoid developing Alzheimer’s, simply incorporate fatty fish at least three times a week in your diet.
Eat More Good Protein
Good proteins include eggs, lean meats, chicken, seafood, dairy, and etc. Even vegetarians can get the necessary protein by eating plant based food combinations that together are a complete protein. The neurons in our brains communicate each other via proteins, so imagine not having enough protein in our bodies!
Use Smells for Memory Recall
If you have seen the Black Mirror episode titled Alligator, you’d know that the sense of smell can help you remember things better. Put a couple of drops of essential oils in your humidifier while studying for an exam, and take a whiff of the same scent while taking the exam. You’ll find that you will remember more and answer more accurately.
Reduce Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol is a depressant, and the complete opposite of coffee and tea. Instead of improving your brain functions, it disrupts it and makes you lose focus, and even balance which can lead to injuries. It is also extremely bad for you liver and kidney in the long run, and will give you an unattractive beer belly. Try to reduce your alcohol consumption, and don’t completely cut it out of your system. Do it slowly.
Take Brain Supplements
Visit your GP and ask if there are any brain supplements they can prescribe you with. If you are on a healthy and balanced diet with an active lifestyle, you won’t probably need supplements, but not everyone has the time for meal prep and workout. Your GP might prescribe you with some food supplements containing the vitamins and nutrients you need, but remember that they are not complete substitutes for a healthy lifestyle.
Another popular option is taking pharmaceutical drugs to help mask symptoms. Visit a general practitioner, who may refer you to specialist to get these prescribed. Keep in mind, most doctors study materials and universities are heavily funded by the pharmaceutical companies themselves, so they'll often recommend drugs that build dependencies, have serious side effects, or are otherwise unsustainable in the long term.
Join a Specialty Club
Sometimes, we are more motivated to do something if we know that other people are doing it too. This is also the reason why it’s best to be part of specialty clubs such as theatre, math, science, chess, and the likes. Book clubs are one of the most famous and common ones. Having a fun club meet-up to look forward to every week is nice, especially if you have been through a busy week at work.