We’ve all had those days where we are just firing on all cylinders. Where you can think so clearly that it seems like there is no problem that you can’t solve. Those days are amazing, but for many people they are few and far between. Normally these days are like a freak occurrence in an otherwise long string of days with bad focus and sub-optimal problem solving skills.
The reason that they occur is that most people are not aware that they have unknowingly done a number of things right to lead them to that positive place where they know how to focus. Maybe they went to bed a little earlier the night before, or they had a meal that did not affect their brainpower in the morning. They were not conscious of these things on a day-to-day basis, so when they actually had a ‘good day’ (mentally speaking) it seemed like it happened for no reason.They were improving concentration without realising it.
What most people don’t know is that they can cultivate that feeling of intense mental sharpness on a daily basis. Wouldn’t that be amazing if you could feel that way all the time?
It is entirely possible and the ways to get yourself into that place are so simple (but usually neglected).
Method 1: Get better quality sleep
Everyone knows that you should get about 8 hours of sleep every night. But what a lot of people don’t consider is the quality of the sleep they are getting. If you are on your laptop/tablet/phone/TV right before you go to sleep, chances are you are not getting good quality sleep.
Our bodies’ sleep patterns are attuned with nature’s patterns of sunrise and sunset. When the sun starts setting, you are supposed to start getting tired and getting ready for sleep. The problem is that most of us go home and turn on all the lights and create a second daytime. We are throwing off our bodies’ natural rhythms and then expecting to have a hearty sleep seconds after we switch off the light.
What you should do is make sure that sit in a dimly lit room about an hour before you go to bed. This will allow your body to ‘power down’ before bed. Next you should blacken your room as well as you can. Try to have as little light entering your room as possible. This is because there are receptors in your skin that can detect light (even if your eyes are closed), which can interfere with your sleep if there are light sources in the room.
Also, try not to eat anything too sugary about 2 hours before bed; it will also keep you awake.
Method 2: Eat plenty of Healthy Fats
The 1980’s fitness wave pushed the idea that having too much fat inside your diet will be a problem for your health (specifically your heart). Low fat diets became the go-to place for health-minded individuals and this is still a commonplace myth in the modern health discourse.
While there is a certain level of truth to this (hydrogenated fats and trans fats being bad for you), it has neglected the need for healthy fats. Dr. David Perlmutter, author of the book Grain Brain says that healthy fat is a super-fuel for the brain. In fact, older people with a carbohydrate-rich diet vs. a fat-rich diet had an 89% increased risk of having Alzheimer’s or Dementia!
Introducing more healthy fats (think fish oil or olive oil) into your diet and cutting down on the grains will allow your brain to be running on its optimum fuel source.
Method 3: Incorporate Some Meditation
The University of California ran a study that took 48 students and let them choose either a nutrition class or a meditation class. The classes met for 45 minutes four times per week over two weeks.
“It required participants to integrate mindfulness into their daily activities and to complete 10 minutes of daily meditation outside of class. During class, participants sat on cushions in a circle. Each class included 10 to 20 minutes of mindfulness exercises requiring focused attention to some aspect of sensory experience” – The Atlantic.
The students were also asked to take a memory test before and after their two-week experience. This was to see if there would be any change in their brain capacity after changing some of their habits.
The results showed that memory scores increased in both groups, but the more significant increase was in the meditation group. Their average GRE verbal score went from 460 to, two weeks later, 520.
Beyond simply improving your focus, mediation has been shown to reduce stress, depression and even blood pressure.
You don’t need to sit in a room with your legs crossed and incense burning to enjoy the benefits of meditation. Try practicing mindfulness (you can download free mindfulness apps) throughout your day.
By implementing these three simple tips, you can dramatically improve your health and your focus and perform better in job and life!