Today, society demands that we always be on our A-game. Not just “on the ball,” but “in front of the ball.” Whatever your preferred metaphor, to function successfully in the world today, you need to be focused. But this can be difficult. Between distractions, brain fog and too much jitter-causing caffeine, getting through the day can be a struggle. Below you will find four easy ways to cut through the fog and gain better focus for your busy and meaningful days.
1. Lower Your Stress
Stress is hard on a body, both physically and mentally. Every time your body experiences stress it produces and secretes stress hormones, giving your body the signal to fight or take flight. Lowering your stress will reduce the number of stress hormones your body produces and allow you to think clearly, responding to situations instead of reacting. Lowering your stress levels may mean saying “no” more often, asking for helping or delegating tasks to others either at work or at home. Over the years, I’ve learned to realize that there is both healthy stress and unhealthy stress. While it has taken a shift in my mindset, managing unhealthy stress has had enabled me to “focus” on things that matter in life.
2. Cut Out Food Intolerances
Some foods, especially when consumed in excessive amounts, have been proven to affect brain function negatively. You do not have to give up these foods completely, but you can try cutting back or attempt an elimination diet. Food intolerances can also be an added strain on your brain function. These intolerances, similar to allergies, can cause reactions within the body that make it hard to focus. Foods to consider cutting back on can include all types of meats including pre-cooked meats and highly preserved meats like bacon, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, and cheese/dairy. Consumed food and fluids should be viewed as fuel for the body. In lieu of the items detailed above, it’s amazing what a handful of fruits, vegetables and water can do to help bring clarity and sharpness to your mind.
3. Increase Key Nutrients
Amp up your intake of nutrients that help your body and brain function best. Your body needs calories from fat, protein, and carbs to work properly. You may also want to consider if you are consuming enough magnesium, B vitamins, and choline. I begin to make this point at the end of item number two. Some of my best days are centered around proper nutrition – meaning, I eat a healthy breakfast, a salad for lunch, a wholesome dinner and I’m drinking a lot of water and snacking on fruit throughout the day. Try it for a couple of weeks and you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel.
4. Get Your Zzz’s
Getting enough quality sleep might just be one of the most significant contributors to having better focus during the day. Your body needs sleep to recuperate and clear out everything from the previous day. This includes liver function, cortisol (a stress hormone) regulation, and muscle repair. Basically, if you aren’t sleeping enough or well enough, your body can’t function at its top condition. If there is anything in this list that I’m bad at, it’s getting enough sleep on a daily basis – which is why it will be a key area of focus for me for the second half of 2021.
Having a clear and focused mind can seem like a tall order, one that you can’t possibly stack up to. But that isn’t the case. Take small and simple steps toward clearing the fog and cobwebs, and toward a brain that is ready for whatever the day brings.