Feeling a bit sluggish, is it hard to concentrate, do you need that afternoon pick-me-up? Here are a few ways to help get your brain going and get energized without caffeine and junk food.
1. Dive into a book. According to a study published in the journal Neurology, reading and writing could optimize your brain power. Carry a book with you everywhere you go for an escape from the daily grind. You could read a few chapters in a waiting room, grocery store line, traffic jam, or during your lunch break.
2. Get a degree. College is not necessary and doesn’t offer you much of an edge in the workforce since bachelor degrees have become the new normal, but there is no denying that many folks aren’t driven enough to study on their own. If you feel like you need accountability in the form of a wise professor, reading assignments, and a grade that determines your educational fate, college would be a good bet.
3. Explore new horizons. The mind can grow stagnate without the occasional detour to a fresh topic of interest. Choose a historical era, musical instrument, language, craft, or hobby that fascinates you and get to work.
4. Take time to breathe. Go outside with a notebook, admire the rising sun, listen to the birds sing, and breathe deeply. Starting your day with a little big of meditation and nature will clear your thoughts so you can start your day strong.
5. Keep a blog or journal. Putting your thoughts on paper will sharpen your ability to express yourself clearly. With practice, you will be able to make even the most dry of subjects interesting and the most difficult of concepts simple enough for anyone to understand.
6. Be consistent. Great minds are not built overnight: they are built slowly over many years through hard work and dedication. You will not become a master inventor or Jeopardy champion in a week, but you’ll get pretty close if you’re consistent.
7. Stretch yourself. Just because something is difficult doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing. If you stretch yourself, you could fall a bit short of your goal but you will reach greater heights than you would without a willingness to take risks. Contentment is your enemy. Never be satisfied.
8. Seek inspiration. Today you might feel inspired with a strong desire to optimize your brain power. But please be aware that inspiration is a fleeting thing. Just like you couldn’t drive your car across the country without stopping for gas, you can’t expect your brain to keep performing without an occasional shot of inspiration. What inspires you? There is no right or wrong answer. Do you learn best by hearing? Listen to a book on audio or podcast on your drive to and from work. Do you have to see it to “get” it? Watch a film or documentary about a topic that piques your curiosity. Is written word your preference? Throw a book or two in your purse, backpack, or the backseat of your car so you can dive into a book when life hands you the opportunity to get your learn on.
9. Know thyself. Be mindful during the work day. Is there a certain time of day you are more focused, alert, or creative? Are there a few hours where you have a tough time finding interest in work? Find the answers to those questions and build your day in a way that maximizes productivity. For example, I do well if I can do creative things (like writing this article) early in the day. In the evening, I can’t seem to focus no matter what, so I save pleasure reading, leisure, and mindless tasks and chores for later in the day. Shuffle a few tasks around to get more done.
10. Question everything. There are very few absolutes in life, so maintain a healthy dose of skepticism and never stop asking questions.
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