7 Secrets to Mental Focus and Energy
If you’re like most Americans, stress is your second language. But fatigue can only be kept at bay for so long before it starts taking a significant emotional and physical toll on you. Here are seven steps for staying sharp even when your life is a roller coaster of chaos.
How much sleep are you getting each night? If you’re like most people, you’re running on five or six hours—and that’s not nearly enough. The rule of thumb for adults is at least seven hours—eight if you can get it—but everyone’s sleep needs are different. Pay attention to how you feel in mind and body on different amounts of sleep. Also, adjust for sleep debt. If you’ve been running on fumes for a while, and you know you feel good with seven hours of sleep, you might need to make good in the deprivation department before seven feels right again.
2. TAKE BREAKS
At least every hour, give yourself a break from whatever you’re working on. Take ten minutes for a brisk walk, grab some water, do a little yoga, or even read a blog or book. Simple tasks will help take your mind off the task at hand and let you re-focus.
It’s been said that water makes you smarter. Brain cells depend on water to function, and when you’re dehydrated, your brain appears to becomes less efficient. Water affects focus, short-term memory, long-term memory, and even math—whether you’re solving a complicated equation or simply planning for what time you need to leave to make your flight.
Adults in the US on average drink fewer than 32 ounces a day. The recommended intake per day is around 64 ounces or between 2-3 liters. That being said, fluid needs can vary depending on your overall health, your activity levels, and where you live.
To ensure your individual needs are being met, you can use the color of your urine as a gauge (should be colorless or light yellow). Though be aware that this method does not always provide an accurate assessment of your hydration status. If you are concerned about your fluid intake, be sure to check in with a medical professional.
Breaking a sweat does as much for your mind as it does for your body. Every time you exercise, you feed your brain and muscles with oxygen, increasing your energy and your mental focus while releasing tension and stress. Some studies show that mental focus and IQ performance improve for a full two hours after a workout.
5. TRAIN YOUR BRAIN
If you’re not used to focusing, it can take practice. Don’t worry: you can make a comeback from attention span atrophy. Start by doing mental tasks like reading, playing strategy games, or writing for longer and longer periods of time—the same as you would if you were training for physical endurance. Teach yourself to go longer by adding time (even if it’s just five minutes) to what you feel your limit is. Write one more paragraph when you think you’ve hit your max. Just like an athlete, you might even get a second wind.
6. FEED YOUR MIND
Eat high-energy foods that burn slowly, and your body and mind will help you achieve sustained energy and extended mental focus. Foods like oatmeal, trail mix, and fruit are good choices, but refined sugars and simple carbs are not. Stick with whole foods, like vegetables and fruit, that give you the calories and nutrients your body needs to perform. Food is fuel, so power yourself with the food you need to conquer your day.
Meditate, relax in a bath, do a craft, read a book, or shoot some hoops—do whatever allows your mind the chance to unwind. This kind of moving meditation is a gift to your mind and your body and it will allow you to take on another day refreshed and energized.
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Jane Smolnik is a Naturopathic Doctor and Iridologist with a private practice at the WNC Holistic Center in Asheville, NC. She specializes in stress and fatigue conditions as well as anti-aging. Find out more on her website at: www.ultimatehealing.com. Dr. Jane is also an independent distributor for LifeVantage, anti-aging line based on award winning science and Nutrigenomics. Find out more at: www.drjane.LifeVantage.com. or call 828-777-5263.