15 Feb 5 WAYS TO GET BRAIN FIT SO YOU CAN GET MORE DONE
When we think of what it means to be fit, rarely do we think brain fit. The truth is, our brain works just as hard as the rest of our body. In the fast paced world that we live in today, demanding schedules and endless to-do lists have become the norm. In order for us to get things done and to do it well, we need mental strength and high performance thinking – both of which are only possible if we have a healthy, fit brain.
Dr Jenny Brockis, medical practitioner and author of Future Brain shares her top tips on how to boost brain fitness so that you can get more done with less time and effort.
- EAT & DRINK WISELY
Research has shown that our choice of foods can influence our memory, cognitive skills, mood, mental health and performance. You need to fuel your body (and brain) with the right nutrients consistently in order to get brain fit. Avoid processed foods and add more ‘real foods’ like leafy greens, oily fish and eggs to your grocery basket. Ditch the sugar and salt laden snacks for healthier options like chopped nuts, berries and dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids). Even 1% of dehydration is associated with fuzzy thinking, which is why consumption of 6-8 glasses of water per day is vital to a healthy brain.
- FORGET MULTITASKING, START MONOTASKING
There is an illusion that multitasking can boost efficiency and save time. The reality is, the more we fragment our attention by trying to do too many things simultaneously, the more we overload our brain and reduce our mental performance. Monotasking is the antidote to multitasking and also the secret to becoming a high-performance thinker. Do one thing at a time, give it your full undivided attention and do it well. Every day, prioritise the top three items on your agenda and work on each one individually until they are all complete. We are more likely to allocate 70-80% of our day to our top three priorities.
- GET MOVING
Exercise has been shown to enhance blood flow to the brain, and reduced brain shrinkage so that work performance is top notch. Movement shouldn’t just occur before or after work – consistent mobility during the day will help keep the brain active. Implement incidental exercise in the office, such as holding standing meetings, walking around the block at lunch or getting up for a stretch or stand every hour. This has been shown to boost energy levels, sharpen thinking and improve memory. So get moving, it’s a no brainer!
- PRIORITISE SLEEP
If there’s one thing you should never negotiate or compromise, it’s your sleep. We spend roughly one-third of our life sleeping, yet the value we place on it is grossly insufficient. Sleep is critical to higher-level thinking, consolidates long-term memory, and allows us to forget the irrelevant, because we don’t need to remember everything forever. We make better decisions when we’ve had adequate rest, and we all know how lousy we can be when we haven’t received enough shuteye! If the office permits it, a 20-minute power nap can increase cognitive performance by up to 40%, with the benefit lasting two to three hours.
- SUBSCRIBE TO MENTAL EXERCISE
Our mind is like a muscle, the more we practice control the stronger it becomes. Those who choose to stretch their minds will be able to adapt more readily, innovate with ease and engage in possibility thinking. Brain training is achieved by learning something new and is especially effective if you have to work hard at it. Try reading a book in a different genre from your common preference, learn to play a musical instrument or take up dancing to activate coordination. Let loose that inner child to create, explore and play.
ABOUT DR JENNY BROCKIS
Dr. Jenny Brockis is a medical practitioner, speaker and author who specialises in brain health and the science of high performance thinking. Her new book Future Brain: The 12 Keys To Create A High Performance Brain is now available online and at all good bookstores including Dymocks.
Written by Sophie Howe.