As we hit the end of the week, our attention can flag and focusing on the work at hand can be more challenging and take more concentration. To help you stay more alert and upbeat as your day unfolds, here are a few simple tips:
Nod at nutmeg: Unique nutrients in this savory spice can rev up the output of energizing brain chemicals, boosting your alertness, concentration, and feelings well-being within 10 minutes – now that’s a quick turnaround! So consider adding this brain booster to your coffee, morning smoothie, or afternoon yogurt.
Soak up sunshine: If your energy starts to dip around 3 PM or so, open your window shades or take a quick walk for 10 minutes. In a recent study, participants who did this scored higher on alertness tests for up to an hour – nearly the same benefit a nap offers! Why? Sunlight blocks the effects of a sleep-inducing brain chemical that builds up in our body as the day progresses — so getting a dose of afternoon sunshine can awaken us.
Goose your gray cells: Here’s a surprising, counter-intuitive way to revive flagging mental energy: Think more, not less. Brainstorm! Princeton researchers have found that tired workers who take a few moments to brainstorm an idea –- anything from how to organize a delivery to what to have for dinner — instantly become more alert and awake. Turns out, the brain loves to be challenged. Getting creative and brainstorming triggers a flood of excitement-inducing brain chemicals that give you a second wind. What a great tip for us as writers! When we get stuck or feel sapped, just jotting down some fresh ideas can recharge our mental energy.
Pep up with protein: When a bout of fogginess or drowsiness hits, it’s tempting to grab something sweet for a quick energy surge. Resisting this temptation is a smarter strategy. British scientists have learned that eating a protein-rich afternoon snack – like hummus, or a hard-boiled egg — gives you a bigger energy boost than something sweet. Protein-rich foods stimulate brain cells and make you more alert.
Equipped with these brain boosters, let’s rev our engines and write on!