I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want to utilize the full power of their brain — and preferably in the easiest ways possible.
But how do you begin to go about doing that?
Whatever the answer, it’s probably complicated, takes a lot of time, or costs a good bit of money. Right? Who has time to add another complex routine to their life?
Surprisingly, you don’t have to drastically change your life, spend money, or dedicate too much time or effort to improve your brain health.
This Is How To Use 100% of Your Brain’s Potential
It’s no big secret. You already do.
Scans show activity buzzing through your entire brain all of the time, even when you’re resting and sleeping. Not all 86 billion neurons are firing at any one time, of course, but they do exist in a constant state of resting potential, electrically charged, ready to act when called upon. Science shows that you use virtually every part of your brain and that most of it is active most of the time.
So, it really becomes a question of how to maximize your brain’s functioning and boost operation to its fullest potential.
Your brain’s performance is dependent on its health which is largely the product of your daily lifestyle habits. To optimize your brain, you have to have to live your life to support and encourage it to function at its best. Below are eight ways to easily do that.
Habits To Optimize Your Brain’s Performance
Get More Sleep
Sleep is one of the biggest determinants of your overall health — including the health and functioning of your brain. In fact, science has proven that skimping on sleep, over time, can make you sick, fat, and stupid. After a single night of reduced sleep, reaction times, glucose levels, mood, memory, and hormone balances can be negatively affected. One study saw changes in men’s brains after not getting adequate sleep for one night indicative of brain shrinkage and damage similar to a brain injury. Extreme lack of sleep can even be deadly.
Getting sufficient sleep helps focus and improves memory and productivity. Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep every night, although the exact amount varies for each person. If you don’t get your required hours one night, be sure to make time for a nap the next day to give your brain a boost. Studies show that napping for 90 minutes improves memory, while other research found that even napping for just ten minutes has measurable brain benefits.
Stop Trying to Multi-Task
Multi-tasking is a myth. The idea of multitasking was originally used to describe a computer’s parallel processing capabilities and has become shorthand for our brains attempting to do many things simultaneously. However, your brain doesn’t work that way. Even when you think you’re multitasking, you’re not. Our brains are biologically incapable of processing more than one attention requiring input at a time. What’s really happening when people think they’re multitasking is that they’re shifting their attention back and forth between tasks and utilizing short-term memory. Studies show that when your brain is constantly switching tasks, you are less efficient and more likely to make a mistake.
Move Your Body
Exercise has been proven to have tremendous brain benefits. Research shows that physical exercise improves memory and thinking skills, mood and creativity, and learning while reducing depression, age-related decline, and the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s. One study found that exercising at a moderate intensity for just two hours per week increased volume in the parts of the brain that control memory and thinking.
Exercising also leads to better sleep which greatly helps your brain as mentioned above. Physical activity that combines complex thinking with aerobic exercises, like ballroom dancing or tennis, is going to be of the most benefit to your brain and body. Some of the strongest brain benefits are seen in swimming.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines recommend 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.
At the start of each day, tidy up your space – whether you’re at work or home. If you get in the habit of doing this, you will really never have the chance to get that scattered and the ongoing results will be well worth your efforts. Research shows that clutter can lead to stress and depression. Clutter distracts you and competes for your attention, making you less focused and productive.
On another note, be sure you silence your phone and put it completely out of sight. Science is showing that your phone reduces your brain power just by being present. You don’t have to be using it, and it doesn’t have to be dinging or ringing. It just has to be there. Study results published in the Journal of Social Psychology found that the mere presence of a smartphone can distract you by diminishing your attention span and cognitive ability.
The opposite of an unfocused mind is an awake, mindful one. Very simply, mindfulness is a way of thinking. It is a mind that is aware and aware of its awareness. Mindfulness is a practice in which you train your brain to focus and notice what’s happening as it’s happening. It’s learning to direct your attention to your present experience.
Mindfulness is not a spiritual concept. It’s an active mental health practice. In your brain, mindfulness asks you to deliberately shift control of your thoughts and actions from your limbic system, the ancient instinctual, emotional brain, to the conscious awareness of your thinking brain, the frontal lobe. The frontal lobe of your brain is where your more complex cognitive processes take place. Over time, practicing mindfulness actually builds your attention skills.
The brain benefits of meditation, a mindfulness practice, have been overwhelmingly validated by science. The positive neurological and psychological effects of meditation are numerous., including beneficial activity and volume changes in the brain, improved focus, better mood, and reduced stress levels.
Feed Your Brain Well
Another easy way to rapidly improve your brain health and performance is by supporting it with a brain-healthy diet. Feeding your brain optimally will not only help your overall health but also improve brain health and cognitive function. You have a “second brain,” called the enteric nervous system, in your gut which communicates directly with the brain in your head. What you put in your mouth directly affects what goes on in your brain and can contribute to a clear mind or a foggy one.
To get the most brainpower out of your diet, you will want to include fatty fish, foods with probiotics, whole grains, leafy greens, high-fiber foods, and lots of lean protein. You will also want to watch your caffeine and sugar intake. Sudden spikes and dips in your blood sugar levels can affect your attention and focus. While a small amount of caffeine can give you a short-term mental boost, too much can overstimulate you, make you feel anxious, and affect your ability to stay focused.
Use All of Your Senses
You use your senses every day, but you probably don’t really pay that much attention to them. Occasionally switching up the way you use your senses can help you sharpen them, give you a change in perspective, and give your brain a workout.
To do this, just go about your day as usual with a few slight changes. Pay special attention to what your senses are telling you. Be mindful and aware. Really taste the boldness of your coffee. Take the time to really feel the sensation of each water droplet hitting your head in the shower. While walking the dog, notice the songs of the different birds and feel the ground under your feet.
To make things more interesting, try not using a sense you typically use so you can focus more on a different one. For instance, close your eyes while you’re eating to help you zero in on the smell and taste.
Break Out of Your Routine
This one might seem a little counterintuitive, but if you want your daily routine to boost your brain, change it. When you do the same thing every day, your brain tends to go into autopilot mode. We don’t really think about what we’re doing, so we’re not engaging or challenging our brains.
When you switch things up, you’re asking your brain to think and pay attention and forcing it to stay alert. It’s important to kick your brain out of its comfort zone often by doing things that are unfamiliar and mentally challenging. You’ll want to push your brain beyond the norm. Stepping out of your routine forces your brain to grow and make new neural connections.
It could be something simple like driving a different way to work or eating your meal with your non-dominant hand. Something more long-term, like learning a new language or mastering a musical instrument, will work wonders for your brain as well but will take more time and effort.
In today’s world, it seems that we are all trying to figure out how to do more, do better, and get ahead. People are looking for ways to enhance their brains’ performance and productivity while pushing their cognitive limits to allow them to get more done each day. The way to hack into your brain’s full potential is to support and care for it with a healthy lifestyle. And a healthy lifestyle is crucial to perform at your best and achieve your goals in both the short and long term.