Boost Your Brainpower

You’re successful, busy, social and smart “ but with so much on your plate, it can be hard to stay on top of your intellectual game. But while your bedside stack of books remains untouched, your healthy dinners have fallen by the wayside and it’s all you can do to scrape together six hours of sleep, your intellect suffers, and your neglect takes its toll. Take heart and hold your head high: with six simple steps, you can reestablish yourself as an intellectual powerhouse.

1) Eat food for thought
No need for a diet makeover “ you may be getting your daily dose of brain food without even knowing it. Studies have shown that students who drink coffee actually achieve higher test scores. Green tea, salmon and blueberries are also smart choices. But before you begin loading up on venti latté©s, remember that sugar does the opposite “ the sweet stuff is one of those refined carbohydrates responsible for the dreaded brain fog.

2) Sleep soundly
Though it seems easier said than done, establishing a healthy sleep pattern can help boost your brain power like nothing else. You’ll think more clearly, solve problems more efficiently, and you’ll astound others with your boundless creativity and enthusiasm.  But if getting eight hours seems like a stretch, ease into it: by going to bed fifteen minutes earlier every week until you reach healthy sleep standards (experts recommend getting at least five to six hours), you’ll notice a world of difference before you know it.

3) Take pleasure in puzzles
While sitting down to finish a 1,000-piece jigsaw may seem impossibly quaint, the beauty of technology means that mind games are no longer confined to your dating life. Whether you spend your subway ride defeating Sudoku or take lunch with an old-school word search, your brain power will increase and you’ll achieve an empowering sense of accomplishment.

4) Crack a book
You’re a career girl who’s had to forfeit casual reading for late-night deadlines, so the notion of sitting down to read a book seems like something out of a fairytale. Here’s some incentive: 10 to 15 minutes of reading before bed will exercise your brain and prep you for more restful sleep. Studies have shown that those who opt for a novel over pre-sleep TV will nod off faster since their brains aren’t battling over-stimulation.

5) Take a breather
Have you ever wondered why you have trouble thinking clearly when you’re panicked and stressed?  Since a lack of oxygen can ultimately induce brain damage in severe cases, it’s no surprise that your brain freezes up in moments of anxiety. When you feel overwhelmed, it’s important to take a few minutes of calm. Whether you take a quick nip outside, or quietly centre yourself at your desk, one of the keys to keeping a healthy brain is to take a breath and relax, allowing oxygen to enter the blood stream through deep and rhythmic breathing.

6) Write on
Though we’ve become accustomed to extremely abbreviated writing in the form of texts, IMs and emails, the simple act of putting pen to paper can make you smarter. The physical act of writing makes your brain will not only work harder and actively improves your memory as you become increasingly conscious of the words you choose.

What’s your tried and true trick for staying sharp? Share with us in the comments section.

Tags: brain food, brain power, Healthy, read, Sleep, stay smart, thinking, write

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