If you’re finding it tough to focus, you’re not alone. We all have so much on our plates these days that it can feel like you need a second plate. Plus, we’re living with more distractions than ever before—including social media, a 24-hour news cycle, and the fact that all of this sensory input is as close as our cell phones.
If you’re feeling mentally exhausted, the first thing we recommend is turning off the news, putting down your cell phone, and staying in the moment. Plus, there are some highly effective ways to help your brain stay sharp, so you not only get more done but feel more relaxed.
1. Do One Thing at a Time
Many of us pride ourselves on our ability to multitask, but did you know multitasking is impossible? Your brain can only process one piece of information at a time. So, when you multitask, you’re requiring your brain to constantly shift your attention back and forth between tasks, which can slow down productivity, make you more prone to mistakes, and mentally exhaust you.
The solution is to complete one task at a time before moving on to the next. Or you can break down each task into chunks of 20 or 30 minutes and focus on one thing at a time before shifting your attention.
2. Exercise Your Body and Mind
Staying physically active improves blood flow to the brain and increases levels of BDNF, a growth factor that promotes the creation of new brain cells and connections. Plus, according to a Harvard study, aerobic exercise stimulates the release of growth factors in your brain, improving memory and thinking skills. As a bonus, exercise boosts mood, improves sleep, and reduces stress, all of which help with cognitive health and memory.
Plus, your brain itself needs exercise, which is known as cognitive training. Doing crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and other puzzles helps to keep your mind sharp and builds your cognitive reserve.
3. Eat Foods that Boost Brain Function
Out of all the organs in the body, the brain requires the most energy, so you want to give it the healthy nourishment it needs. Foods that help you focus include salmon, sardines, nuts and seeds, avocado, and eggs. Make your plate as smart as you want to be!
It’s also important to skip the sugar. Eating too much sugar can cause brain fog and sluggishness, and make you feel tired. Avoid obvious sources of sugar, such as candy, baked goods, and ice cream. Plus, keep an eye out for hidden sugars in packaged foods, including salad dressings, crackers, barbecue sauces, and more.
4. Take Supplements that Support Focus and Concentration
One of the most common questions we get is, “Is ginseng good for memory?” The answer is that it depends on the form. The best form we’ve found is CogniBoost® American Ginseng, a highly standardized American ginseng extract. In clinical studies, 200 mg of CogniBoost supported working memory in as little as three hours, with cognitive benefits for improved focus, recall, attention, and accuracy in as little as one hour.
If you’re like most people, you jump start your day with a cup of tea or coffee and a smile when you take that first lovely sip. Plus, if you feel like it gives you a mental and physical energy boost, you’re not imagining it. Caffeine helps to give you energy and improves your reaction times. We recommend 50 mg of natural caffeine, which is equivalent to about a half cup of coffee.
You can certainly put together this combination on your own. Or, to make it easier for you, we included 200 mg of CogniBoost® and 50 mg of natural caffeine in our Stay Sharp Focus Formula.
5. Stay Hydrated & Get Plenty of Electrolytes
Did you know your brain is 75% water? So, it’s no surprise that hydration is extremely important to brain function. When you’re not getting enough fluids, it can shrink the blood vessels in your brain, which can affect your memory and coordination. Plus, your brain needs electrolytes to help maintain that fluid balance and help to conduct nerve signals that support healthy brain function.
Strive to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily, and more if you’re exercising. You can also mix some of your water with an electrolyte powder that includes potassium, magnesium, and sodium to ensure your brain has the electrolytes it needs.
6. Make Time to Socialize
Having coffee and a chat with a pal may feel like goofing off, but for your brain, it’s anything but. Socializing helps to sharpen your memory and cognitive skills, plus increases your sense of happiness and wellbeing. So, say yes to that walk with your neighbor, put your hand out to welcome someone to your community, or join that book club. In-person communication provides the most benefits but if that doesn’t work out, a virtual connection is the next best thing.
7. Watch the Hidden Focus Issue: Blue Light
Spending time on screens—computers, laptops, tablets, e-readers, and more—exposes you to blue light. Excessive exposure can lead to eye strain and eye fatigue. Plus, blue light exposure before bedtime can make it tough to fall asleep and no one needs to tell you that a lack of sleep can make it hard to concentrate.
Taking lutein and zeaxanthin can help to shield our eyes from the eyestrain and eye fatigue of excessive screentime and blue light exposure. Plus, these carotenoids are important for overall eye health and visual function. The recommended dose is 20 mg of lutein and 4 mg of zeaxanthin. Because these nutrients are so important to overall focus, we included both in our Stay Sharp Focus Formula.