Today, society demands that we always be on our A-game. Even in a pandemic or racial crisis. Not just “on the ball,” but “in front of the ball.” There are so many obstacles and distractions that try to block us from being our best. To function successfully in the world today, we need to be focused. Difficult, yes. Impossible, no. Below are four ways to help cut through the fog and gain better focus for our busy minds. We're here for a purpose and need to focus on doing our part in this world.
1. Lower Your Stress
Stress is hard on a body, both physically and mentally. Every time your body experiences stress it produces and secretes stress hormones, giving your body the signal to fight or take flight. Lowering your stress will reduce the number of stress hormones your body produces and allow you to think clearly, responding to situations instead of reacting. Lowering your stress levels may mean saying “no” more often, asking for helping, or delegating tasks to others either at work or at home.
2. Cut Out Foods That Don't Like You
Some foods, especially when consumed in excessive amounts, can be an added strain on your brain function. You do not have to give up these foods completely, but you can try cutting back. I'm a believer in making small changes to have a lasting effect. Food intolerances, similar to allergies, can cause reactions within the body that make it hard to focus. Foods to consider cutting back on can include pre-cooked meats, artificial sweeteners, bacon (insert heavy sighs and eye rolls here) especially the heavily preserved kind found in the supermarket, alcohol, and cheese/dairy. Remember, you do not have to cut out any of these foods completely, but you may want to consider how much you are consuming.
3. Increase Key Nutrients
Amp up your intake of nutrients that help your body and brain function best. Your body needs calories from fat, protein, and carbs (sorry keto fans) to work properly. You may also want to consider if you are consuming enough magnesium, B vitamins, and choline. If you're not a fan of calorie counting, use an app to keep track of what you're eating so it can track the calories for you.
4. Get Your Zzz’s
This one is big for me. Getting enough quality sleep might just be one of the most significant contributors to having better focus during the day. Your body needs sleep to recuperate and clear out everything from the previous day. This includes liver function, cortisol (a stress hormone) regulation, and muscle repair. Basically, if you aren’t sleeping enough or well enough, your body can’t function at its top condition.
With all of the unrest and panic going on lately, having a clear and focused mind can seem like a tall order. But please don't be so discouraged that you don't even try. Take small and simple steps toward clearing the fog and cobwebs, and toward a brain that is ready for whatever the day brings.