By THOMAS SMALE
…Of course, our coffee is number two 😉
Don’t you wish you had more control over your brain?
From idea generation and meetings to crunching numbers and copywriting, there are a lot of different situations in which more focus and improved cognitive function would prove beneficial. It would allow you to get more done in a shorter amount of time, and come up with unique solutions to problems that you might not be able to otherwise.
The good news is that there are a number of different ways to improve your brain power, especially if you’re willing to do some things consistently over a longer period of time. Let’s explore eight ways that you can support your brain health.
We all know that we should be getting regular exercise. However, most entrepreneur lead busy, rushed lives, and can’t always find the time to fit physical activity in. The trick might be to think of it in reverse: you can’t afford not to exercise if you want to live a long, healthy, productive life.
Exercise not only benefits your brain health and cognition, it can also improve your memory. In the long run, it can even protect your brain against degeneration. If that isn’t reason enough to get into a regular workout routine, who knows what is?
2. Drink coffee.
Many people start their days with a cup of coffee, and it turns out this ritual could actually benefit your cognitive functions in the short term.
Caffeine, of course, helps to keep you alert. However, it can also help you to stay focused on repetitive and tedious tasks, and will even boost your intelligence, including your reaction time and reasoning.
Obviously, the effects of coffee are not permanent. However, it can make your brain work more efficiently until that caffeine high wears off.
3. Get some sunlight.
Sunlight and exercise can sometimes go hand in hand. This mostly depends on what part of the world you live in, how much sunlight is available at different times of the year and how realistic it is for you to spend time in the outdoors.
Getting too little sunlight is not good for your brain. Higher levels of vitamin D in your system allow you to perform better, and can even slow down the aging of your brain.
Too much sunlight can be bad for your skin, but if you aren’t getting enough, your brain functions may suffer. Of course, you can always take vitamin D supplements if you find that you aren’t able to get outside as much as you would like to. Just remember to take supplements in moderation.
4. Build strong connections.
It has often been said that the entrepreneurial journey is a lonely one. As it turns out, that may not be good for your cognitive functions.
If you often feel lonely, it can actually result in psychological and cognitive decline, as these feelings can have a negative impact on your sleep, increase your blood pressure, contribute to depression and even lower your overall well-being.
Most entrepreneurs know how to communicate and build connections. The key thing is to build a strong support system around you, as that will enable you to stay healthy mentally and psychologically over the long term.
Meditation is a trending topic among many entrepreneurs right now, and its benefits are hard to argue with. Not only does meditation reduce your stress levels, it can also prevent age-related disorders such as Alzheimer’s or dementia.
This speaks to the importance of self-care. Taking a mere 10 to 15 minutes out of your day to practice meditation could extend your cognitive longevity and allow you to reduce your overall stress levels too.
6. Sleep well.
This can be another tricky area for entrepreneurs. Early mornings and late nights sometimes come with the territory, and the stresses or excitement that come with building and growing a business can have undesirable effects on sleep patterns.
Sleep is required to consolidate memory and learning. If you don’t get enough sleep, your gray-matter volume in your frontal lobe may begin to decrease. Your frontal lobe supports and controls your working memory as well as executive function, making it particularly important.
In short, if you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll have less brain in your head.
7. Eat well.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that nutrition plays a significant part in your brain health. Entrepreneurs are often rushing from one meeting to another, leaving themselves with very little or no time to eat well.
You have to focus on getting the right kind of nutrition. Antioxidants and amino acids are particularly important, and vitamin E can also be beneficial. Drinking wine is known to improve your cognitive function — assuming you consume it in moderation — and nuts, blueberries, whole grains, and avocados are also beneficial. What’s good for your body also tends to be good for your brain.
8. Play Tetris.
This might come to you as a bit of a surprise, but playing Tetris is known to have several positive effects on your brain. Playing Tetris will increase gray matter for a short amount of time, and it can also help with performing spatially-related tasks.
The most interesting part is that playing Tetris after a traumatic experience can prevent your brain from solidifying those memories. That means fewer flashbacks to negative memories over the long haul.
If you have a smartphone or tablet with you at all times, then incorporating a little bit of Tetris into your day should prove to be pretty straightforward. Just don’t get carried away and forget to work, too!
More than anything else, improving your brain power is about habits, and habits take time to build.
The best approach is to focus on one or two things at a time. Giving your life a complete makeover is going to prove much more challenging, and the habits you attempt to develop may not stick. This is counterproductive.
Not only is balance hard to achieve, often it never is in the life of an entrepreneur. However, constant experimentation and tweaking will allow you to test things out and see what works best for you.
Originally posted in Entrepreneur