Everybody has different abilities to concentrate, and some can focus on a task without getting distracted more easily than others. How your brain developed as you grew, your current age, your mental condition, and even your diet play a role in your ability to focus. While there are medications that can be prescribed to help you focus, as is often the case for people with ADHD, the best options for your long-term health are natural ones. Luckily, there are plenty of holistic hacks that can help you get the job done, whether you need to study, focus on an assignment at work, follow a recipe, or perform other life activities.
1. Eat a Healthy Breakfast
Skipping breakfast is never a good idea. Eating shortly after you get up will kickstart your metabolism and get your brain functioning on breakfast fuel. A healthy startup breakfast should contain eggs and whole grains with zinc. Eggs are an excellent source of choline, which has been linked to increased verbal and visual memory skills. Zinc has been shown to play a role in memory formation and cognitive function. Coffee is another addition to breakfast proven to boost your alertness and help you focus.
2. Train Your Brain
The brain is a muscle. The more you use and work it, the stronger it will become. Games that improve your cognitive function have been shown to increase focus in children, adults, and the elderly. Some examples of these games include:
- Crossword puzzles
- Memory games
- Jigsaw puzzles
- Video games
Yes, you heard correctly–video games. New research suggests that playing video games helps improve your ability to tune out distractions and increase brain activity.
3. Get Outside and Enjoy Nature
Research shows that going outside for just 15 or 20 minutes a day, and even placing plants around your office, has been linked with an increased ability to concentrate. It may also boost your productivity. Other studies have indicated that children who spend more time in nature develop better attention spans.
4. Try Natural Alternatives
With medical and even recreational cannabis becoming legal in many states and dispensaries opening up all across the country, CBD products are easier to find than ever, and their increasing popularity among people from all walks of life speaks to their effectiveness. CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive chemical compound found in the Cannabid sativa plant that has been linked with an astonishing variety of health benefits. Many users report that sativa dominant and high CBD strains help to increase brain function and energy. If you don’t think medical cannabis is right for you, don’t despair: CBD is available in tinctures, topical creams and lotions, and even in edible products like gummies. The right type of CBD will boost your energy and help you focus without any of the intoxicating effects of THC.
5. Take a Break and Breathe Easy
While taking a break may seem like procrastinating, experts swear by it to increase your concentration and decrease stress at work. After all, focusing too hard on something for long periods of time can cause you to burnout and crash. Taking a step back from a project and even spending just a few minutes meditating or walking around will enable you to look at things with fresh eyes, help you catch mistakes, and brainstorm new ideas. Make sure you build time for rest into your life – take a long walk, read a good book, enjoy a hot bath, or do a soothing yoga practice. Whatever it takes to give your mind (and body) a break.
6. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Experts recommend that adults need at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night in order to function at their best. Learning how to unwind before you jump into bed can help you fall into a deep sleep that truly recharges your tired mind. Try turning off the TV an hour before bed, put down the phone, drink some chamomile tea, take a hot bath, or read a book. Also, make sure your bed is not causing discomfort that could be disrupting your sleep.
Give these easy hacks a try, and start getting your focus back! Little changes in your lifestyle and work-life balance can go a long way in improving your daily health and concentration. What do you have to lose?
Tess DiNapoli is a freelance writer and advocate for balanced lifestyles. In addition to being an artist and having a passion for yoga, she writes about developments in health and wellness, as well as skincare and beauty