Is there anything worse than hitting that 3 pm wall where you feel like your brain has literally turned off? You have the whole second part of your day ahead of you; yet, you’re just spent. Whether you’re suffering from the 3 pm brain freeze or just can’t seem to stay focused during the day, here are the best (and surprisingly fun!) ways to boost your brain function.
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1. Work it out!
Yep, we’re giving you one more reason why you should head to the gym. It’s been scientifically proven to help with brain function, boosting your brain’s processing speed. Working out is especially effective with aerobic exercise. And here’s a bonus tip: workout with music! This study shows music helps with cognitive performance.
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2. Power naps
I am ALL about a good power nap. In fact, I try to get one in every day. “Nap time” at work is even becoming more popularized in the US. Naps can increase cognitive function and alertness. So go ahead, if you have a free period at school, get a nap in, and by all means, after a long day and before studying, get a snooze in!
3. Eat the right foods
Food is v important when it comes to brain function. Are you ready for the massive list of food that will aid your memory and cognitive skills? Let’s do this: salmon, walnuts, flaxseed, cinnamon, cumin, cilantro, sage, leafy greens like spinach, pumpkin seeds, all the nuts, food with folic acid (pasta!), food with B12, apples, dark chocolate, chicken, and eggs. Oh! And chewing gum has also been found to aid brain function; it keeps you alert and focused. Fun!
4. Stay hydrated
Ugh, we hate carrying a water bottle around with us everywhere we go, but staying hydrated is mandatory if you want your brain to function properly. Plus, being dehydrated has been proven to distract your brain from performing even simple cognitive tasks. So, drink up!
Doodling keeps your brain stimulated, which can significantly help while performing cognitive tasks, research has discovered. Listening to a lecture in class? Doodle! Brainstorming for a research paper? Doodle.
5. Take time to chit chat
A fun, positive conversation with a friend can boost your brainpower! Not only will it help in the short-term memory department, it’s been proven to help your ability to block out distractions. So before your next test or study sesh, try a fun, brief chat with a friend.
6. Watch tv
Oh, glory hallelujah! This news is everything. It turns out watching complex tv shows is actually good for your memory, as argued by Steve Johnson in his book “Everything Bad is Good for You: How Today’s Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter.” By following along with complex plots and retaining that information for the next week, your memory skills are working hard. Watching television has also been proven to reduce stress, as seen in this study, setting you up for a great study or sleep sesh. But remember, keep it to a minimum. Watching hours of television can ultimately be very harmful.
7. Head to Starbucks
Yep! Coffee is good for you (and your brain!). Not only will it keep you energized and focused, our favorite warm beverage can improve your short-term memory. Just try to keep it to an 8-oz cup per day, however. Too much coffee can make you dehydrated, which we learned above is not so great for brain function.
8. Pick up an instrument
Okay, we’ve totally been saying we’re going to learn the guitar for about 10 years now. But now, it’s time to make it official. Learning a musical instrument can boost your brain function. Why? The parts of your brain controlling your motor control, hearing, and visuospatial behaviors will become more developed than non-musicians.
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