Category Archives: Brain Power

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The 34 Words Which keep Your Weight Down

In today’s technology obsessed world it’s no surprise that weight loss apps are so popular, but according to new research, the old school pencil and paper work just as well when it comes to losing weight. Food journals are an important, but often overlooked, tool in your weight loss battle that can really have an impact on your results. The power of journaling has most recently been supported by data coming out of the long-term Look AHEAD obesity project, an 11-year study that was funded by the National Institute of Health.

Among the 550 participants in the study who kept records of what they ate, those who wrote at least 34 words a day lost the most amount of weight. On average, these subjects dropped 12% of the weight they started at over the year they were tracked. The key is to use lots of words. When the level of detail in the journal went under 33 words, the average weight loss dropped to as low as 9% of starting weight.

Some smart tips on food journaling…

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Write every single thing you eat or drink down, right away.

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Include what you’re doing while you’re eating.

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Describe how you felt while eating.

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Be honest because no one has to see it but you.

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At the end of each day, look at how your emotions impacted your eating.

When it comes to your food journal, details really count. So instead of listing cereal, milk and banana for breakfast, write the brand name of the cereal, the amount you’re having, the kind of milk and the amount and even the size of the banana. Include the amount of calories of each. It might sound like a lot of work, but as you do it more, you’ll get faster at recording all you’re eating and drinking.

Continues below…


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Overweight? Shocking Proof that it may not be your fault

99% of the “professional” weight loss techniques are wrong – ending up with you actually putting on weight rather than losing it.

Find out why counting calories is bad for you and can sabotage your dieting efforts.

Discover a new way to effortlessly shed unwanted pounds and drop 9 lbs. every 11 days.

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The 34 Words Which keep Your Weight Down Continued…

As you see, food journaling ups your awareness of what, how much, and why you eat. This helps you cut out that mindless eating, and show you areas where you might make changes. Food journals also identify triggers to overeating that you can modify (like stress) or avoid (like idle time in front of the TV). You might be surprised to find some surprising sources of calories, what you’re drinking or snacking on. The good news is that food journals help you see this and thus make changes that truly impact the calories you take in per day, and thus your weight.

The time and effort you put into food journaling is worth it in terms of weight loss, many well done weight loss studies support this idea. Keeping a food journal will help you monitor (and stay accountable) for everything you put into your mouth. You’ll get into the habit, rather quickly, of writing everything you eat or drink in your journal. For some, the act of just writing things down is enough. Many decide not to eat something because they don’t want to write it down.

Another great journaling tip, that’s also totally low-tech, is pairing up with a buddy who is trying to lose weight. This kind of support really helps. You can share your daily food journal entries with each other; you might even text after every meal and then talk by phone (or in person) each day.

To your good health,

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Improve Your IQ With These Seven Solid Ways

If you want to help your brain (and who doesn’t?), there are things you can do to help grow your grey matter and improve your IQ (Intelligence Quotient) by no less than 17 points over a single week. You’ll be able to hold your own in intellectual conversations, feel more confident and empowered by taking just a few simple steps every day.

IQ is a measure of your mental agility or comprehension speed, and that this number can be influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. An average score is 100 and this usually stays stable upon reaching the teen years. The score comes as the result of a set of standardized tests (language fluency, three dimensional thinking, etc.) that measure your thinking abilities in relation to your age.

A higher IQ is related to attainment of education, income and other socioeconomic factors that are key to success in life. Here we bring you seven scientifically proven ways to add points to your own IQ.

1. Play board games – having fluid intelligence is a big part of every IQ tests, and is tied to your working memory. In research, just 25 minutes of play each day will bring your IQ up by 4 points. Puzzles, Dual N-Back games are good choices.

2. Take supplements – taking 5g of creatine a day can give you an extra 15 IQ points over a six week time period. Creatine gives a big boost to brainpower and raises the energy levels that are available for computation in the brain.

3. Play social games – any activity that involves a diverse range of skills plus social interaction will add an IQ point to your total. You can play online on your own, or with friends, to keep on top of your game.

4. Blast some bad guys – a study at the University of Rochester confirmed a link between first person video games and better visual awareness in the real world. That’s a crucial building block for IQ and can add up to two points to your own number.

Continues below…


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Overweight? Shocking Proof that it may not be your fault

99% of the “professional” weight loss techniques are wrong – ending up with you actually putting on weight rather than losing it.

Find out why counting calories is bad for you and can sabotage your dieting efforts.

Click through now to discover how to drop 9lbs every 11 days…
*Disclosure: compensated affiliate*


Improve Your IQ With These Seven Solid Ways Continued…

5. Do cardio workouts – a Swedish study proved that cardiovascular fitness can bring up your verbal intelligence by 50%. Better cardiovascular fitness was linked to better cognitive scores, an increase of 5 (or more) IQ points, while muscular strength was only weakly associated with intelligence.

6. Perform practice IQ tests – retaking IQ tests can actually up your score by as much as 2 points. This proven technique gives you a chance to prepare and be more confident during the next test.

7. Go vegetarian – like it or not, there are a number of studies that have linked higher IQ with a vegetarian diet. The lifestyle and food choices of vegetarians are linked with strong intellectual functioning and a slowed cognitive decline. Doing what you can to fix you diet could bring back 10 years of IQ age, and that isn’t anything to scoff at.

You see… not so difficult. And the payoff may well be huge.

To your good health,

geralt / Pixabay

Awareness And Well-Being

Being mindful is thought to benefit your health as well as your physical and emotional well-being… now we have research from the University of Utah to be presented at the American Psychosomatic Society annual meeting that demonstrates mindfulness brings more stable emotions and better control over mood and behavior. Mindful people also appear to have less cognitive and physiological activity going on before they sleep and this may translate into an improved quality of sleep.

What is mindfulness? It’s paying attention in a special way, on purpose and being in the present while offering no judgments. Mindfulness means living in the moment and waking up to experiences all around you. You need to slow down, do one thing at a time and bring your complete awareness to what you’re doing and your inner experience of it. Mindfulness is believed to be a formidable antidote to daily stress that can be damaging to body and mind. It can be used at any time and brings lasting results.

Often people need to be taught how to be mindful, and earlier studies in this area used subjects who’d been trained in meditation or another technique. This latest study was unique in that it looked at naturally occurring mindfulness with a rather ingenious method for gathering the data.

The work included 38 subjects who’d been recruited from the University of Utah’s undergraduate psychology classes as well as the community at large. The subjects were from 20 to 45 years old; two thirds were female, one third male. The day the study started the subjects completed a baseline assessment that included standard questionnaires, a physiological assessment while at rest and cognitive testing before they began two full days of experience sampling.

The subjects wore a cardiac monitor that was able to measure heart function and were also prompted every so often during the test days to rate both their mental functioning and emotional state. At the end of the two-day test period, the participants filled out questionnaires on their ability to regulate their behavior and emotions. They were also asked to rate their level of cognitive and physical arousal before sleep.

Continues below…


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1 Quick Technique To Burn More Fat

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Awareness And Well-Being Continued…

The team saw that emotional stability, better control of emotions and behavior and lower pre-sleep activity were all significantly linked to higher mindfulness. Mindfulness may be an important part of self-regulation that is meant to happen all through the day, contributing to better physical and emotional well-being.

The mindfulness research gives experts a better picture of how the state affects stress responses all during the day according to graduate student Holly Rau, who is a part of the research team. Those who reported higher levels of mindfulness also felt they had better control over behavior and emotions during the day. The lower activation at bedtime could certainly have benefits when it comes to falling asleep, the quality of that sleep and efforts to manage stress.

Going forward research will look at the link between all three, mindfulness, physiological markers of stress and quality of sleep to see if there’s an association and learn more about it. In the meantime, you can easily incorporate mindfulness into your own daily life and see if you notice a difference in how you feel. There is certainly no downside to trying this, and there many way to be a wonderful upside.

To your good health,

AlexVan / Pixabay

Stress Management To Prevent Chronic Pain

If you’re dealing with chronic pain, your search for relief probably seems endless, perhaps hopeless. You doctor will tell you that being anxious or stressed can make pain worse, and set in motion a vicious cycle as the pain causes more anxiety and stress. It seems that avoiding the affects of stress might play an important part in managing pain according to work that appears in the journal Brain. This finding is particularly important for those with a smaller than typical hippocampus as these people seem to be more vulnerable to the effects of stress than the rest of us.

The research by Dr. Pierre Rainville, Ph.D. of the Research Centre of the Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal (IUGM) and his team included 16 subjects who had chronic back pain and a control group of 16 healthy participants. The team was looking for relationships between 1) cortisol levels, 2) assessment of clinical pain reported by subjects before their brain scan, 3) hippocampus volumes measured using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and 4) brain activations using functional MRI that followed thermal pain stimulation. The subjects with chronic pain generally had higher cortisol levels than healthy people.

Cortisol is a hormone that’s made by the adrenal glands (sometimes known as the stress hormone) and the study shows that having a small hippocampus volume is linked to higher cortisol levels. This makes you more vulnerable to pain and having that pain become chronic.

Looking more closely at the data, the team saw that those with a smaller hippocampus had higher cortisol levels and stronger reactions to acute pain in a part of the brain involved with anticipatory anxiety that relates to pain. The response of the brain to the pain during the scan reflected, in part, the intensity of the patient’s current pain levels. This supports the idea that those with a smaller hippocampus end up with a stronger response to stress, and this in turn increases their pain and the risk of having that pain become chronic.

The research sheds more light onto the neurobiological mechanisms involved in stress and pain. No matter the reason, pain is often associated with high levels of stress, and there is value to be found in managing stress to help in treatments for those who are dealing with pain that lasts. Add stress management to your medical treatment plan by talking with a counselor, using relaxation techniques or practicing meditation.

Stress management won’t take away the pain, but it will help you get it under your control, help muscles release, while both breathing and heart rate slow down. When you relax, the mind slows and focuses on other things… becoming distracted from pain sensations so that they drop into the background.

Here are some simple stress management techniques to try…

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Fact: Poor Sleep Increases The Risk of Death/ Disease

Ever lain awake at night and counted the hours till dawn? Isn’t frustrating to be in bed and be unable to sleep?

With around 18 million prescriptions written every year for expensive sleeping pills…

…it’s clear that there’s a national epidemic.

So, what do doctors do when they can’t sleep?

Here’s the answer.

Click through today to discover the 7 mistakes that are killing your sleep, and how overcome them…
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Stress Management To Prevent Chronic Pain Continued…

- Breathe deeply, inhale and hold the breath for a few seconds, and then exhale.
Do this at least three times in a row while you close your eyes and focus only on the sound of your breath.

- Distract yourself by bringing to mind an image that is peaceful and relaxing.
Imagine doing something you enjoy that’s calming, like taking a bath, walking along the beach, resting in a hammock or just relaxing in a peaceful garden… visualize this place as vividly as possible with all sights, sounds, smells you can and take yourself there any time you need to escape.

- Sing or listen to music you find pleasant. Singing helps release tension.

- Walk away as taking a little break from a tense environment can be all you need to ease the tension building in you. Grab a water, or get some fresh air. Count to ten before you go back inside.

If these aren’t enough, you might want to look into more regular stress management techniques like practicing yoga, getting a massage, daily mediation or just schedule some down time for yourself, doing something you enjoy.

To your good health,

PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay

Improves Your Learning Speed By Remembering Error

Truly fascinating findings on how we learn. Researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine believe they’ve uncovered why we learn an identical task at a faster speed on subsequent attempts – our memories of mistakes are the key to learning faster. Imagine you’re doing something like opening a door; your brain will make comparisons of how the door moved to how it expected the door to move. The details are then absorbed in such a way that you can open the door more efficiently the next time.

The name for the small differences between what we expect out of an action and the reality of the action is “prediction errors”. Here’s how it works. Based on your experience and response patterns, your brain is able to make a prediction about what will happen given a particular stimulus or situation. When the signal you get is different from what you expect, a prediction error results. This is then used to teach the brain to respond better.

To understand more about learning and prediction errors a researchers team, led by David Herzfeld a graduate student in professor of biomedical engineering Reza Shadmehr’s, lab, came up with an ingenious experiment that involved a joystick and a pair of dots on a screen. Participants were told to guide a blue dot (the joystick, unseen by the subjects) to a red dot (target) on the screen with the joystick. As the volunteers moved the blue dot, it could be programmed to move off kilter from where it had been aimed. This caused an error. Participants had to make adjustments to compensate.

It took a few attempts before they could smoothly control the blue dot and guide it to the target, red dot. Here’s the interesting finding – the team saw that the subjects responded more quickly to small errors that pushed them consistently in one direction rather than larger errors that were not as consistent. They learned to give the frequent errors more weight in learning, discounting the flukes.

Turns out, ven the errors that come from a completely different task can provide an opportunity for the brain to refine learning.

Continues below…


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Fact: Poor Sleep Increases The Risk of Death/ Disease

Ever lain awake at night and counted the hours till dawn? Isn’t frustrating to be in bed and be unable to sleep?

With around 18 million prescriptions written every year for expensive sleeping pills…

…it’s clear that there’s a national epidemic.

So, what do doctors do when they can’t sleep?

Here’s the answer.

Click through today to discover the 7 mistakes that are killing your sleep, and how overcome them…
*Disclosure: compensated affiliate*


Improves Your Learning Speed By Remembering Error Continued…

When we learn a new motor skill, there seems to be two processes going on at the same time. One is the learning of the commands and the other is critiquing the learning experience. Think of the way a coach acts, and you have the idea. Learning a similar task goes faster because the “coach” knows what mistakes are truly worthy of attention. These findings are a big step in understanding how motor skills may be learned.

Think about this… a tennis player often finds that he/she is much better in the second five minutes of play than the first. Why? It may not be a result of muscle warming up, but rather a chance for the brain to re-experience mistakes. This has become a big [part of how science understands reward learning, and how the experience of discrepancy between the expected and the actual can make the brain better at predicting going forward.

This research on learning has been published in in the journal Science Express and may result in improved movement rehab strategies for those who have had a stroke or are suffering from another neuromotor condition. The next step is to examine which region of the brain is responsible for the coaching role in assigning different weights to different types of error.

To your good health,

cotrim / Pixabay

Boost Their Brain With After School Activities

Looks like there’s something to the, now old fashioned, idea of playing outside after school. A new study finds that up to 60 minutes of physical activity each day after school might be enough to improve cognitive functioning, while also keeping our young people in better physical shape. The researchers, led by Charles Hillman, a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, have published their findings in the journal Pediatrics.

Hillman and his team used 221 children (7-9 years old), half of whom were randomly assigned to an exercise program (called FITKids) while the other half were put on a waiting list, and thus acted as control subjects. FITKids called for the participants to take part in a minimum of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity each day after school. The intervention was designed for the way kids like to move. Short bouts of exercise with periods of rest that lasted a total of two hours. The kids wore heart monitors and pedometers during the activity periods, and both the exercise and control group took part in brain imaging and cognitive testing at the start and end of the 9-month study period.

The researchers found that children who participated in at last an hour of exercise after school showed improvements in attention, as well as being better able to avoid (block out) distractions and make the switch (cognitive flexibility) from one cognitive task to another when compared to children who didn’t take part in the program. The exercising children showed significant improvements in terms of accuracy on cognitive tasks as well as having widespread changes in brain function as well. Their fitness level, not surprisingly showed a significant increase too.

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Boost Their Brain With After School Activities Continued…

Professor Hillman notes that some of the improvement in cognitive functions could be due to the social interaction that these programs involve. Kids are social beings, and take part in physical activity in a social environment. This is a reason why children like to take part in structured sports after school; they find this type of exercise fun and a place to make new friends. The research intervention did this as well.

Today the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests that children and teens (6-17 years old) get at least an hour of activity a day. Sadly a survey of high school students from last year found only 29% had met this goal within the last week. With the numbers of obese children and teens rising, we can see plainly the affects of not being active on a regular basis, and the need for this to change.

Experts recognize that regular activity in both childhood and the teen years has many benefits for the health of the body. It can help build healthy muscles and bones, improve cholesterol levels and blood pressure, and of course, help with controlling weight. An increasing tide of research is showing that there are positive effects of physical activity on the brain function of our children. Now we parents need to get them up and get them moving – while we do the very same ourselves.

To your good health,

White77 / Pixabay

Talking Smart Matter,To Prepare Kids For School Success

As our children are now at school, many parents are wondering about how to help their child achieve academic success. To learn
all they can.
To benefit from the tremendous opportunities put before them. Science has long recognized the value of talking to our children during those early days – birth to age 3, as this helps build that foundation for success at school, and the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests reading be part of your daily routine from birth onward.

One simple approach is the 3 T strategies, Tune in, Talk more and
Take turns
. You can use these at meal times, while waiting in offices, traveling by car or during daily routines like dressing for the day or getting ready for bed. Use any opportunity to respond to what your child is saying, build your child’s vocabulary by using descriptive words and be sure to engage your little one in conversation as this encourages curiosity and strengthens social skills.

Every word you say acts to build your child’s brain. Rich, descriptive language exposes your child a larger vocabulary, and helps them become more ready to learn in all areas, because curiosity has been established and rewarded at home. A child who has been exposed to more words will naturally know more words. That’s a solid foundation for school, and this will make understanding the teacher easier. The best thing you can do for your own kids in terms of preparing them to be successful students is talk to them at home – interact together and allow their brains to absorb all the things in their world.

Reading aloud is considered a key piece of the learning success puzzle – you build a parent/child bond while strengthening your child’s language skills. They hear words you don’t use in ordinary conversation, they learn about places and people they’ve never seen. It’s a great way to tune into a child’s interests – and then talk about the book. Get a conversation started.

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Talking Smart Matter,To Prepare Kids For School Success Continued…

The great thing is that this is so easy to do. Anything you do, singing, talking, playing, responding in any way, builds up the brain. In fact, 85% of brain development takes place during those first three years of life. These are the connections a child will rely on to think, to talk and interact for the rest of its life. So the more connections, the easier thinking will be, and thus the better prepared a child will be to enter school.

Research also finds that children who were read to as infants have bigger vocabularies and more math skills when they got to kindergarten. Reading proficiency at third grade is amazingly, the most reliable predictor of graduation from high school and a successful career.

Being read to benefits every kid, even an active kid who has trouble sitting still to hear the story. Try instead to talk about the book, look at photos, tune into what about the book has caught your child’s interest and talk about that. Let young kids hold the book, turn the pages, and don’t get caught up in reading every single word. Go with the flow, if he loses interest, let him. Letting a child lead during story time is actually maximizes what your child gains, while minimizing the frustration and stress for you.

As for technology, the science on how it impacts a child’s learning isn’t clear. Until we know more, keep in mind that technology is not really the issue here, but how parents and children are using it. Devices used as babysitters are not going to offer the same benefit as if the child were working with another person, parent or sibling. After age 2, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests you limit screen time to two hours a day, and monitor choices carefully.

If you have any concerns about your child’s development, or lack of interest in books, talk with your pediatrician. Early intervention can have remarkable results.

To your good health,

geralt / Pixabay

The News About The Gut Brain Connection

It’s a fascinating concept… the trillions of tiny microorganisms in our own digestive tract may be sending signals to the brain that influence how we think and behave. Interesting too that close to 70% of our immune cells also reside in our digestive tract and are constantly circulating through the body. Science has moved = from studying pathogenic bacteria (the kind that make us sick) to working to understand more about the beneficial organisms that are naturally part of our body.

The gut/brain connection is a compelling new area of study where experts have come to recognize that the brain and digestive system do indeed talk to each other. Can you manipulate how you feel by managing the bacteria of your digestive tract? The answer is still elusive, but research is working hard to get there.

Landmark studies from Japan over ten years ago had scientists asking a new question about the role bacteria might play in helping animals have the proper stress response. About five years ago researchers showed that if you were stressed early on in life, you have a lower diversity of gut bacteria when you grow to adulthood, accompanied by behavior changes.

What science has come to understand is that the individual microbiome has an impact on almost every body system. How this communication happens is what remains to be uncovered. There may be multiple mechanisms that the body can use for the digestive system to communicate with the brain. Bacteria can signal through the vagus nerve, a connector of the enteric nervous system to the central nervous system. Metabolites (small molecules released by bacteria) can be circulated so they interact with the central nervous system.

Continues below…


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1 Quick Technique To Burn More Fat

Here’s Your Free Presentation To Discover:

The 1 sneaky technique to trick our bodies to burn more fat…

How a unique, simple and quick NEW way of moving eliminates fat – Hint: it’s
the exact opposite of boring cardio, but with no cardio at all…

How a tasty little dish eaten late at night actually boosted the most powerful fat loss hormone in our bodies while you sleep…

Click through here now to discover how to burn more fat quicker today…
*Disclosure: compensated affiliate*


The News About The Gut Brain Connection Continued…

Another area that is truly exciting is the research into autism. Parents of these children have been vocal in their belief that there is a very clear connection between the gut and the brain. Researchers including Sarkis Mazmanian, a professor of microbiology at Caltech in California recently published a study that supports autistic parents, finding that the microbiome of autistic kids is different than the best matched, normally developing control subjects. This work has always been clouded by the fact that autistic kids with GI issues were on restricted (or special) diets. No one knew if it was the autism causes the changes in the microbiome or the diet being followed.

Can such a condition be treated? The team used an organism found in the human digestive system, not something sold as a probiotic, and gave it to the autistic mice. Both the behavior and GI deficits were restored with this approach. Be aware that this has only been found in mice models, so we need to be careful of leaping too far ahead of the science.

What you need to understand is that while the area gets lots of attention, the research that gives us what we know comes from animal or preclinical studies. There’s not a lot of human data out there. Most bacteria won’t have a positive or negative effect on the function of your brain. There may be some brining positive effects, but not many. Researchers will need to proceed with caution.

To your good health,

PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay

Top 12 Concentration Killers, Part 2

Distractions are all too common in our modern world… and are very good at diverting our attention from the task at hand. In part 1 of our series on concentration killers we discussed some of the focus busting things you might suspect… social media, technology, ADHD and lack of sleep, along with tips on how to regain control. In this next section we’ll cover some of the lesser-known concentration killers, and just as before, give you some smart ways to cope.

One of the most surprising is an action intended to be efficient, multitasking. When you multitask, you believe that you’re getting more things done in a shorter time period, but the experts tell us the opposite is actually true. Research finds you lose time when you shift your attention from one task to another, and you end up doing more things in a longer time – longer than it would have been if you did one project at a time.

The fix is, when you can, put your full attention to one thing at a time, especially if you’re working on something that’s high priority, urgent or demanding. Save the multitasking, if you do it at all, for the routine stuff like cleaning up your work area while on the phone.

Bored? Turns out that tasks that don’t hold your attention make you especially vulnerable to being distracted… all the distractions we’ve mentioned in part one of this article are that much more of a draw. To fight back, make an agreement with yourself that if you stay on task to a set point (or time) you’ll get a 10-minute break. Boring things are easier to get through if you have something to look forward to.

Hunger is something you may not suspect as trouble when it comes to paying attention, but it is a major concentration killer. The brain can’t work without fuel, so if you routinely skip meals (breakfast) you set yourself up for having problems concentrating later on. Both short-term memory and attention suffer when you don’t eat breakfast in the morning according to research.

So what you do is always eat breakfast, go for high protein snacks, stay away from the simple carbs and choose whole grains instead. This is the fuel that keeps hunger away longest and gives your brain a steady stream of energy.

Nagging thoughts are notoriously hard to put aside… the worry over unfinished errands, a recent conversation, a life decision can all sap your concentration faster than anything. Your best bet here is to write down what you’re thinking. Make a list, write out pros and cons, vent – once the thoughts are on paper they are much easier to view objectively and set aside for a bit.

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Top 12 Concentration Killers, Part 2 Continued…

Another little discussed concentration killer is stress. When you feel you have too much responsibility you can have trouble focusing on tasks at work or at home. Stress takes a physical toll as well, leaving you with tight shoulders, a headache or racing heart… all this distracts you from your task.

To help yourself, stress reduction techniques – meditation, laughter, exercise – are what you need to make time for in your life. Meditation is particularly helpful in terms of curtailing stressful thoughts so they don’t take so much of your attention. Research backs this with one study showing that those who took an eight-week meditation course improved their ability to focus.

Depression is an unexpected problem in terms of concentration. The National Institute of Mental Health identifies trouble concentrating (rather than sadness) as one of the most common symptoms of depression. So if you’re having trouble focusing and you also feel hopeless, empty or indifferent for longer than a two week time period, you may well be experiencing symptoms of depression.

If this seems like you, talk with your doctor, as your condition is very treatable, not just with medication but also drug free talk therapy.

Lastly, there are times when prescription medications can cause trouble with concentration. If you find you’re having trouble staying focused, talk to your doctor (or pharmacist) to see if a drug you’re taking is affecting your ability to concentrate. If this turns out to be the case, don’t think you have no choice but to suffer, or no other medication options. An adjustment in dose can sometimes be enough, as can switching to a different class of drugs. Never stop a medication unless you have discussed this with your doctor beforehand.

To your good health,

geralt / Pixabay

Top 12 Concentration Killers, Part 1

Whether you have issues with attention or not, today’s world is full of distractions that are incredibly powerful. They are able to divert us from our purpose and scatter our resources. Fortunately, there are things you can do to handle the many unavoidable distractions, and they’re very simple steps to take.

Let’s start with some of the more obvious ones…

Social media is a fantastically easy way to stay connected with friends, and also break your connection on work or an important conversation, sometimes as often as several times an hour. Each update diverts your train of thought from your task so that you have to backtrack a bit when you take up your work task again. Not all that efficient to be sure.

The fix is the obvious one, don’t log into those sites wile you’re at work or doing something that calls for focus. If you must check in, do it at lunch or when you’re on break. For particularly bad social media habits you might need to purposely stay out of areas with internet access, so that you can’t check, even if you’re tempted.

Too many emails appearing in your inbox is often an unexpected drain on your concentration. Somehow the arrival of a new message in the inbox has a sense of urgency attached, for many people that incoming message must be checked right away and dealt with. This kind of disruption to your current task keeps you from making the progress you should for the time spent on the job.

Instead, set aside specific times of day to check your email, and for the rest of the day, shut down (or shut off the alert sound of) your email program. Now you have a block of time where you work, without being interrupted, or tempted to check something and reply.

Last but not least in terms of distraction is the tech you can’t live without, your cell phone. The ringtone commands attention like no other device can. Taking those calls costs us time in conversation; or short circuits your momentum in working the task at hand. It may also rouse tensions or stressors that keep you from focusing when you do return to work.

Take back your control by muting the ringer (all alert sounds) on your phone, and rely on the caller ID. If the call is anything other than a drop everything emergency, let it go to voicemail and return it when you are able – at lunch or when on a break. Listening to all your voicemails at one time is also more efficient than stopping what you’re doing and taking each call as it comes in.

Continues below…


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Top 12 Concentration Killers, Part 1 Continued…

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is not a problem for children since more than half of kids who have continue to have symptoms as they grow into adulthood. Trouble focusing and a short attention span are hallmark symptoms of the disorder in both kids and adults.

If staying focused is a struggle for you and this is a lifelong pattern, talk with a doctor or counselor and ask to be evaluated for ADHD. There are things you can do now, even as an adult that can help you function, and focus, better. To focus and realize your full potential.

Of course if you’re feeling tired, it’s hard to concentrate on anything, even in the best of circumstances. Research tells us that not enough sleep can affect both your attention span and short-term memory. The fix for this one is to get from 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. Being well rested helps you get more done during the day. Also of value is to watch and see when you feel most energetic during the day, and schedule your more demanding tasks for those times.

Next up… some surprising concentration zappers that you’d never expect.

To your good health,