Guest Editor: Steve Johnson
Do you ever wish your memory was sharper or your ability to focus and concentrate better? Many people do, particularly as they enter middle adulthood and the daily grind of work and caring for their families begins to take its toll. If you’re feeling sluggish and fatigued during the day, are having difficulty focusing on the tasks at hand, or are feeling the effects of your memory beginning to decline, there are several completely natural ways to enhance your ability to focus and sharpen your memory.
1. Eat the right foods for breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day; in fact, people who eat a healthy breakfast regularly have been found to have a lower risk of obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Your brain needs fuel to function at its best, allowing you to focus and retain information throughout the day. What you eat, though, is as important as choosing to fuel your body to start your day. Foods such as oatmeal are a good choice as it’s lower in calories and will help you feel fuller longer, so you’re less inclined to snack on less-healthy treats before lunchtime.
2. Get adequate sleep
Mental function declines as a result of fatigue or stress, thus not getting enough sleep is one of the biggest reasons many people struggle with mid-day fatigue, short-term memory issues, and a general inability to concentrate at work or home. It’s not just the number of hours you log in bed each night but also the quality of your sleep that plays a role in how rested your body feels, and thus how well your body and mind perform during the day.
3. Take focus-enhancing supplements such as thiamine, ginkgo biloba, creatine, l-tyrosine, and others
You should never add supplements to your daily regimen without first checking with your doctor or pharmacist to be sure natural supplements won’t interfere with other medications you may be taking. But if your physician gives you the go-ahead, supplements such as ginkgo biloba, thiamine, and other substances can help to improve your ability to focus and concentrate.
4. Get regular exercise
You might think that physical activity has little to do with your brain function, but regular exercise – particularly aerobic exercise – boosts catecholamines, a neurotransmitter that helps to boost your concentration levels. Find a few forms of exercise that you enjoy and can do easily and regularly. For example, you might attend local yoga classes, go for a swim, and/or go on evening walks with your partner, a neighbor, or a friend.
5. Practice effective prioritization
Prioritizing can be hard when you’re faced with dozens of important tasks and not enough time to get them all done. Effective prioritization takes practice, but there are several useful methods you can follow to help you determine which tasks should be tackled first. The Eisenhower Method, otherwise known as the Action Priority Matrix, is one such tool that can help you analyze your workload and take care of the things that matter most.
6. Clear out the clutter
It’s been said that creative people are messier, and it’s true to some extent. However, a cluttered office or home can create dozens of distractions that make it difficult for you to focus and contribute to forgetfulness and absentmindedness – not to mention, it’s a lot harder to find those misplaced keys when you’re digging through a big mess to find them. De-cluttering your office or living space can leave you feeling calmer and more relaxed, which contributes to your ability to concentrate on your most important tasks.
Nearly everyone could benefit from a better memory and an improved ability to concentrate. After all, who doesn’t want to be more effective? Taking a natural approach to modifying your lifestyle and taking care of your body can be just the solution you need for that much-needed productivity boost.
Steve Johnson is passionate about helping people find reputable health and medical information. He is also a pre-med student and health enthusiast who wants to see the world become a healthier place.