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22 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Genius Brain Boosters to Try Before Work

www.rd.com
Genius Brain Boosters to Try Before Work

Relax with a good read

In our fast-paced day and age, it’s hard to remember to unplug and take time for the simple things that relax and stimulate our mind. Reading is certainly one of those—be it a chapter book, newspaper, or online article. “Some of the best activities to perform are ones that enrich the brain with new information, like reading,” says Jason Liauw, MD, a neurosurgeon at Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills, California. “Taking in a good book or the morning paper is not only a calming way to start your day, but it also can help you reorient your priorities, taking you momentarily out of the daily grind from yesterday before today’s begins.” Most importantly, reading can also cause a frameshift in your mind, so that when you’re in the middle of your day, you may be able to look at your routine and tasks through a different lens.

Exercise

We all know important a role exercise plays in our health and mood, but there are some additional brain-boosting reasons to sneak in a sweat session before work. “Exercise actually alters brain chemistry and has even been likened to the effect of taking antidepressants,” says Dr. Wolkin. “It signals the release of several key neurotransmitters, many of which play a vital role in keeping our brain sharp as we age.” Exercise also helps pump blood flow and oxygen to the brain, allowing our grey matter to work to its highest capacity, which translates to better and sharper decision making, judgment and memory. One study that combined memory training with yoga for older adults found significant improvement in overall memory performance, suggesting that exercise helped boost the effects of brain training.

Meditate

While it’s been around since the dawn of time, only recently have scientists focused on understanding the extent to which meditation can help improve attention, concentration, reduce anxiety and depression and improve our overall psychological makeup. “Studies have found that the amygdala, known as the brain’s ‘fight or flight’ center and the seat of our fearful and anxious emotions, decreases in brain cell volume after mindfulness practice,” says Dr. Wolkin. “The impact mindfulness exerts on our brain is born from routine—a slow, steady and consistent reckoning of our realities, and the ability to take a step back, become more aware, more accepting, less judgemental and less reactive.” Meditators also show a greater ability to recall information faster, leading researchers to believe that the ability to quickly ‘screen out’ mental noise, allows the working memory to search and find information needed more quickly and efficiently, says Daniel Amen, Ph.D., renowned brain expert, double-board-certified psychiatrist, physician, and author of Time for Bed Sleepyhead.

Play classical music in the background

The gentle, peaceful sounds of classical works from the likes of Mozart and Beethoven have long been touted as beneficial to the brain and productivity in general. The most famous study involves the so-called Mozart effect, found that listening to classical music can enhance a person’s spatial-temporal reasoning, or their ability to think long-term and abstractly. And another study by the University of Illinois found that listening to music in all types of work and professions increased work output by 6 percent. “Listening to classical music while getting dressed in the morning or exercising is a one-two punch of neural circuitry that’s been shown by researchers to significantly improve verbal fluency, cognitive functioning and overall focus and concentration,” says Dian Griesel, PhD, entrepreneur and long-recognized business and health spokesperson.

Make a gratitude list

When you bring your attention to the things in your life for which you’re grateful, your brain actually works better. Crazy, right? “Brain imaging studies show that negative thought patterns change the brain in a negative way, but that conversely, practicing gratitude literally helps you have a brain to be grateful for,” says Dr. Amen. Every day, write down five things you’re grateful for—whether that’s your dog, your job, the fact that the construction outside your apartment has finally ceased, etc. Research from the University of Pennsylvania found that when people did this exercise, they noticed a significant positive difference in their level of happiness in just three weeks. Other researchers have found that people who express gratitude on a regular basis are healthier, more optimistic, make more progress towards their goals, have a greater sense of well-being and are more helpful to others. Now that’s some serious incentive!

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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