You know the feeling: Sometime you want to concentrate on the work at hand, but your brain keeps wandering of ? to the shopping you need to get done or to the glorious weather just outside your window. Poor concentration could mean that you’re bored with what you’re doing. But it could also mean that you’re too tired to pay attention. Do you want to enhance your concentration the drug free way? try these natural remedies to enhance concentration. The first is to raise your arousal levels. The brain’s attentional state is controlled by the neurotransmitters dopamine and noradrenalin. Dopamine encourages a persistent, goal-centered state of mind whereas noradrenalin produces an outward-looking, vigilant state. So not surprisingly, anything that raises dopamine levels can boost your powers of concentration.
Remedies to enhance concentration
Whether you’re a student cramming for exams, an engineer working on a project or a mom trying to keep a house and family in order, everyone can use a little help staying focused. Here is how
Breathe in, breathe out
Besides boosting oxygen levels, deep breathing also dispels feelings of anxiety that can disrupt your concentration. So close your eyes and take a deep breath, while doing that try to feel the air coming in, now breath out slowly again focusing on the air flow out of your body. Also allow your worries to get out of your mind and body by relaxing your brain and body. Repeat this 10-15 times to increase your concentration level
Consuming frequent small meals keeps your blood sugar levels steady. And that keeps you clear headed and sharp. Just make sure you avoid junk food, and especially highly processed goodies such as cakes, pastries and biscuits, which contain trans-fatty acids. These not only pile on the pounds, but are implicated in a slew of serious mental disorders, from dyslexia and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) to autism.
Select a smart snack
When your concentration begins to flag, eat a snack that pairs protein with carbohydrates. Tuna on whole-wheat bread, for example. The protein and carbohydrate combination helps sustain alertness.
Feed your brain
Your brain is the greediest organ in your body, with some quite specific dietary requirements. So it is hardly surprising that what you eat can affect how you think.
According to research published in 2003, kids breakfasting on fizzy drinks and sugary snacks performed at the level of an average 70-year-old in tests of memory and attention.
Eat high protein high fiber diet
Breakfast with the high-protein beans works best for concentration. Beans are also a good source of fiber. Research has shown a link between a high-fiber diet and improved cognition. The yeast extract is packed with B vitamins, whose brain-boosting powers have been demonstrated in many studies.
Eat choline rich foods
A smart choice for lunch is omelette and salad. Eggs are rich in choline, which your body uses to produce the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Some studies suggest that boosting dietary intake of choline may slow age-related memory loss and increase concentration.
Increase your intake of beta-carotene and Vitamins
A salad packed full of antioxidants, including beta-carotene and vitamins C and E, should also help keep brain in tip-top condition by helping to mop up damaging free radicals.
Add yogurt as a dessert
Round off lunch with a yogurt dessert, and you should be alert and ready to face the stresses of the afternoon. That’s because yogurt contains the amino acid tyrosine, needed for the production of the neurotransmitters dopamine and noradrenalin, among others. Studies by the US military indicate that tyrosine becomes depleted when we are under stress and that supplementing your intake can improve alertness and memory.
Take a break
Sometimes poor concentration is your brain’s way of telling you that you need a change of pace or a change of scenery or both. A quick walk around the block may be enough to shake off the cobwebs.
Research has shown that ginkgo biloba extract (GBE) improves concentration in people with cognitive deficiency, a condition caused by inadequate blood flow to and nerve damage in the brain. Look for a CBE product that’s labeled “24/6.” This tells you that the product contains 24 percent glycosides and 6 percent terpenes. Take 120 to 240 milligrams of CBE in two or three separate doses every day. Keep in mind that the herb works slowly. Give it at least eight weeks to do its stuff.
This herb has been used in China for centuries to treat several diseases, including memory loss and aging. A recent study has shown that ginseng can be particularly effective in recovering memory in stroke patients that suffer from dementia. As an energy booster, ginseng can also decrease blood pressure, headaches, insomnia and tremors, which can all lead to improved concentration. Tasty, organic teas containing ginseng can be found at many grocery stores, or the herb can be taken as tablet or capsule. The recommended daily dosage is up to 1200 mg, depending on your reason for taking the herb.
Ginseng and ginkgo combination
A combination of two ancient herbal remedies can dramatically boost brain power and may have applications in medicine, say scientists. Researchers showed that ginkgo biloba can improve the power of concentration, while ginseng sharpens up the memory. The effect was even more powerful if the two herbs were taken together. The most effective doses were 400 mg of ginseng, 360 mg of ginkgo, and 960 mg of the two combined.
Simply walking sedately for half an hour three times a week can improve abilities such as learning, concentration and abstract reasoning by 15 per cent. The effects are particularly noticeable in older people. Senior citizens who walk regularly perform better on memory tests than their sedentary peers. Every extra mile a week has measurable benefits. It’s not only oldies who benefit. Schoolchildren who exercise three or four times a week get higher than average exam grades at age 10 or 11. The effect is strongest in boys. Aerobic exercise may boost mental powers by getting extra oxygen to your energy-guzzling brain.
Exercise to grow new brain cells
There’s another reason why your brain loves physical exercise: it promotes the growth of new brain cells. A study in 2000, has shown that children and adults can grow new brain cells with exercise.
Yoga to boost concentration
Exercise, such as yoga, can do wonders for your brain. Last year, researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, reported results from a pilot study in which they considered the mood-altering ability of different yoga poses. Comparing back bends, forward bends and standing poses, they concluded that the best way to get a mental lift is to bend over backwards.
Never underestimate the power of a good night’s rest
Skimping on sleep does awful things to your brain. Planning, problem-solving, learning, concentration,working memory and alertness all take a hit. IQ scores tumble. “If you have been awake for 21 hours straight, your abilities are equivalent to someone who is legally drunk,” says Sean Drummond from the University of California, San Diego. And you don’t need to pull an all-nighter to suffer the effects: two or three late nights and early mornings on the trot have the same effect. If you let someone who isn’t sleep-deprived have an extra hour or two of shut-eye, they perform much better than normal on tasks requiring sustained attention, such taking an exam. And being able to concentrate harder has knock-on benefits for overall mental performance.
“Attention is the base of a mental pyramid,” says Drummond. “If you boost that, you can’t help boosting everything above it.”
These are not the only benefits of a decent night’s sleep. Sleep is when your brain processes new memories, practices and hones new skills – and even solves problems. Paying attention is a complex mental process, an interplay of zooming in on detail and stepping back to survey the big picture. So unfortunately there is no single remedy to enhance your concentration. But there are a few ways to improve it. If you prefer the drug-free approach, the best strategy is to sleep well, eat foods packed with slow-release sugars, and take lots of exercise. It also helps if you are trying to focus on something that you find interesting.