4 Ways to Increase Brainpower Under Stress
You’re probably already aware that excessive stress causes unpleasant physical symptoms ranging from headaches to tight muscles. However, you may not have stopped to think that a stressful lifestyle also takes its toll on your mental abilities. There are some things you can do to boost brainpower even when you’re stressed, and they’re worth trying soon.
Tackle Your Stress First
Scientists know stress kills neurons in the brain and stops new ones from being created. That’s why if you’re serious about doing things to improve the way your brain works, it’s smart to start by conquering stress.
Keep a diary that captures all the times when you get stressed, and the circumstances surrounding those incidents. Can you spot patterns in the things that trigger your stresses? You may realize you’re more stressed during certain times of the day, or when you’re in particular environments.
Once you’re aware of what causes you to get stressed, you’ll be in a much better position to minimize stress. Physical exercise, meditation, and spending time with friends are a few things people do to keep life’s pressures at bay. Regardless of how you choose to start getting stress under control, remember to personalize your methods so they are most effective.
Perhaps your friend recommended you come to a spinning class with her at the gym, and you concluded that instead of helping you feel less stressed, that type of exercise made you more anxious. That doesn’t mean you should assume all exercise will make you more stressed, but should emphasize how important it is to have a personalized stress management plan.
Speaking of exercise, researchers have found it plays a role in neurogenesis, or the creation of new brain cells. That fact alone should be enough encouragement to include some form of exercise as a technique to tame your stress levels.
Force Yourself to Remember Things
Another easy way to sharpen your brain’s abilities is to go through forced recall exercises where you repeat things over and over until they sink into your memory, and then regularly call them to mind to see if you can remember them. Try it when you need to learn new phone numbers, addresses, or names of people you meet.
Simply write down the recently learned information or store it in an app on your phone so if you do forget it, you’re not completely out of luck. Then, let your brain do its job and decide you’ll be more reliant on your memory than whatever method you used to ensure the information doesn’t get lost.
When you’re stressed, it can be incredibly hard to have a positive outlook on life, especially if you’re thinking about future matters that now seem almost impossible to achieve. However, studies have shown that positive thinking helps generate new brain cells quickly, plus it reduces anxiety.
If you’re having trouble thinking of things to be positive about, you may find it useful to start broadly. For example, be thankful you have a roof over your head and good friends in your life. Eventually, you’ll likely discover that even when things are stressful, you have many reasons to adopt and maintain a positive mindset.
Adhere to a Careful Diet
A poor diet affects your physique and it could also compromise your brainpower. Many people don’t realize that some things they eat could cause mental fogginess. Conversely, there are numerous things that are beneficial to your brain and could be easily added to your diet. They include spinach, beets, and pumpkin seeds.
If you’re thinking about following a certain diet that could help your brain but you’ve haven’t decided which one to pick, The Daniel Plan is a notable option. Dr Daniel Amen, a double board-certified physician whose clinics collectively have the world’s largest database of functional brain scans related to behavior, co-authored a book about it.
The focus of The Daniel Plan centers on realizing how once you have some essential elements in place, it’s possible to change your life forever. Besides slimming down on the diet, you may find the things you were previously so stressed about no longer have the negative impacts they once did.
There are also faith components associated with The Daniel Plan. For many people, their beliefs in a higher power help them learn to trust that things will work out for the best. If you have a faith practice that adds significantly good things to your life, The Daniel Plan may be an especially worthy diet to try. Rather than taking your faith out of the equation as you follow the dietary recommendations, it includes your belief structure.
Stress is an inevitable part of life. However, it doesn’t have to make you have chaotic thought processes, cause you to realize you cannot remember things like you once did, or believe it’s too hard to learn new things. Following the tips above could help you notice meaningful positive changes in your brainpower.