If you or your children “wander off task” and are disorganized, this could be helpful.
If you feel like you need to move around constantly (even when it’s not appropriate) and you talk, tap, or stretch, then this information could increase your energy endurance.
Our ability to capture and USE focus comes naturally to some. For those of us that need to stoke the focus-fire to stay mentally fit, there is hope.
Obviously, focus is the issue at hand.
Understanding the basis of attention deficits and attention variability disorders can help your family learn the necessary strategies to positively leverage this well understood, but complicated brain-state.
The good news is that you can get started today. There are 3 simple steps you can take to propel your children’s performance in school, advance your spot in the company, or explode your budding business by fine-tuning your focus.
Did you know that certain types of regular exercise have been proven to repurpose and redefine the brain’s use of the “extra energy” associated with ADHD?
Since the early 1990’s, neuroscientists have been producing study after study further defining the benefits of regular aerobic and complex forms of exercise on the brain, specifically when it comes to areas of the brain which are intertwined with our attention systems. We know there are certain regions of the brain associated with specific functions like movement, reading, or vision. However, what makes holding our attention (and treating those who seem to struggle with it) such a tedious task, is that the attention systems are spread out throughout the whole brain in various regions, creating many contributing factors and variables.
What we do know is that through the act of exercise, our body can affect these variables positively. Even simply learning to breathe correctly can help to balance our brain’s chemical and electrical environments. This a VERY EFFECTIVE tool for everyone, attention deficits or not.
There are many resources pertaining to the types of exercise and strategies for beginning and advancing your athletic and mental training. Simply following through with 30 minutes of exercise and movement every day is a powerful tool that will change your life for the better, including the undeniable perk of a brain that is more adaptable and focused.
If you want to gather a better understanding of how incredible powerful movement is, read this recommended book: Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by John Ratey MD
Eat good stuff.
It’s no coincidence that as our societies increase exposure to higher levels of chemical stressors (food additives, dyes, medications, chemicals, household cleaners, body care products) there has been a MASSIVE increase in diagnosis of neurological conditions like ADD/ADHD, dementia, depression, anxiety, and many more.
You may not have control over factors like the air pollution in your region, or the amount of trace heavy metals in your city water supply, but you CAN control what you stick in your mouth to chew up, which is destined to literally become the new cells that continuously grow to make up your body.
I’m not talking about “going 100% organic” by tomorrow which has the stigma of being both expensive and time-consuming, although it’s a quickly growing common sense approach to removing unhealthy toxic stress from your system.
I have a simple approach with my patients: get good at one thing at a time.
If questioned, any of my patients will tell you that I rarely encourage them to immediately remove or restrict many of their current poor habits at first, but simply start by trying to sustainably add in one good thing at a time, and get good at it. My favorite starter project is learning to make chocolate mouse that taste like chocolate Jello pudding, but is made of avocados and other superfoods.
You’re adding in avocado (one of the healthiest brain foods to date) along with local honey to help the immune system stave off pesky allergies while avoiding the attention-devouring side effects of processed artificial sugars. You’ve got organic Cocoa powder full of life-giving minerals and anti-oxidants that produce the necessary neurotransmitters (chemicals produced in the brain) needed for proper electrical and chemical brain function. Also, it’s damn good.
We like this one: CLICK HERE FOR AN INTERESTING RECIPE
I don’t put my name on many things these days, as it takes time to do the research on companies and products, what they are made from, and how they work into my patients lives. With one of my primary focuses on ADD/ADHD and attention deficits, this is one thing I recommend reading and learning more about.
Spoiler alert! If you want to cultivate your brain power, you and your kids need to ditch the sugary drinks and honestly look at drinking primarily clean, fresh water. Anything in addition to water, you should be asking yourself “is this drink helping, or hurting me?”
If you want to learn more about this brain-booster: Click Here!
Structure and Organize your daily activities around your brain and body’s Peak Performance Hours.
Let’s use the adult daily schedule for work as our example.
When I started a doctorate program in St. Louis, MO, I had been previously prescribed medications and advised to avoid caffeine and sugar as part of my strategy for a steady intense course load. I didn’t have any other strategies going into this grueling course of study. This new load of responsibility forced me and my peers to learn to effectively organize our days and weeks into energy-sustainable practices.
A Helpful Perspective on the Brain
It’s a well known fact that the brain produces and uses electricity to effectively “run” our body. You can imagine that if you have a brain that does not produce an adequate amount of electrical activity, it could cause challenges for a person trying to function in daily life. By studying EEG (the electrical activity of brains!) we have discovered that an under-aroused brain state produces a whole host of issues, as seen in the chart below:
Starting my graduate studies battling my misunderstanding of attention deficits, I stood staring down the hall into year-round classes, mid-term and final exams, 5 parts of national examination, and 297 credit hours of coursework designed to carve me into a clinician and a chiropractor.
I knew I had to learn to focus on my own, so I started to independently study the brain activity you can see on an EEG and the parts of the “fight or flight” response that we can measure in the body.
If you want to hack your daily schedule and boost your peak performance you can start with structuring and organizing your daily activities. Peak performance eludes to the times during our day where the brain and body are tuned for focus, naturally. Think of it like the most calm and attention-rich state of mind, with effortless physical stamina.
Let’s unpack Peak Performance into types and see how you can mesh them into your daily schedule…
One mental shift and one movement shift.
Lifestyle changes are often necessary to stay healthy and learn to recover from mental and physical stress efficiently. One must learn to keep a stable energy state by incorporating physical exercise, sleep and hydration, and basic healthy eating habits. These crucial initial steps wiliest you up for successfully harnessing your peak performance. Get good at one thing a time.
AM Activity or “first shift”
No matter if you are a mover or a thinker in the morning, your first shift should include hourly movement. Those who have peak mental hours in the morning may use the first shift to spend reading and researching, making phones calls, writing emails, and reviewing their schedule into the most pressing obligations. Movers may choose to exercise, leave their home or office for any driving errands or appointments and save the organizing and emailing for later. This time span of sunrise through noontime should be spent doing the activities that mesh best with your brain’s peak performance rhythm. However you choose to use your time during the first shift, there are many DIY ways to create standing desk spaces that allow you to use today’s necessary working technology. Many companies will also work to provide a more ergonomic environment to work in upon request.
Afternoon Activity or “second shift”
As these ability produce focus shifts nearing mid day, I begin to look for opportunity to get a recess activity. Think of your childhood recess time, simply going outside for a minute or getting away from the desk for at least 30 minutes. The rush of electrical stimulation that movement and new environments create in the brain allow us to pull through the rest of the day with a second wave of focus, positivity, and focused energy. Find a schedule that works for you and commit to taking a small step in the right direction with a short walk and an extra glass of water each day. Resist the urge to have sweet treats and sugary drinks in the afternoon, as this spike in blood sugar is short-lived and not a sustainable way to create forepeak performance hours.
If you have variable attention or if you experience any of what is described above, then please take this information and pick one thing to get good at. The information in this article is not intended to replace specific advice from a physician on your health care team.
As always, I am personally reachable through the forms here and I am available for free 15 minute phone conversations with those of you looking to get the help you or your children need to start changing your brain and life, now.