Many people use stress as a motivator to get things done. After all, when you're "under the gun," you have to make things happen. But, in the case of ongoing long-term stress, just the opposite happens. It impairs your ability to focus and can greatly affect your ability to work.
Stress in the short-term causes adrenaline to rush into the bloodstream, giving us extra energy, ability and stamina as our senses are heightened. But after a while the senses start to become too heightened and we are easily distracted. Concentration becomes impaired. And because people tend to use stress as a motivator, so begins a self-defeating cycle with trouble focusing.
Impaired focus can have many causes besides stress. Poor nutrition, lack of sleep, nasal congestion and even your physical environment can all affect your ability to concentrate and focus throughout the day.
Here are some tips to lower stress levels and improve focus:
1. Take 5 minutes each morning to do long deep breathing. When you breath deeply and fully, you regulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which relaxes you and slows the heart rate. It brings the brain to a new level of alertness, and it regulates the body's pH (acid-alkaline balance), which affects your ability to handle stress.
Breath with me on my YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxaPu7E4XK4
2. Eat leafy greens daily. Leafy green vegetables such as kale, chard, spinach, bok choy, watercress, arugala, lettuce and broccoli, improve our ability to concentrate. High in antioxidants and carotenoids, they improve brain power, memory and focus. If you are not getting enough leafy greens, or vegetables in your diet, try a green juice every morning for a week. You will definitely notice a difference!
Here's a recipe out of my book, The Ultimate Juicing & Holistic Health Program.
Glorious Greens Drink
3. Sleep more. Many people short themselves 1 -2 hours of sleep a night. That makes a big difference on your mood, energy levels and ability to concentrate the next day. A lack of sleep impairs attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning, and problem solving.
Trouble sleeping? Try essential oils.
Lavender oil: use a high-grade essential oil. I recommend Young Living. Put a few drops on a tissue and put near your nose so you breath it in while you sleep. You can diffuse it into the air or rub it on the bottoms of your feet. SleepEssence is a blend by Young Living that also helps with sleep.
4. Skip the refined carbohydrates before bed. Consuming a lot of refined carbohydrates depletes serotonin stores and B vitamins required to convert amino acids into neurotransmitters, our chemical messengers. Eating too many refined carbohydrates overall can lead to blood sugar imbalances and cognitive impairment.
5. Clutter clear your office. Energetically, extraneous belongings and clutter will overload us mentally and emotionally. Anything in your immediate environment has an affect on you. A picture of a relative that gets on your nerves, a pile of mail that reminds you that you procrastinate, a dying plant that makes you feel bad every time you look at it. There is a saying, "Use it, love it, or lose it." There is a whole profession of people that offer clutter clearing and organizational services. Clear your space and clear your head.
For clutter clearing and Feng Shui services.
6. Clear nasal congestion. Inflammed sinuses definitely make it difficult to focus. Anyone who has had allergies can tell you that. Nasal congestion can be caused by allergies, a food intolerance such as dairy, dust or mold spores in the air, and air pollution.
Try clearing out the nasal passages with a netti pot. You can buy one at a good pharmacy or online. Some other suggestions are to put an air purifier in your office, get tested for food sensitivities and dust your workspace more often.
7. Balance your gut flora. UCLA researchers now have the first evidence that changing the bacterial environment, or microbiota, in the gut can affect brain function. In the study, women ingesting probiotics (beneficial bacteria) improved their brain function. The connection of brain function and gut flora and intestinal health is now be widely studied.
(for Nicole's recommended probiotics)
According to Dr. Emeran Mayer, a professor of medicine (digestive diseases), physiology and psychiatry at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, "There are studies showing that what we eat can alter the composition and products of the gut flora — in particular, that people with high-vegetable, fiber-based diets have a different composition of their microbiota, or gut environment, than people who eat the more typical Western diet that is high in fat and carbohydrates," Mayer said. "Now we know that this has an effect not only on the metabolism but also affects brain function."
For appointments for Health Coaching: Nicole@NicoleFeyWellness.com
For a Workplace Wellness consultation: Nicole@Wellnesstothecorp.com
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Midlife Health Coach, Juicing Expert and Kundalini Yoga Teacher