The ABC’s to helping you stay focused
Focus can a be a struggle for kids and for adults. With school starting you may be thinking about how you can support your kids in staying focused long enough to get their homework done. Maybe you’re just focused on how you can stay focused on completing tasks. Either way here are some tips to help you foster a healthy focus and a healthy brain this school year.
A- Apply Oils or (take herbs)
Yes, natural medicine can come to the rescue to foster better brain function and focus.
My favorites for focus are Frankincense (2-3 drops under the tongue) and/or 1 drop Frankincense and 1 drop Wild Orange in water.
Another great oil to have on hand is Peppermint as this oil will certainly help to awaken and refresh the mind. An alternative for Peppermint could be Spearmint, which is preferable to some with the same benefits.
A VERY delicious and refreshing way to sneak these oils into your day would be to whip up this little focus water tonic:
-1 drop Frankincense -1 drop Spearmint -1 drop Wild Orange into chilled glass of water (doesn’t have to be chilled, but for me that’s been preferable). Enjoy.
A few great herbs to try for focus are:
Gotu Kola: this lovely herb helps to improve circulation and memory. This was one that we often gave my husband after an MMA fight as it helps to rebalance the brain as well.
Holy Basil: helps relieve mental fatigue and increase focus while also helping to calm the nervous system and uplift mood. I like this one in Tulsi Tea, which in my opinion, requires some tasty honey to sweeten it up a bit as it’s a bitter tasting tea.
Ashwaganda: helps to reduce the effects of being overworked while also boosting memory and facilitating mental clarity.
Yup, it’s as easy breathing. Seriously.
Many are prone to rapid, shallow you breathing throughout our day. Part of that comes from the stress of having to always think about a bazillion things at one. I KNOW you know what I’m talking about.
Shallow breathing throughout the day will contribute to oxygen deprivation in our brain, which of course makes it more difficult for us to stay focused (especially come afternoon).
And, if you’ve had a heavy lunch, much your blood is being sent to your digestive tract, leaving our brains feeling sluggish and sleepy.
A simple solution is to engage in a 3 minute breathing exercise to help facilitate oxygen delivery to the brain and also help to balance the nervous system.
Sit up straight (or legs crossed on the floor) and inhale for a count of 10.
Hold breath at the top for a count of 10.
And then exhale for a count of 10.
Work your way up to 20-20-20 seconds. This helps to re-center your focus, your nervous system and helps to redirect a healthy flow of oxygen into your body.
You can also bring attention to breathing patterns and get a little energy boost by taking slow deep breaths with peppermint or spearmint essential oil rubbed into the palm of your hands, hands cupped over your nose. 1-2 drops per dose is all you need.
I wanted to just call this one “exercise”, but I had to make it fit the C for A-B-C’s!
So YES! Calisthenics! Calisthenics is just a fancy term for aerobic exercise. Much of our day is spent thinking and buring mental energy. If you consider your days stressful, the need for aerobic exercise is even more important in order to preserve your brain health and function.
Extended stress periods cause an elevation in cortisol levels which can cause challenges in your short term memory centers and in your ability to focus.
Our short term memory center (called the hippocampus) has loads of cortisol receptors in it. This has everything to do with survival so on an evolutionary scale, this makes total sense. However, with modern life being so stressful, this survival mechanism has REALLY started to work against us.
As cortisol continue to bombard this part of the brain day in and day out, we start to see short term memory loss and over time and experience a more difficult time forming memories.
This is not good if you are wanting to be sharp-as-a-whip at work or into your elderly years!
A good way to help your body shed the cortisol and preserve your brain is to get up and out and physically burn off that cortisol!
Hit the pavement for a 20-45 minute walk or run. It doesn’t matter if you can run as long as you break a sweat and get your heart pumping, you will help your body burn off that excess cortisol.
This will ultimately ALSO help you sleep better, which will in and of itself improve your ability to focus throughout your day.
I hope these focus tips help serve you in all your endeavours this week and for weeks to come. Your brain is your lifeline to making things happen for you! Be sure to give your brain a little T-L-C each and every day to ensure it continues to work for your benefit!
Dr. Melissa Esguerra