Hold That Thought!
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Now it's time to tackle the physical part of mind management. Diet and exercise form a huge part of what makes your brain work, and work well and efficiently. Your overall health and well-being can have a huge impact on your ability to focus and concentrate on the task at hand. When deadlines are looming, and the pressure is rising to do well, you may find yourself ignoring what your mind and body need.

Many people push their bodies and minds beyond what is practical and safe for the sake of an approaching deadline. They keep long hours, denying their bodies rest and relaxation; they either skip meals or eat junk food. Then they wonder why they are not able to focus and finish the task.

When it comes to food, there are many ideas and theories about what you should eat and drink to help you focus and concentrate. It's all 'food for thought.' Many swear by the use of caffeine, saying it gives them the needed boost of energy. Others use energy drinks, or chocolate or sodas to help energize them when they feel fatigued. Some do not experience the boost, but instead feel jittery and uncomfortable. This can cause more concentration problems, along with the difficulties that come when the effects wear off or when too much caffeine is ingested.

Sugar has long been regarded as a real energy booster, since the brain uses glucose as a primary source of fuel. In a study of older adults, they were given either a sweet drink or carbohydrates, which metabolizes into glucose in the body. The participants actually did better in memory tests, as compared to the results after taking a placebo. Yet doctors have proved that while sugar may give the person a boost, it is short-lived, and ends up leaving them feeling more fatigued than before.

Most doctors agree that despite the advantages of glucose on the memory, whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables and grains support health in general. They stipulate that eating a healthy diet will do more for the desired level of performance than using stimulants or energy boosters. In the end, an unhealthy diet will decrease your ability to concentrate.

Another food factor to consider is eating too much or too little. Eating a heavy meal just before an important function will make you feel lethargic, since blood is being diverted from the brain to the stomach for digestion. On the other side, eating little or nothing could result in unwanted distractions such as hunger pangs or light-headedness. Eating smaller, more frequent meals actually works best. Be sure and drink plenty of water any time you need to focus, especially when you feel sluggish.

In children, doctors have discovered that those who eat breakfast have better short-term memory than those who eat nothing. They also discovered that high-caloric breakfasts definitely impaired children's concentration. The high fat diet was found to negatively impact alertness. Once again, the more balanced diets are infinitely more desirable when it comes to positive impact on the ability to concentrate.


Many supplements are known to enhance the brain's ability to concentrate and improve memory, but they are not substitutes for whole foods. On the health food store shelves, you'll see a variety of products all claiming to enhance your mental health.

Some health conscious folks swear by the use of potassium (found in bananas and avocados), vitamins C and E (considered to be anti-oxidants), even gingko biloba and garlic (felt to be a blood thinner), and Omega-3 fatty acids as well as all B vitamins.


This will depend on a person's age, and fitness level of course. If you haven't exercised in twenty years, are over sixty, and have a smoking habit, it's a cinch you're not going to be able to run a marathon. You should probably consult with your physician first to determine your health status before starting any type of exercise regimen. However, the consensus of most doctors is that something as simple as walking each day can have a decided impact on your overall health. The release of endorphins to your brain definitely aids in concentration and focus, plus a feeling of well-being to keep you going.

So, instead of panicking just before a large project, test, or sports contest, take the advice of several experts at WebMD. They recommend that you exercise to keep your mind sharp, get a good night's sleep, eat a well-balanced meal (nothing too heavy - you don't want to get sleepy because the idea is to be wide awake and alert). You might try meditating to allow your mind to clear and feel relaxed; this will help keep you focused and ready to tackle anything. Other than those recommendations, you should try to do the necessary preparation, in advance, for whatever event awaits you. Waiting until the last moment can send you into a panic and limit your concentration.


Your body and your brain need rest and relaxation every day. Some experts insist that power naps can improve your ability to focus and concentrate, but most of us aren't able to take advantage of a catnap each day. Sleeping at your desk doesn't go over very well with most bosses.

In order to avoid insomnia, which can be a problem during times of stress and anxiety, try to establish a regular bedtime, even on weekends and days off. If you feel you must cut back on the number of hours that you sleep, go to bed at your regular time and simply get up earlier in the morning. Staying up late at night can have a negative effect on your entire day, making you feel as if you are moving in slow motion. Too many late nights can eventually affect your overall health, as well as your ability to concentrate.

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