Overcome mental fatigue and boost your brain power with these easy practices

Scientists are finding that your brain is far more malleable than they once thought.  You can re-wire your brain by changing your behaviour, and changing your environment. Enhance your creativity using a holistic approach toward taking care of your body, mind and spirit.

Relaxation and good health are essential prerequisites to creative thinking. The body and mind should be operating at peak efficiency through a balanced diet, exercise, rest and fresh air.

To stay balanced, find a way to be outdoors for at least one hour a day and make sure you get enough sleep. Recent studies assert we need at least 8 hours of sleep to operate at  optimum capacity.

The benefits of exercise:

  • Juices up the brain with nutrients in the form of glucose. The more glucose it uses, the more active the brain.
  • Increases nerve connections to the brain
  • Increases oxygen in the bloodstream that is delivered to the brain
  • Releases endorphins into the bloodstream (the runner’s high)
  • Meditative rhythm of the running / walking / swimming – quiets mindful chatter, allowing your imagination to flow.
  • Improve the brain’s executive skills, which include planning, organizing and multitasking.

Overcome mental fatigue with Yoga breathing.

Alternate Nostril Breathing

1. Gently exhale all air. Close the right nostril with the thumb of the right hand and inhale slowly and deeply through the left nostril.

2. Close the left nostril with the ring finger, releasing the thumb, and exhale through the right.

3. Inhale through the right nostril, then close it with the thumb and exhale through the left. This makes one round.

Begin with 10 rounds and gradually increase to 40. Imagine a brilliant clear light in the middle of your head as you do this. This exercise purifies the mind and calms the emotions.

This is an excellent way to develop a practice of mindfullness, staying present in the moment by paying attention to your breathing, passing thoughts, and sensory perceptions. This practice will help you release mental chatter, and tap into your creative spirit.

Kapala Bhati

Important: Persons with high blood pressure or lung disease should not practice this exercise.

Kapala Bhati is a series of forced exhalations: exhale quickly and lightly through the nose, letting the inhalation occur as a natural reflex. Do this for up to one minute, then rest and breathe normally. Repeat exhalations. Begin with 3 rounds of 30 exhalations and gradually increase to 10 rounds of 60.

Kapala Bhati purifies the head area, clears mental cobwebs, calms the mind and the breath.

Aroma Therapy

Warning: Don’t use aroma therapy at work if you share office space.  Some oils can cause allergic reactions, and some can pose a danger to pregnant women.

A few drops of essential oils in your bath or in a diffuser will relax and refresh you. You can also put a drop or two in a cotton ball or hanky and inhale.

Energizers include:
Peppermint, Cypress and lemon.

Relaxants include:
Ylang ylang, Geranium and rose

Feed your brain with herbs, vitamins and minerals

  • Gingko bilboa and gotu kola increase blood flow to the brain. (Check with your doctor first before taking these herbs.)
  • Boron is essential for memory and attention. Sources include apples, pears and green leafy vegetables.
  • Vitamin B is essential for brain power. Sources include peas, beans, liver, kidney, chicken and eggs.

Updated Sept 24, 2012

Read what Dr Amen has to say about diet, nutrition and optimizing brain function