In this article, I will show you how you can increase your brain power and concentrate better. No matter what situation you find yourself in, whether student, office worker or manager. These simple tips are guaranteed to get you ahead! πŸ‘‹

How to Increase the Brain Power

TL;DR A growth mindset comes from the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through effort.

Already in the 19th century, it was known that success can only be achieved through 100% concentration and focus. And although US researchers at the University of Utah found out that more efficiency through multitasking is a myth and rather has the opposite effect, people are doing it more and more frequently. [source]

But in the age of globalization & digitization, it is not easy to really concentrate. Even if you don’t work in an open-plan office, there are dangerous distractions lurking around every corner that will turn your plans for more productivity into reality.

Did you know:
 On average, people use their mobile phones 5 hours a day and look at their smartphones 85 times. This was the finding of a study by Nottingham Trent University in the UK. [source]

And it’s not just the cell phone that’s a concentration killer. Constant availability has become fashionable and we always want to be up to date. This not only reduces our concentration and brain power but also leads to enormous psychological stress.

A few years ago I felt the same way. I was constantly tired and exhausted. The battery was simply empty, even after sleeping. It was extremely difficult for me to concentrate on one thing for more than 20 minutes. The result was that my work performance and motivation dropped sharply and I even had some depressive episodes at times. I was definitely miles away from success.

If you feel like it, then you’ve come to the right place! Because I had decided after some time that it cannot go on like this. I planned to become happy and successful. And for that, I changed my life with a few simple steps.

Understanding the brain and learning to use it efficiently

Before I show you how you can concentrate better and increase your brain power, it is important that you understand how your brain works in thinking and remembering processes.

how does the brain work

The brain is a complex of 100 billion nerve cells (neurons). It processes all sensory perceptions in a highly differentiated way and coordinates our behavior. This makes it the hard disk of our body, so to speak.

Although it accounts for only 2% of our weight, it consumes 20% of our energy. Therefore, a sufficient supply of the right nutrients is essential for our brain performance, but later on.

The biochemical process of thinking is very complex. It is important to know how we remember things, i.e. how our memory becomes active. Every sensory perception (seeing, smelling, tasting, feeling) creates connections (synapses) between the neurons. The more intensive and frequent we have one and the same sensory perception, the more “stable” the connection is and the easier it is for us to remember. [source]

Did you know: For example, intelligence is not determined by the amount of neurons present in the brain, but rather by the variety and type of connections between the brain cells. This makes it clear that intelligence can be acquired and trained through targeted thinking.

But how can you now increase your memory & brain power?

Numerous studies have shown that the brain remembers images and graphics much better than text. This effect can be intensified by linking the information with strong feelings.

Quick learning tip: Visualize your learning material in graphics and overviews and think of your big goal before learning (e.g. become an expert in your field or buy a house) to motivate you and arouse positive feelings.

Did you know these disturbing statistics about concentration & memory?

  • 1.5% of the German population suffer from dementia. An increase is forecast for the coming years.
  • Every second person feels stressed or under pressure.
  • In the USA, employees waste 28 billion working hours (588 billion US dollars) annually through distractions and multitasking. According to the DAK Health Report, every third office worker in Germany suffers from the flood of information. Managers are particularly affected. The American psychotherapist & Harvard doctor Edward Hallowell diagnoses the Attention Deficit Trait (ADT), a lack of concentration in head workers, in up to 40 percent of managers.
  • In order to reduce anxiety and stress, about three million Germans take prescription pills and stimulants – regardless of the sometimes considerable health risks.
  • According to the latest studies, cognitive performance decreases steadily from the age of 24 onwards. 9] So if you feel stressed and you feel like you can’t do anything, you’re definitely not alone. But to put your health, which is already suffering enormously from digital and psychological stress, at risk with unhealthy stimulants is no solution!
  • According to a survey, 1.51 million Germans are already aware of this and take prescription-free & harmless substances to increase their concentration or memory (as of 2014).

Which prescription-free and healthy alternatives to Ritalin & Co. there are, I will show you below.

Eliminate these concentration killers and increase your memory performance

You now know how your head works and how important your mental focus is to achieve your goals in a productive way. And now comes the problem:

Most people are unproductive because they do not identify and remove their concentration blocks.

Distractions and interruptions


These include ringing/vibrating phones & emails, interruptions by colleagues, noise, false music, a chaotic desk, or poor planning.


Missing exercise

If you do not train your concentration, you will not be able to concentrate better. There are, for example, countless apps for brain jogging. But also a Sudoku does it πŸ˜‰

Low frustration tolerance

If you get frustrated quickly when something doesn't work out right away, you quickly become unfocused & unproductive.

Lack of motivation & interest

A person works best when he is intrinsically motivated. Who sees no sense in his task, is usually also unfocused and can be quickly distracted.

Procrastination

There's nothing easier than to push things around. Who lives true to the motto "what you can get today, postpone to tomorrow", will not achieve much.

Multitasking

Numerous studies have shown that the brain cannot multitask. If you want to do several things at the same time, you will need more time than if you had done it one after the other.

Health Problems & Stress

Anyone who is not fit in terms of health or suffers from psychological stress due to constant overload will find it difficult to focus on their tasks.

Emotional Problems

Grief & emotional dissatisfaction do not let you work productively and concentrated.

If you catch yourself being often unfocused, don’t judge yourself for it. Instead, go to cause research and try to eliminate your concentration disrupters step by step. You will see that you can concentrate better after a short time and get more out of your to-do’s!

Now I will show you which adjusting screws you can turn to increase your brain power and to be able to concentrate better.

6 quickly convertible concentration boosters

1


Better concentration through intrinsic motivation

As already mentioned with the concentration blockades, you will only be able to concentrate poorly without self-motivation. Now there are tasks that are really not fun or do not make sense in your eyes. I know that!

The solution here is to keep the goal in mind. What awaits you when you have made it? Is it an important part to reach a higher goal? The sooner you have completed the task, the sooner you can dedicate yourself to the part of your work that you enjoy.

Another way is to reward yourself for completing these tasks. If, for example, I have to spend hours helping out in accounting, although I would much rather research and work on exciting texts like these, then I reward myself with an active break in the fresh air and a delicious snack from my favorite cafΓ©.

The thought of my reward gives me a good mood and time flies by. In addition, I make fewer mistakes by my better concentration, which would hold me only still longer at the unpleasant work.

2


Eliminate distractions & concentrate better

Do you immediately reach for your cell phone when it vibrates? Do you have a radio or television on the side? Are you a hardcore Facebook user or do you respond instantly to every push message?

You should definitely change that!

Every distraction doubles your error rate and you need considerably more time because your brain has to work its way back to the last step of the concentration phase. In short: you think some thoughts twice if you let yourself be distracted

Here’s just a list of how you can eliminate all your distractions to help you concentrate and brain power and save a lot of time:

  • Prioritize your tasks and organize your daily routine. Create time slots in which you can really concentrate on just one task.
  • Go to a quiet place where no mobile phone can ring and no colleagues can bother you. This place should be tidy and you should feel comfortable. Why tidy? We all know that when unpleasant work is on the agenda, we even prefer to clean up.
  • Switch off push notifications through team chats and e-mails for your concentration phases.
  • Even the wrong music can distract you. Music can lift your spirits, but if you prefer to sing and dance along, it’s definitely the wrong music. But there is music that is supposed to increase your brain power and concentration in a certain beat and a certain pitch.
  • Switch your phone to mute or put it far away so you won’t be tempted by push messages.

3


Better concentration with these productivity techniques

Create a learning place without possibilities of distraction and work e.g. according to the very effective Pomodoro technique: Work 25 minutes concentrated on a task and then take 5 minutes break. Repeat the whole thing 4 times and then take a longer break of 20 minutes.

The productivity technique that helps me the most to eliminate distractions and concentrate better is “Getting Things Done”. Essentially, it’s about keeping all your tasks and thoughts in a to-do list, prioritizing them accordingly and setting deadlines. The free tool Trello, for example, is perfectly suited for this.

But also the simple Google calendar with reminder function or a sheet of paper do it. This method clears your mind and enables full concentration and creativity. Remembering now takes over your to-do list.

Are you interested in further productivity techniques? We have even more tips and tricks for you in this article: “10 Ways How to Increase Productivity”!

4


Better concentration with the right lifestyle

Pain due to unhealthy and one-sided posture or overexertion, as well as a lack of nutrients due to incorrect or inadequate nutrition is the number one concentration and motivation killers.

Note: You can only increase your brain power and concentration if your body lacks nothing!

Furthermore, it is important that your body and especially your head is supplied with sufficient energy and the right nutrients in order to be able to achieve maximum performance. In addition to a generally varied diet with lots of vegetables, there are a number of very interesting plants for the brain.

Free radicals are produced daily in our body by various oxidation processes, which can cause inflammations and neurological disorders. It is therefore important to take in sufficient antioxidants through food, which bind the free radicals and reduce oxidative stress.

Rich in antioxidants is, for example, blueberries and aronia. The group of B vitamins is often referred to as “brain food”. They play a decisive role in the formation of neurotransmitters and nerve cells. Unfortunately, the body cannot store this vitamin group (apart from vitamin B12), so you should eat enough every day.

Foods with a high vitamin B content include meat, seafood, seeds, lettuce, lentils, bananas, spinach, avocados, wheat germ, and cauliflower.

Sun vitamin D3 is also important for the protection of your nerve cells. Especially in the winter months, when we only get very little sun, we should look for alternatives. For example, I occasionally use a so-called daylight lamp when I don’t get out much. This also stimulates vitamin D3 production in the body. The mood is also improved by sufficient vitamin D3 in the body.

Furthermore, some medicinal plants are very interesting for the protection and function of the brain, for example, roseroot. It contains so-called adaptogens. Adaptogens support the adaptation in special stress phases (support of the mental and physical resistance) and contribute to a normalization of the stress reaction.

Another medicinal plant useful for the head is the tuber Brahmi, which comes from India. Brahmi contains bacosides and saponins which are said to improve cognitive abilities.

Ginkgo extract from leaves is also said to have a neuroprotective effect and promote blood circulation in the brain. Among other things, the use of ginkgo extract in the treatment of concentration disorders or dementia is being discussed.

5


Increase brain performance through brain doping?

According to studies, every 5th student takes performance-enhancing drugs in the form of medication, drugs such as Ritalin and other unhealthy stimulants. [source]

These frightening results are the result of the growing fast-paced nature of life and the increasing demands and burdens we place on ourselves. But is short-term success justified in the form of more energy and alertness, the long-term risks of high blood pressure and tachycardia, psychosis and insomnia?

No! And some startups such as Neuronade or Koawach have already recognized this and rely on healthy and above all natural ingredients.

6


Increase brain power through pauses & relaxation

All the right preparation and a healthy diet won’t do you any good if you don’t give your head regular breaks. Every 10th employee does not take time for breaks. But who gives however regularly full throttle, risks a total loss. Today we call this burnout. Take a break so that it doesn’t happen, and do it regularly!

At best, you actively shape them and go for a walk. This frees your mind and stimulates your metabolism. For example, I never try to work longer than 50 minutes at a time. Then I take a short break, have a drink, mobilize your spine with gymnastics and go on. Learn how to take a proper break and thus achieve more serenity and relaxation.

relaxation for concentrating

You should also look for a balance after the work is done. For example, read a book, meet up with friends or go to sports. Above all, regular sport helps against back pain. This is important to be able to switch off and not take the work stress home with you.

The excuse that you’re too broken doesn’t matter to your body or your psyche, by the way. Even a 10-minute intensive workout is enough. And I promise you that you will feel great afterward. Don’t worry, it was also a huge overcoming for me in the beginning.

Last but not least, our sleep decides whether we are exhausted or full of energy. Therefore it is important to sleep sufficiently and deeply.

How does that work? Quite simply:

  • Sleep hygiene: Everything that has nothing to do with sleeping does not belong in your bedroom. Eating in bed and watching TV may sound comfortable, but it’s detrimental to your sleep.
  • Bedroom temperature: The optimum temperature is between 16 and 20 degrees Celsius, depending on how you feel warm. It is equally important to ventilate well at least before sleeping. The humidity should be between 45 and 65 %.
  • Manage liquid: After 16 o’clock one should do without caffeine and alcohol because it stimulates too much. Herbal teas or warm milk with honey are better. Both promote your relaxation.
  • The right food: Optimally you eat the last time 3h before going to bed. If this period is not possible for you, at least avoid hard to digest foods such as wholemeal bread, fruit, and salads.
  • Sufficient exercise: Shortly before going to bed you should not do an intensive sports program, otherwise your body will not rest. But that’s no excuse for no exercise at all. Especially if you spend the whole day sitting in the office, you should be demanding your body before or after work.
  • Positive distraction: Most sleepless nights are caused by pondering and stress. Ensure positive distraction before bedtime. For example, I like to read a few pages or keep busy with my pets.
  • Avoid light: Our nervous system reacts very sensitively to blue light and we wake up. Blue light is in some lamps, mobile phones, laptops, and TVs. If you can’t get away from your mobile phone in the evening, your inner clock will get out of sync. [20]

4 ingenious exercises to increase your brain power

Do you want to concentrate better? I will show you 5 simple but effective exercises to increase your brain power and improve your concentration.

1


Count letters

Count any letter in the following grid.

2


Write backwards

Grab any text and write it down backward. Sounds simple? Then good luck πŸ˜‰

3


Focus your gaze

Try to focus your gaze on a point as long as possible and not think about anything. The effect is the same as when meditating – afterward, you are more concentrated.

4


Sudoku

sudoku test

Increase brain power & use flashes of inspiration

Do you know it? You are faced with a seemingly unsolvable problem and are absolutely at a loss of how to solve it. And suddenly all of a sudden, seemingly arbitrarily, the sparking idea comes to you – a flash of inspiration.

Wouldn’t it be practical if you could influence the development of brilliant ideas and problem solutions? Researchers have succeeded in finding the cause of such flashes of genius and can now even predict them up to eight seconds before they occur.

The right hemisphere of the brain is responsible for the flashes. It creates connections between seemingly unrelated things, whereas the left hemisphere is more responsible for structuring the information. Jonan Lehrer, who led the research, found that flashes of inspiration only occur when there are great perplexity and the threat of failure. But why is that so?

Teacher calls it unfocused concentration. Moments in which one leaves one’s tunnel vision and is willing to pay attention to trivial things are the incubator for creativity. In these moments the alpha waves measurable in front of the brain are constant.

This is the case, for example, when taking a hot shower, going for a walk and waking up. Therefore you should have a notepad on your bedside table. The best birthday ideas have already come to me here.

Conclusion: As you can see, there is no need for a miracle for a better concentration and you can train it with a few tricks!

Here is a short summary of how you can increase your brain power and concentrate better:

  • Move regularly & eat a varied diet
  • Take (preferably active) breaks so that your head can recover
  • Train your brain with Sudoku, focusing or an App
  • Avoid unhealthy stimulants with high risks

How do you manage to concentrate optimally on your tasks? I am looking forward to your experiences in the comments! πŸ’™

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