Maximize Your Mind in the Work Environment

The mind is a powerful tool, however due to factors such as stress, fatigue, negativity or boredom we rarely use it to its optimum. Fortunately getting the most from your mind is easy, if you know how.

With various exercises, relaxation techniques and super-foods it is possible to boost brain power, improve perspective and increase focus, all of which can be extremely beneficial in the work environment.

Making slight changes to your daily routine can see a marked improvement in short-term memory, mental attitudes and thought processes, thus maximising your mind; all you need to do is follow these easy steps.

1)    Eat well

A key aspect of making the most of your mind is to look carefully at what you eat and introduce foods such as fish, nuts and blueberries which are high in essential fatty acids and various brain boosting vitamins.

High in Vitamin C and anti-oxidants, eating blueberries on a regular basis can result in improvements in short term memory and spatial learning, whilst the zinc found in pumpkin seeds not only enhances memory but also thinking skills. Additionally, pumpkin seeds are a good source of fatty acids, which can also be found in fish such as salmon, mackerel and trout, the effects of which help to maintain healthy brain function.

It is also vital to keep energy levels up, which can be done by eating whole grains like brown pasta and rice, and granary bread. These complex carbs help to release energy slowly, thus aiding concentration and preventing mid-afternoon slumps.

Not only is it important to eat well, but you should also remember to stay hydrated. The symptoms of dehydration can leave you feeling tired and lethargic; therefore it is essential to keep your water levels topped up.

Making these slight changes to your diet is an easily maintained and attainable step towards boosting brainpower, the results of which can be far reaching.

2)    Keep Stress at Bay

Stress has many negative effects on the brain, therefore keeping stress levels down is essential to get the most from your mind. Relaxation techniques, such as meditation, will get rid of stress and leave you feeling more peaceful and focused.

As meditating may not be possible in every work environment, deep breathing techniques can be just as effective in combating stress. Spending a few minutes in a quiet place with your eyes closed, focusing on taking deep, slow breaths can see all your stress and worries dissipate, leaving you feeling more alert, motivated and happier.

Doing a few simple stretches whilst sitting at your desk can also help tackle stress. Shoulder rolls, back, neck and arm stretches will all aid you in alleviating stress, leaving both your body and mind in a more relaxed state.

Another method to unwind is to massage your ears, paying particular attention to the lobes and outer ears. Stemming from ancient acupuncture and acupressure, this technique focuses on pressure points and their ability to aid relaxation. The relationship between the physical and the mental should not be underestimated – after all, healthy body, healthy mind.

3)    Workouts for the Eyes

Many computer users will find that taking short breaks to perform simple eye exercises can boost focus, help maintain healthy eyes and leave them feeling less fatigued.

One technique is to cup your palms and place them over your closed eyes, ensuring that no light is getting through. Once in this position spend a few minutes imagining complete darkness and take deep breaths, before removing your palms. Forcing you to use your imagination, this technique exercises your eyes and your mind on many levels.

Alternative exercises include focusing on a distant object for 20 seconds, before focusing on a nearby object for another 20 seconds and then repeating 4 to 5 times. You can also take a more physical approach, by either massaging your eyelids using circular motions, or using three fingers to apply gentle pressure to closed eyes for several seconds.

All of these exercises allow you to take a few moments to recharge and when done periodically throughout the working day help you to stay focused.

4)    Positive Mental Attitude

A great way to maximize your mind is with a positive mind set, this will not only help in the work place but in your personal life too. It is easy to get bogged down with negativity; however a few simple tips and tricks can have you looking at life with a clearer, more optimistic outlook.

Quickly listing or thinking of the things you are grateful for in life can help you regain perspective and have you feeling happier, with a more positive attitude in next to no time.

It is also important not to let others’ negativity get you down and not take workplace critique to heart. Next time you receive negative feedback, instead of getting downhearted, think of aspects you performed well on and where you could improve next time.

If possible, it can also be a good idea to take some time on your lunch break to go outside and get some fresh air. Not only will the fresh air leave you feeling rejuvenated but the exposure to sunlight and nature can help to make you feel more positive.

5)    Exercise Your Brain

From learning a musical instrument in your spare time to doing a tricky crossword in your lunch break, exercising your mind will help with concentration and memory. 

Learning a new career skill or taking up a new hobby increases your brain power by keeping your brain active and can also give you a confidence boost.

Challenging yourself to learn new skills or go on work related courses, not only has benefits for your career in the long term but also will help your brain function, as the brain, like all muscles needs to be exercised and the more you exercise it by learning new things, the greater its power. Seek out new experiences wherever possible, sociable experiences in particular are renowned for activating the mind.

Question: Do you have any tips on how you’ve maximized your mind?

Written on 1/7/2014 by Dan Luxton. This post was written by Dan Luxton at Liftstream.com, the executive and managerial recruitment company specializing in Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology and Life science sectors.

Photo Credit: Devar

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