We all sometimes wish we could use our brains better. We want to create ideas with more ease, do the work faster and find the connection between the most distant dots, especially when brain performance would help us at work. And there is a way to improve your grey matter performance by just implementing a few easy lifestyle changes.
At ShapeShift we have developed a Spectrum Happiness Framework for lifestyle management which has four components and 12 phases. The 12 areas help you balance your life, gain essential decision-making skills and feel a tangible improvement in our happiness. Moreover, subtle changes in these 12 areas can also help you improve your brain performance.
In this series of four articles, we take one little change in 12 Lifestyle Areas which help you improve your Brain Performance on a massive scale. We start with the first component– Body Transformation.
Body Transformation component
Have you heard the famous saying “Healthy Body – Healthy Mind”? Multiple studies have demonstrated that people who have stronger bodies also are better in information retention, analysis and problem-solving. We can link it back to the concept of Neuroplasticity and multiple intelligences.
Multiple Intelligence is a theory which states that every person has at least eight intelligence – some better developed than other – and Physical Intelligence is one of them. Neuroscience on the other hand highlights that each part in the body connects to the brain. the connection works both ways – the brain controls all the processes and actions, and by performing specific activities we form new neural networks in the brain areas, to which the processes and body parts link.
Body Transformation component of the Spectrum has three phases. Below you can find an overview of each together with corresponding lifestyle tips for a better brain performance:
Nutrition and Brain Performance
Did you know that more than half of our brain is made of fats? We need fats to nurture our mind and make it more efficient; in the end, we are indeed what we eat. However, some fats will be more beneficial than others in helping our brain to function better. These are good or unsaturated Fatty Acids. An influential group within the latter are the Essential Fatty Acids – Omega 3 and Omega 6, which you should supply in the right proportions.
Most of the people do not get enough of Omega- 3 in their diet, which impacts their brain health significantly. Omega-3 deficiency is even linked to depression and used in Nutritional Psychiatry to correct the symptoms of this condition. Studies on children consuming more Omega-3 have shown that they significantly outperform their peers who follow a more regular diet.
The best way to correct your Omega-3 to 6 proportion is to add more fatty fish in your food. Good vegan source of Omega-3 is flaxseed oil, even though the structure of the fatty acids in plant sources is a bit different and would take longer to correct Omega-3 to 6 balance. On top of foods with essential fatty acids, add some other healthy unsaturated fats. Good sources of unsaturated fats are avocados, nuts, and seeds. Add more of these foods into your daily diet, and you will be surprised how much better you perform and how much happier you feel!
Health and Wellness and Brain Performance
This area of Spectrum concentrates on physical activity, healthy lifestyle habits and proper rest. We probably don’t need to tell you how sports improve your brain health. But did you know that sleep (in the right amount and of good quality) is an indispensable part of brain functioning? In fact, sleep deprivation can cause permanent damage to your brain cells and impair your dexterity even in simple routine tasks. Therefore, if you care how well you think, you should find enough time for your quality sleep. No excuses!
Research shows that individuals who are sleep deprived suffer a significant loss in productivity when assessed objectively. But what’s more interesting, evaluating themselves subjectively, research participants do not notice any decline in how well they perform their regular tasks. The study finding clearly highlights that when we don’t get enough sleep not only we become less productive, but also our judgment gets deregulated not allowing us objectively assess that our mind performs slower. Therefore, next time when you think that you don’t have time to sleep because there are more important things to do, remember that you are only fulling yourself. By sleeping better, you make yourself much more productive and can do the same work faster and more efficient.
Most people’s optimal sleeping pattern is 7 to 9 hours of good quality uninterrupted sleep. Notice, that sleep duration is only one ingredient to a good recovery, another being sleep quality. Start with creating a regular sleeping schedule to get more time to rest and progressively work on how well you sleep. Sleep quality can be improved by practicing mindfulness and having the right diet, as well as adopting stress-management techniques. Make sure to unwind an hour before the bedtime to sail into the dreamland smoothly. What you shouldn’t do during this time is using electronic devices, perform a stimulating activity or expose yourself to bright light. Make this time your self-time. Read a book, listen to calming music, dim the lights, take a bath, meditate or simply go for a relaxing walk. You will improve your melatonin production and therefore will prepare you for a better brain recovery and more productive time the day after.
Extra tip: to further improve your day, have an organized morning routine.
Image and Body-Care and Brain Performance
Psychologists have long ago uncovered that changing the way you dress changes the way you think. You can stimulate your brain with immediate effect by merely dressing up! By wearing the clothes you associate with a specific profession, role or status you impersonate this association, awakening different parts of the brain. Some research has investigated how people start thinking differently just by wearing a formal suit with observed significant improvement in their performance which follows. Dressing influences how we think, how we communicate and how we feel. In the end, the saying “wearing different hats” did not come into existence without reason.
For the real-life example, we do not need to look far. The fantastic creatures of Walt Disney’s imagination are assigned to his Creativity Strategy, still widely used at the Walt Disney Company as well as outside of it. Disney was evaluating each of his ideas from three different angles – the Creative, the Critic and the Planner. To feel the role the best he was literally dressing up differently for each of the profiles. Such power the clothes have on our brain!
Any time you feel a creative boost would help you out, think which role would the best resolve the problem you are struggling with. What clothes signify this role for you? This is especially useful when you have a relaxed dressing code at work or have home-office frequently. Work on your personal branding and experiment with how you work wearing different outfits. Pick your personas and impersonate them through your dressing style!
To get a boost in productivity and significantly improve your brain performance you don’t need to change your life massively. Take little steps and implement really simple changes in your daily routine to observe a significant impact that will serve you a lifetime! When you are consistent with improving your mental function, the benefits will compound and won’t stop surprising you. Build a happier life through informed habit management. We did it; you can too!
Along with Body Transformation, there are three more Components in Spectrum: Social Engagement, Professional Evolution, and Mental Revolution. Similarly, each of them consists of 3 phases where small tweaks could help you improve your brain performance. Using Spectrum Framework will help you to balance your life, increase happiness and get empowered with science-backed solutions. Be your own architect and redesign yourself with Spectrum!