As the philosopher Ferris Bueller once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Distractions and demands are pressed upon us all day, every day. Non-stop emails, social media alerts, thousands of options for entertainment at your fingertips, not to mention the very real offline demands of family, work, friends and pets (don’t forget them!).
A day in the life of a human in the 21st century would have surely driven our ancestors mad, instantly.
But focus and balance are attainable, here and now. Corralling your concentration might seem like a tall order, but our brains are just waiting for a good workout. And the exercises below do for the brain what physical exercise does for the rest of our body: help keep it in shape.
Speaking of exercise, a good workout is as good for your brain as it is for your muscles. Scientific studies show exercise’s “ability to stimulate the release of chemicals in the brain that affect the health of brain cells, [as well as] the growth of new blood vessels in the brain, and even the abundance and survival of new brain cells.”
Often called a moving meditation, yoga brings focus to both brain and body, training the mind to concentrate on the present moment. While distractions from daily life may follow us into the studio, the movement and breathwork commands focus, and with time concentration comes more easily. That’s a good thing! A challenging crow pose or forearm balance needs our full attention!
We’ve heard the statistics, we’ve all heard it’s great for mental abilities. And yet, somehow, we just don’t find time for it in our busy daily lives. (Right??) But next time 5 minutes seems like too much for a bit of mindfulness, know that many people will experience a positive change in their ability to focus in just a few days.
You know that feeling after eating a great, nutrient-dense meal? Your stomach isn’t the only part of the body that benefits. Clinical nutritionist Dr. Axe suggests that “foods rich in antioxidants, good fats, vitamins and minerals provide energy and aid in maintaining good brain health.”