How Creating a New Ritual Can Benefit Your Brain
Did you know that just 3% of the population are wired to multitask?
What the rest of us do is what is called switch tasking. This involves the mind switching from one task to the next and back and forth.
This puts an immense amount of stress on our prefrontal cortex and can reduce the ability for our brains to be at our best!
So how do we overcome this and keep strong, clear focus?
The number one responsibility of our brain is to keep us alive and safe. This means that the brain is always scanning for potential danger and threats, always on the lookout for problems. How beautiful of the brain to protect us this way, but they are programmed to fear and not to faith. Our brains automate everything they can, programming us to make decisions and react often unconsciously. The great news is that we are in charge of our brain and we can take back control and develop a winning mind-set. Replace regret with learning, fear with hope and sadness with joy. Our brains are so beautiful and one of the most magnificent resources that we have.
These simple techniques can allow for reprogrammed, healthy and happy brains.
1. Gratitude Journaling
Write down each day, or say out load all of the things that you are grateful for or appreciate. This can be as small as your daily cup of tea, but make sure to do this practice every day. Gratitude journaling is so powerful and has a profound influence on our brain. Speaking aloud or writing on paper is more powerful than thinking the thought and dopamine will follow the daily practice.
2. Brain Boost!
Our brain is influenced not only influenced by our pre-programmed automations and thoughts, but also by our body and our surroundings. When we feel anxious, sad or heated, the first thing we want to do is check our body. Check the physical!
- Check the breathing.
Often in times of stress, we stop breathing or adopt a shallow breath. Instead take 10 deep breaths, counting in for 4, counting out for 4, or try box breathing. In for 4, hold for 4, out for 4, hold for 4, repeat.
- Hydration. Drink
Eat a minimum of 5 portions of vegetables per day and replenish key nutrients daily. Alongside water, adequate amounts of proteins, good fats, complex carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals are key. Replenish your nutrient levels daily.
- Move around and shake it out
Our new Work From Home environments can prompt long periods of sitting. Our brains evolve whilst we are moving. If you have been sitting for a while, get up, stand up, take a 5 minute walk and
- Get Outside
Let fresh oxygen naturally flow to the brain. If you can’t get outside at the time, get up and stretch.
Not getting enough sleep, takes away our gift of focus. Switch off and aim for 8hours of undisturbed sleep nightly.
Once you have checked your physical body, check the environment that you are in. If you are in a situation making you feel negative thoughts and emotions:
- Change the scenery. You may return to the former place to resolve any unresolved issues and conflict once the brain is calmer and clear.
3. Label your emotions. Emotions can distract us and it is important to remember that we are not our emotions. Labelling our emotions can help us to simply observe them and let them pass through.
The limbic system is the part of the brain that processes our emotion.
The prefrontal cortex sits right behind our forehead and is the part of the brain that responsible for our cognitive abilities, decision-making and logical thinking.
When we feel overly emotional, our prefrontal cortex dis-engages and our limbic system takes over. We don’t want to be making decisions when this happens, as our brain is not in the clearest space to do that.
Thinking and labelling what we are feeling re-engages the prefrontal cortex.
Notice the effect the emotion has on the body. Emotions such as worry, jealousy, anger and anxiety can lead us to tense up and release the stress hormone cortisol, which is a hormone we don’t want in our bodies too much of the time. When we feel the body tense, allow for it to open. Relax and drop, the shoulders, lean back, unclench your fingers. A body scan is a great tool to check in with the effects of emotions on your body and release them.
4. Give yourself the act of self-love and focus on the present. Mediation, mindfulness and focusing on the breath are all wonderful tools to embed the practice of living in the present.
5. Create a positive belief system. Daily mantras can be a wonderful way to build this. Mantras such as: “The universe has my back, I am strong and I am at peace” are wonderful starting mantras to introduce to your morning routine. Mantras should be unique and specific to you. When things don’t go the way you would have liked or if you are living with any form of regret, tell yourself each day” I did the best I could at the time”. This will allow you to let go of the past, rewire the brain to forgiveness of self and of others and create the space to build new and positive neural pathways and for joy.
6. Supplement your lifestyle with Nootropics
Nootropics are nutritional supplements that support and provide nutrients to the brain. They are designed to support performance, clarity and focus.
Beautifully Nourished's mild Nootropic Cognitive Enhancer £18 features Guarana extract to help with the reduction of mental and physical fatigue. Gingko Biloba extract positively affects energy, mood and memory. Amino acids; L-Taurine, L-Carnitine, L-Arginine and Choline Bitartrate helps to enhance cognitive functions such as memory, focus, mental performance and alertness.
Beautifully Nourished’s 5HTP £18, short for 5-Hydroxytryptophan, is a naturally occurring amino acid and chemical precursor as well as a metabolic intermediate in the biosynthesis of the neurotransmitter Serotonin.
Serotonin levels can affect mood, sleep patterns, appetite, memory, learning and impulse control. The level of serotonin in the brain has an adverse effect on our state of restfulness and restlessness.
Beautifully Nourished’s 5HTP has been extracted from the seeds of the African plant know as 'Griffonia Simplicifolia' and precisely dosed to provide safe and effective levels of this essential amino acid, with the aim to support mental wellbeing, mood and clarity.