Our brains play a huge part in what makes us ‘us’, and keeping your brain in tip top condition can give you that head start towards success, particularly during your studies.
If you’re looking for ways to boost your brain power in time for the first semester of the coming university year, read on to discover seven simple ways to revitalize and reenergize your mind…
1. Fit in some exercise a few times a week
Exercising doesn’t only improve our fitness levels, but can also help to develop a healthier brain. By running, cycling, swimming, or whatever form of exercise takes your fancy, you can strengthen the connections between brain cells. From this, your learning and memory skills can improve and you should be able to absorb more information from your lectures and library books.
It’s recommended that you exercise for at least 30 minutes, five times a week, but if you are relatively new to exercising, start off with a couple of times a week and slowly build it up. Otherwise you risk growing bored of the new routine, before you’ve developed the habit.
2. Get creative
Coloring in, as strange as it may sound, has been found to have the same effects on the brain as meditation – and if you search online you’ll find a huge selection of coloring books for adults, to match every interest! If cooking is more your thing, try out some new ingredients and recipes. Or if you’re more of an outdoorsy sort, challenge yourself to learn a new sport. Any time spent being creative and trying new things can really make a difference to your brain’s overall functioning.
3. Stock up on your vitamins and micronutrients
Specific vitamins and nutrients can boost brain power in various ways. While zinc and iodine can contribute to normal brain cognition, vitamin B6, B12 and folate can help to prevent fatigue, a major cause of procrastination during studies. Omega-3 and one of its essential fatty acids, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), can help the brain to function correctly – a vital part of learning – making them important nutrients to include in your daily diet.
You can boost brain power with vitamins and micronutrients by eating the following foods:
Zinc – meat, fish, legumes, mushrooms, spinach, broccoli, garlic, nuts and seeds, cereals and dairy
Iodine – cod, seaweed, turkey, yoghurt, tuna, eggs, strawberries
Vitamin B6 – pork, chicken, turkey, fish, bread, eggs, vegetables, peanuts, milk and cereals
Vitamin B12 – meat, fish, dairy and cereals
Omega-3 – fish, nuts, seeds and egg yolks
While adding each of these vitamins to your daily diet may seem overwhelming, there are plenty of nutritional supplements that can help you achieve this. The benefits of adding these vitamins and micronutrients can take several weeks to show, so try to begin adding them in as soon as possible.
It goes without saying that socializing is a significant part of your time at university, but did you know it can also help the way your brain performs? Research has found that having a conversation with someone, for as little as 10 minutes a day, can help keep your brain optimized, resulting in better memory and brain performance.
5. Allow yourself to power nap
Making sure you get enough sleep at night, as well as having a 30-minute power nap during the day, gives your body enough time to repair and rejuvenate for another day of learning and studying.
6. Break out of your daily routine
Studies have found that frequently changing your daily routine, even in the slightest way, can help energize your brain and improve your efficiency and productivity when you study. Take a different route to and from university, try shopping somewhere new, or even challenge yourself by closing your eyes when unlocking the door. Aim to be surprised at least once every day.
7. Try something new
New experiences help your brain continue to grow, as well as taking in and storing information more easily. How about starting a new sport, learning a new language or learning to play a musical instrument? Check out an exhibition at a nearby museum or art gallery, try your hand at some volunteering, or if you have enough time, get away for a day/weekend/week to a brand-new place.
Guest post: Jamie Shuck
Post credits: topuniversities.com