5 ways to improve mental performance

1) Meditation

The term meditation has been associated with a lot of other "hippie" practices and ideologies, however its a far cry from just a new age trend. Studies have shown that in just 2 week, it is possible to affect your brains' performance through mindfulness practice. Breathing, mindfulness and walking meditation have been shown to have many health benefits, one of which is the ability to restore mental clarity. Think of meditation as a "mental task manager", shutting down all the noise in your head and back-up thoughts that overwhelm you and distract you from your important tasks and issue. If you want to try meditation, apps like Calm and Headspace are extremely useful, as well as the website FreeBuddhistAudio, which includes guided meditations and lectures.

 

2) Bacopa Monnieri + Ginkgo Biloba

Both know for their effect on memory and concentration, these two plants essentially boost micro-circulation in the brain, helping blood flow through all the areas of your brain more effectively. Studies show that both of these herbs perform significantly better than placebo, however the effect does take an average of 2 weeks to show. I have used both herbs in combination, experimenting with various doses until I land in the most effective dose for me and I can say that the results were profound.

 

3) Rhodiola rosea

A powerful adaptogen used widely for balancing stress and anxiety and preventing adrenal burnout. Using any potent adaptogen (such as Rhodiola, Reishi, Ashwagandha etc.), does more than just mellow your mood; consistent use of adaptogens will result in less spikes in your cortisol (stress hormone) levels, therefore taking away the jittery feeling of stress, providing with clean levels of energy and allowing your brain to function in a state without risking burnout.

 

4) Caffeine + L-theanine

We all know the effects of caffeine. However not all coffee is the same and also "little is good, more must be better" does not apply here. Choose local coffee artisans, get freshly ground beans, brew them bellow 100 degrees Celsius and combine your coffee with 150-200mg of L-theanine (which naturally occurs in smaller doses in tea), to get a stable energy kick without getting nervous and agitated.

 

5) Gratitude training

Powerful technique. Powerful. Especially if you are (like me) born in a family that always provided you with everything and in an environment of abundance, you may often forget to be thankful for the things you have and focus on the things you don't. Gratitude training (check out the app Bliss and also 5 Minute Journal), trains your brain to be in a state of gratitude, positivity and humility, therefore boosting your brain capacity as your brain is no longer occupied (or at least not as much) by negative or ungrateful thoughts.

 

As always, consult your doctor or medical professional before trying out any of my advice.

 

References and sources:

http://science.sciencemag.org/content/167/3926/1751.short

http://www.ghpjournal.com/article/0163-8343(82)90026-3/abstract?cc=y=

http://ijp-online.com/article.asp?issn=0253-7613;year=1997;volume=29;issue=5;spage=359;epage=365;aulast=Singh;type=0

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s002130100815#page-1

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0924224499000448

 

 

Get the 5 minute journal:

https://www.intelligentchange.com/products/the-five-minute-journal

 

Gratitude training app:

http://bliss31.com/

 

Meditation:

https://www.calm.com/

http://www.freebuddhistaudio.com/