4 Ways to Improve Brain Health at Work
by Shane Power, President of Watertree Health
June kicks off Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, which is a great reminder to give some extra care to the most powerful, yet complex organ in our bodies. Our brains are responsible for every single thing we do—billions of nerves are constantly communicating with one another, firing off signals without our conscious awareness. For the millions of full-time employees in America, work can create a great livelihood, but it can also be a major contributor to physical and mental exhaustion. To help combat that, I’d like to share ways you can help boost your brain health while at work.
Get a handle on stress
Cortisol, the stress hormone released in the brain, can wreak havoc on your immune system and put you at increased risk for many health problems. Chronic stress may also cause a reduction in brain cells. Taking a moment to slow down and collect yourself may help you be more productive. Try to focus on what you are accomplishing rather than what you’re not.
Eat healthy snacks
Food is needed to fuel our minds and bodies. Dark chocolate, nuts, or even low-sugar protein bars are all examples of foods that can help boost brain activity. Avoiding processed foods and curbing sugar intake will help keep steady energy levels so you can keep your mind sharp throughout the day.
Some of us like to consider ourselves masters of multitasking, but instead we’re masters of splitting our attention. You may feel pressure at work to complete a number of tasks at once, but it’s important to stay focused on one thing at a time so as not to overwhelm your brain. Some simple suggestions are to prioritize your tasks, set time blocks for each project, and turn off notifications on your devices. I have also found that it’s helpful to close out multiple window tabs or pull out one tab to focus on.
Checking in with your body can help determine what you may need in that moment. Stretching and meditating (deep breathing sessions) can help decrease built-up tension and replenish your brain and body with the oxygen it needs to complete cognitive duties.
The brain’s capacity to process information and perform tasks is astounding, but it needs our active help to stay healthy. Changing the approach to how you work can be extremely beneficial to your brain and overall health in the long run.