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When it comes to work/study do you:

  • Lack concentration?
  • Want to eat/drink/play/sleep?
  • Keep putting things off?

If you answer yes to questions like these,
you've experienced enemies of brainfitness.

There are many habits and situations which reduce your natural brilliance!
And stop you from being productive and successful.
These are the enemies of brainfitness.
They block your mental pathways by changing
the balance of chemicals used for high-level thinking/learning.

You will easily study better when you understand what reduces your brain efficiency. Then you can work to overcome your study problems.


(or what stops you from working easily when you need to)
Lack of sleep
When your sleep hours drop, your brain can't sort out your daily experiences properly. You need to have past events and feelings sorted out before you can tackle the events of the new day. Your brain automatically does this sorting while you are asleep or extremely relaxed.
Lack of steady brain energy
Your brain needs lots of steady energy to keep you thinking and working efficiently. Steady energy needs constant supplies of suitable blood sugar from the digestion of suitable food eaten at suitable times. Many thinking and learning problems are due to lack of 'brainfood breakfasts'. Another common student problem is trying to boost energy during the day with sweet and/or fatty food. This help is only temporary. To maintain good energy levels you need to eat or drink some complex carbohydrates and protein foods which digest more slowly and keep you going for longer.
Lack of suitable neuro-transmitters
A huge range of chemicals keep messages flowing smoothly around your brain. When the best mixture is not available, clear thinking and easy learning is reduced. The proportion of helpful neurotransmitters is less when you are affected by physical or emotional stress. Even frowning or clenching your hands can cause helpful neurotransmitters to be replaced by stress chemicals so you cannot think/learn easily.
Lack of brain oxygen
Your brain uses a massive 20% of your oxygen intake. When your work area is poorly ventilated, or your breathing is shallow, (this happens when you don't move much) your brain's supply of oxygen drops. This means you can't  manage your work-load efficiently.
Lack of water
Dehydration causes many learning and working problems, and poor general health too of course. All your cells need water all the time, and your sensitive brain most of all. Long before you feel thirsty, your brain is switching off. It can only work efficiently when it's well hydrated. The best ways to dehydrate your brain (and reduce its powers) are: have plenty of caffeine, sugar, alcohol. These are big enemies of good learning and thinking (in spite of some common beliefs!).
Lack of physical calmness
Your brain works best when you have low stress levels and your body is relaxed. Stress chemicals are produced automatically when you feel scared, pressured or threatened. These chemicals are the big enemy of brainfitness. They seriously reduce the movement of messages along your mental pathways and therefore reduce your brainpower.
Lack of cross-brain connections
Forget about whether you are right brained or left-brained - what's important is how well the two sides are linked. You need both sides to be working together! Important links can become blocked or damaged by illness or stress. Activities (work or play) which use only one side of your body can reduce the efficiency of brain linkages. So also can feelings of anxiety or fear or pressure.
Lack of personal interest/relevance/reasons
Your brain fails to spark when you are not stimulated by what's happening around you or what's happening in your imagination. When you have no strong personal reasons to be doing something, your brain reduces its activity. So you have less ability to think, work and learn.
Lack of positive planning
Your brain needs an action plan. If your brain has no firm idea (mental image) of your personal goals, it cannot do the necessary thinking and planning needed for success.


Maybe now you know how some of your habits reduce your work efficiency?
Maybe now you realise you could work faster and better by first overcoming some 'enemies' of brainfitness as listed above?


All of the 'lacks' in the list above can be overcome by taking positive action.
In other words  there are ways you can help your brain work faster and better.

YES! There are some quick and easy ways for you
to get brainfit for work and study..........

........ Read on for the good news ..........


(or how you can quickly and easily overcome the 'enemies' and study successfully)
Get more oxygen
Breathe out (exhale) more. Sighing, laughing (even just saying hahaha a few times), singing, humming, and exercise, are good ways to do this. This makes more space in your lungs for more inhaled oxyen. This means more oxygen in your brain, and better brainfitness instantly - really!
Drink some water
It's best to drink slowly, using plain warmish water. Iced water is unhelpful because it tends to close down some body functions, especially if drunk quickly. Drinking plain warmish water immediately improves the message-flow in your brain. When you want better brainfitness for work and study, avoid drinks which dehydrate - that's any containing caffeine (check labels as many commerial 'energy' drinks can be a problem), sugar, or alcohol.
Eat well
You need to plan ahead to have steady energy for study tasks. Best to eat early in the day. Foods such as whole grain cereals/bread and some protein (dairy/meat/fish/beans/eggs) release their energy steadily for many hours. Then you only need some 'top up' snacks and some water before starting work. Avoid sweet foods as they give a false feeling of energy which does not last. Avoid 'stuffing' with food before studying as this can lead to lethargy (as oxygen is re-routed from your brain to help with digestion). Brainfood is plain food. Choose your everyday food from the lists below for good brain energy whenever you require it.
  • Cereals (as natural as possible) including whole-grain breads, rice, pasta, seeds.
  • Raw or lightly cooked fruit and vegetables.
  • Protein foods such as fish, eggs, dairy foods or soy products, other beans, nuts.
  • Snack foods chosen from the above list also.
Relax your body
Physical calmness is essential for mental agility - even though common belief is otherwise. You can quickly relax your body before a study session without even lying down. Here are some quick 'calm downs' if you have not got  your own favourite method:
  • Breathe out thoroughly while lowering your shoulders.
  • Sit with your feet flat on the floor and ...
  • Imagine your feet and legs are so heavy feel like they're 'sinking' into the floor and ...
  • Place your arms, wrists, hands, gently on your desk and ...
  • Let them feel soft, floppy and heavy as they 'sink' into their resting place.
  • Keep thinking about breathing out (exhaling) smoothly and gently for a minute.
  • Do any smooth gentle movement/massage which makes you feel soft and agreeable.
  • Use some slow-beat 'relaxing' music while you do any of the above.
  • Close your eyes softly, breathe smoothly, let your face and shoulders flop downwards.
  • Think about a lovely place where you would like to be.
  • Enjoy thinking about what you can feel, hear, see, smell in this peaceful place.
  • Your peaceful place could be real or imaginary or a bit of each.
After some practice, you will be able to relax your body to order in a few seconds. Remember the idea of this is to get the best mix of brain chemicals for your work session; reading, gathering material for projects, calculating, learning for tests, - any personal study tasks.
Strengthen your cross-brain links
Make more of your brain available for thinking. Quick easy ways use movements/postures which cross over the midline of your body, or use two side of your body in opposition. Move smoothly and gently to the beat of slow music (walking pace) as you do some of these cross-overs:
  • March on the spot. Swing right arm up with left leg and vice versa.
  • Pat your left shoulder by moving your right arm across your chest. Then do the right shoulder with your left hand. Get a rhythm going for a minute or so.
  • Move your legs so they cross over your body to a smooth regular rhythm. Sit with your feet crossed and your hands linked to touch the midline of your chest. Move your eyes smoothly from side to side while your head stays still.
  • Increase your proportion of helpful neurotransmitters with oxygenation, hydration and relaxation as explained in previous sections.
These tactics quickly change the balance of brain chemical methods. They reduce the proportion of stress-related chemicals and increase the chemicals which carry messages smoothly and contribute to brain growth. Use any of the strategies above and also add any combination of the following - even though some seem weird, they are known to improve brainfitness.
  • Chew something (this moves your jaw joint which is helpful). Relaxed talking helps too.
  • Gently massage your jaw joints with two or three fingers held flat against both jaw joints. Move your fingers in a circle pattern - a few forwards and a few backwards.
  • Look up (to ceiling or sky) and smile. Say hahaha while breathing out thoroughly - or laugh!
Think Positively
This might seem strange - but stick with me! When you are feeling positive (happy/confident/positive/successful) you have brain chemistry which helps you study and learn easily. Now here's the interesting bit. When you pretend to be confident, or act as if you are happy, you can trick your brain into producing more of those helpful chemicals. This is the secret of the power of positive thinking. Another way it works is when you think about good things happening to you. To do this you need to be physically relaxed (see above) because your brain can't imagine/dream if you are tense. Slow-beat music can help get you ready for this. Some ways to purposefully 'think positive' are:
  • Stand or sit upright as if you are really confident.
  • Breathe out and let your shoulders come down and the top of your head come up.
  • Smile or laugh (just say hahaha if you can't think of anything to laugh at).
  • Sing something cheerful (nursery rhyme will do) or hum or whistle.
  • Imagine yourself being rewarded by a person you love/respect/admire.
  • Make a plan for doing something you know you will enjoy. Imagine your enjoyment.
  • Think about how you will be able to enjoy yourself when you have finished your work.
  • Imagine you are packing your books after a productive work session.
  • Imagine being at your favourite place - get a sense of how this special place feels/smells/sounds/looks.
  • Think about being in the test or exam room - see yourself smiling as you finish writing.
  • Make a map/plan of what you need to do during the study time available.

Note: You get EXTRA brainfitness if you use
a combination of the above strategies.

But it only needs a minute or two to

For more brainfitness strategies:
Check out our 2006 book for students, Study for Success

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Date last modified 07/2007 - Helios Dzine