What you do every day can affect your mental faculties. These ensure the smooth running of our bodily and brain functions. Your daily routine determines how efficient your mental processes are. These are some of the lifestyle habits you should avoid if you want to boost your cognitive power.
How the Things You Do Every Day Affect Your Mental Performance
We are slaves to our schedules. We jump from one to another and stay true to procedures so that there’s no room for error. Our education has ingrained them in us.
Daily routines are convenient. They allow us to get things done quickly, without thinking too hard. We become so used to them that they kill our creativity.
Experts like psychologist Annie Murphy Paul suggest that the brain functions at its best when it’s allowed to unwind naturally. Distractions are fewer, which helps inspiration flow. The pressure of the demands of routines makes us feel as though we’re selling ourselves short, which stifles us.
Dr. Edward Siegerland, Asian Studies Professor at the University of British Columbia, suggests that our schools and work environments measure success as being able to fulfill agendas. But the actual achievement is our ability to build on our skills. Life is about the right balance. Therefore, we should follow a structure, but not too rigidly.
9 Things In Your Daily Routine That Are Killing Your Mental Performance
So, things you do every day may affect your well-being. We may not be aware of the disruption it may cause to our health. Here are some unhealthy practices that we should stop.
1. Covering your head when you sleep
Do you hide your head under the covers when you sleep? Doing this may make you feel snug but slows your cognition. Burying your head deprives your brain of much-needed oxygen and raises carbon dioxide levels. Of course, this damages your brain cells.
2. Skipping breakfast
People say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and they are right. It impacts your activities for the rest of the day. We need to recharge our mental faculties after we sleep.
The brain distributes nutrients to manage our psychological processes. Depriving it of nutrients causes it to make an unnecessary effort to function. As a result, you may lack concentration, compromise your memory, and have mood swings. Your physical and mental performances will suffer as well.
Ironically, skipping breakfast may cause weight gain. According to this study, it increases the appeal of high-calorie food.
3. Taking in too many carbohydrates
We love our french fries, bread, and pasta. The body likes its carbohydrates. However, complex carbohydrates may cause us to overeat and become addicted to treats. Besides gaining weight, we may slow our intellect, become depressed, and have poor memories.
Carbohydrates are simple sugars. Their predominance in our diets increases the risks of tumors, lack of immunity, and reduced neurological development. This study shows that it increases the risk of breast cancer. People with the compound Insulin-like growth-factor 1 tend to have increased recurrence of tumors.
Everyone can use a friendly reminder that nicotine affects our respiratory health. It affects our cardiovascular system and intellect. Nicotine causes the discharge of dopamine and thus leads to the narrowing of the cortex. The shrinking of the cortex could lead to memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease and depression.
We know how hard giving up smoking is. Choosing the right cigarettes can make a difference. Those with Kratom leaves, indigenous to Thailand, may ease some of the side effects of smoking. There are many different Kratom leaves. Besides having analgesic properties that relieve pain, they boost our immune systems and energy. According to this study, Kratom reduces anxiety and prevents addiction as well.
5. Insufficient sleep
The body needs at least 8 hours of sleep to recover from the strain of the day. It allows metabolic processes to take place and cells to revitalize. A lack of sleep results in the loss of these cells.
6. Eating too much
Doing this causes residual substances to collect in our bodies in the form of unhealthy fat. Cerebral arteries harden, which impairs their functioning. Research proves that it impedes brain insulin, which increases the risk of diabetes.
Alcohol spoils the organs, in particular, the brain and the nervous system. It kills neurons and limits their transmission. According to this study, this results in a loss of brain mass.
8. Forcing the brain to work when we are ill
We push our brains to work when we are sick, which reroutes the body’s healing energy. The strain reduces the brain’s efficiency and continues to weaken the immune system.
9. Lack of mental stimulation
Finally, a lack of cognitive activity kills the brain. Nothing gets the mind going better than a challenging word search or a session of Sudoku. Not only do they increase learning capacity but it also reduces reaction time to stimuli.
How to give your daily routine some zing
We know that being too routinized can do us harm. But we can’t do without a schedule. So, what can we do? Throw in a little spice, of course. These are some ways to give your daily routine zing.
1. Begin the day with something you love
First of all, our brains are at their peaks when we get out of bed in the morning. Take advantage of this time to do what you love. Doing what you like gets the mental wheels turning.
2. Redefine your space
Going to work and looking at an untidy desk doesn’t encourage productivity. No one wants to start work with everything in a mess. Declutter and move things around. Creating space brightens and airs the environment. You will want to start work at once.
3. Set priorities
Write down the things you need to do and look through your list. If there’s no time to do what you love, you may need to find ways to accommodate it into your schedule.
4. Note your accomplishments
Take some time to write down what you achieve each day. This way, you won’t feel as though you haven’t done anything that matters.
5. Use your downtime
You may have to spend some time in queues or waiting for friends. Make use of the time to do what you love. If you like writing, take out your tablet and get that long-awaited article done.
6. Experiment with your routine
Finally, shuffle your daily routine around once in a while. Occasional changes will ease mundanity.
In all, keeping a routine is draining, but we still need it in order to keep up with our duties. The good news is that there are ways to make it flexible.