Protect Your Focus and Attention Span with 5 Easy Brain Hacks - simply nootropics

Protect Your Focus and Attention Span with 5 Easy Brain Hacks

Welcome back to our series on attention span and focus! If this was Lord of the Rings, the first article would be the "Fellowship of the Ring" where we set out on our adventure, the previous article would be "The Two Towers" where everything seemed lost (but we had an epic battle scene), and then this article would be the "Return of the King" where we come back stronger than ever and win the day.

And that's exactly what we're going to do here. In this third and final article, we're going to take all we've learned and put it into practice with 5 easy brain hacks that will help you rebuild and protect your focus and attention span.

But before we get started, let's do a quick recap of what we've covered so far.

RECAP: What Causes Short Attention Spans and a Lack of Focus?

In the first article, we talked about how our attention span is shrinking and why that's a problem. We also covered some basic tips on how to improve focus.

  • We live in an "attentional pathogenic culture", where the modern world is designed to steal our attention, eroding our cognitive performance.
  • Our brains were not designed to handle the demands of modern life - we're constantly bombarded with stimuli, making it harder to stay focused.
  • There is a science behind our struggles: for one thing, the human brain is always looking for new input and information (the "explorer trait"), and this instinctive wiring for distraction becomes problematic in today's fast-paced world. Additionally, stress hormones like cortisol can impair cognitive function.
  • Lack of sleep also contributes to difficulty focusing, as sleep plays an important role in consolidating memories and helping our brain process information.
  • While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for addressing attention span and focus issues, by understanding the science behind attention and focus we can develop strategies for managing these challenges more effectively - such as using natural nootropics (cognitive enhancers).

RECAP: 5 Ways to Destroy Your Attention Span (avoid these!)

In the second article, we dove a little deeper and talked about some of the specific things that can cause a lack of focus and attention span, including:

  • Multitasking has a negative effect on our attention spans because our brains are not wired for multitasking and struggle to switch between tasks quickly enough.
  • Noisy coworkers can be a cognitive distraction because our brain is naturally wired to pay more attention to information that includes our name.
  • Email is a distraction because it's designed to be addictive and grab our attention, and it targets many of the same brain regions as other addictive substances.
  • Social media, cellphones and other devices are distractions because they give us a constant stream of information that we can't resist checking. They also have a switch cost associated with them.
  • Hunger is a distraction because when the body is lacking in nutrients, it can't function properly, including the brain

So now that we know what causes a lack of focus and attention span, let's move on to the next question:

How can we recharge our focus and attention span?

There are a number of things that we can do to help improve our attention span and focus. So let's get started! In this article, we'll share 5 easy brain hacks that you can use to improve your cognition, including some with near-instant beneficial effects.

I call them "The Five Ms":

  1. Music
  2. Motivation
  3. Meditation
  4. Movement
  5. Mind Food

1. Music to the Ears - And the Brain!

One of my favourite ways to improve focus is by listening to music. I find that if I'm working on a challenging task, listening to music that I enjoy can help me stay focused and motivated. There's something about the sound of music that helps keep my brain engaged, and I often find myself getting lost in the melody.

There's scientific research to support the benefits of listening to music for concentration. One study in 2020 found that participants who listened to music while working on a task showed increased focus and attention, as well as improved accuracy. The researchers speculated that the music may have helped the participants to filter out distractions and focus on the task at hand.

If you're looking for a way to improve your focus, try listening to music while you work. I recommend instrumental music without lyrics, as lyrics can be a distraction (like noisy coworkers, conversations, and "the cocktail effect", because our brains are trained to pay attention to words). But ultimately, choose whatever type of music you enjoy and that helps keep you on track.

Blast the Classics

A number of studies over the years have found that playing classical music in the background can help students focus and retain information better (the Mozart Effect).

So what is it about classical music that seems to help with focus? Experts suggest that it may be the complex structure of the music itself. The rhythms and patterns are often irregular, which forces the brain to pay close attention in order to follow along. This can lead to better focus and concentration overall.

While there are many different types of classical music that could potentially be beneficial, some experts suggest that the best focus aids are:

Don't like classical music? Try white noise

Listening to white noise may improve focus and concentration, and boost memory, according to a recent article in The Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience.

The researchers found that subjects who listened to white noise while looking at images remembered them better than those who listened to other sounds or no sound.

White noise activates the mesolimbic system, a region of the brain that is linked with modulating dopamine (a neurotransmitter linked with reward) and attention. Brain scans showed that listening to white noise increased neural pathways associated with learning and reward.

There are plenty of apps and websites that offer white noise, like Noisli and myNoise. White noise can help you focus better and concentrate more when you're studying, writing papers, or working from home. 

So if you want to enhance your attention and concentration, consider giving white noise a shot. Headphones are not required, but recommended!

2. Get Motivated!

When it comes to focus and attention, motivation is key. It can be hard to stay focused on a task if you're not intrinsically motivated to do it.

So if you're struggling to focus, ask yourself why you're doing the task in the first place. What's your purpose? What are your goals?

Once you have a clear understanding of your motivation, it will be easier to stay focused on the task at hand.

Attention is 90% Intention

There's a science to back up the importance of motivation when it comes to our focus and attention. "Internal motivation" is actually a complex neural process that involves the prefrontal cortex, the striatum, and the dopaminergic system. In other words, our ability to focus and pay attention is linked to our motivation.

A study from 2014 found that people who are more intrinsically motivated (i.e., doing a task for the sake of interest, enjoyment, or satisfaction) perform better on attention tests than those who are extrinsically motivated (i.e., doing a task for external rewards like money or grades).

Brain hack: write down your goals by hand

One of the best ways to stay motivated and focused on your goals is to write them down. This activates that motivation network, switching your brain to "goal-oriented mode." And it doesn't matter if you're writing them down on a piece of paper or in a notebook—what matters is the act of physically writing them out by hand!

Before you start a task, think of three reasons why you're doing it. They have to be good reasons, things that will truly motivate you to complete the task. Be honest with yourself! For example, if you're studying for an exam, your reasons might be:

  1. I want to get a good grade for the bragging rights.
  2. I want to understand the material so I can use it in my future career ($$$!).
  3. I want to prove to myself that I'm smart and capable.

Read what you've written before you start the task. This will help kick your internal motivation network into gear so that your brain can more effectively filter out any distractions and help you focus on what you need to do to achieve the goal.

Here at Simply Nootropics, we're fans of using journals to track progress and keep us motivated. We've written about how you can use gratitude journaling to activate the brain's reward pathways, increase dopamine production (which also assists with focus and concentration), and reduce stress hormones.

That's why we include a deluxe gratitude journal as biohacking gear in our Elevate Value Pack. You can use it to track your goals, write down what you're grateful for each day, and even do some brain-training exercises!

3. Mediate Your Way to Better Focus

Meditation has been shown to be an effective way to improve focus, attention, and concentration. A study from 2018 found that even brief meditation training improved participants' performance and executive functioning on an attention-based task.

How does meditation work?

When we meditate, we're training our brains to focus. We're essentially teaching our brains how to better filter out distractions and focus on a single task. Over time, this strengthens our attention span and allows us to more easily focus on tasks in our everyday lives.

There are plenty of ways to meditate, but one of the simplest and most effective ways is to focus on your breath. Sit in a comfortable position with your eyes closed and focus your attention on your breath. Follow the air as it enters and exits your nose. If your mind wanders, gently bring your attention back to your breath.

Start with just a few minutes of meditation each day and work up to longer sessions. Soon, you'll notice that it's easier to focus and pay attention throughout the day.

4. Movement: Get Your Blood Pumping

You might not think of exercise as a "brain hack" so much as a body hack, but it's one of the best things you can do for your brain health. Exercise has been shown to improve focus, attention, concentration, and executive functioning. It also supports dopamine production and promotes neurogenesis (the growth of new neurons).

Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, which delivers oxygen and nutrients. It also helps to reduce stress hormones and increase levels of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), a protein that promotes the development of new brain cells.

In addition, exercise helps to increase levels of a brain chemical called norepinephrine. Norepinephrine is known to improve concentration and keep us on task (low levels are associated with ADHD).

Aerobic exercise has a direct impact on our ability to pay attention

Recent research on young adults found that their sustained focus was improved following an aerobic workout. But it's not just young adults who benefit from exercise—older adults and those with ADHD can improve their attention span with 30 mins stationary cycling.

Boost your brain in less than a minute

But you don't always have 30 minutes to spare, right? Well, what about 30 seconds? High intensity training for 30 seconds can boost blood flow to the brain and improve cognitive function.

So if you're short on time, try a quick HIIT workout or even just do some jumping jacks or run up and down the stairs for a few minutes. Couple this with some mediation or breathing exercises to really get in the zone and experience a flow state. Brain boost: achievement unlocked!

5. Mind Food for the Ultimate Brain

Nootropics are supplements that can enhance cognitive function and protect the brain. They're often referred to as "smart drugs" or "memory enhancers".

Nootropics are not just for people with memory problems or cognitive impairment. They can also be helpful for healthy individuals who want to improve their focus, attention, and concentration.

Nootropics that can improve focus and attention

Simply Nootropics Elevate™ is a nootropic stack that contains a blend of cognitive-enhancing natural ingredients that have been clinically shown to be effective. Its most components for boosting focus and attention span include:

Bacopa monnieri (daily active 200mg)*

A traditional Ayurvedic herb that has been shown to improve memory, attention, and mental processing speed

Alpha GPC (daily active 250mg)

A compound that supports healthy levels of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in memory and learning.

Rhodiola rosea (daily active 250mg)

An adaptogen herb that helps the body cope with the distractions of stress.

Algal DHA (daily active 300mg)

An omega-3 fatty acid that supports cognitive health and brain development, and a better alternative to fish oil.

Choline Bitartrate (daily active 50mg)

A water-soluble nutrient involved in the synthesis of acetylcholine.

Jyotishmati (Celatstrus Paniculatus) (daily active 75mg)

A herb traditionally used in Ayurveda for its calming and focus-enhancing effects.

Gingko bilboa (daily active 100mg)*

A popular herb known for its brain-protecting properties.

Vitamin B6 (daily active 40mg)

A water-soluble vitamin involved in the synthesis of dopamine and other neurotransmitters that play an important role in focus.

Panax ginseng (daily active 200mg)*

A well-known adaptogenic herb that helps the body cope with stress and improve alertness.

Uridine 5'-monophosphate (daily active 100mg)

A nucleotide involved in neuronal function and synaptic plasticity. Research has shown that supplementation with uridine can improve focus and concentration by enhancing signalling in the brain. 

NMN (nicotinamide mononucleotide) (daily active 200mg)

A molecule that helps to support focus and concentration by improving communication between neurons.

Vitamin D3 (daily active 1000IU)

A vitamin that supports cognitive health and helps the brain to focus by regulating the neurotransmitters that control attention and focus. 

Zinc (daily active 14.3mg)

An essential mineral that plays a vital role in brain function. Studies have shown that zinc deficiency can lead to attention problems and difficulty concentrating.

*Also contained in our streamlined and value-packed Essentials™ stack.

Feed your brain to focus better

It can be hard, if not impossible, to get this many cognitive-enhancing nutrients from diet alone. That's why the Simply Nootropics team designed a blend that contains all of the above ingredients in one daily supplement. If you're looking for an easy way to improve your attention span and focus, this is it!

There you have it—five brain hacks to help you rebuild and protect your focus and attention span against the negative effects of stress, and distraction. By following these easy tips, you can improve your cognitive function and protect your brain health for the long term.

So, write down your goals, get a quick workout in (even 30 secs will get the blood pumping), mediate to find your zen, put on calm music, and supplement with Simply Nootropics Elevate™ to help you focus better and reach your full potential. Your mind will thank you for it!

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