Need to focus more at work or home? Increase attention, energy and productivity?
Here are five researched-based strategies to implement zones in your workplace/home to increase energy, a growth mindset and cognitive capabilities.
Have you ever suffered from brain fog? Feeling like your memory is declining? Or brain isn’t functioning like it used to?
When our brain isn’t functioning correctly, it can make us feel like a total loser. And who can we talk to about it? And what would we say? Hey, I know I’m not performing fully, but, um, I don’t think my brain is working quite right? Experiencing this—being in this sitch—can bring up feelings of embarrassment, guilt and shame. And like we should be able to figure it out ourselves.
I’ve had a brain injury before, and I remember vividly what it is like to face life with diminished capacity. My doctor said again and again to me, “How are you supposed to solve your problems or challenges when the very thing which solves your problems — your brain — isn’t functioning properly?”. He was trying to get across the point that I wasn’t a failure and expected far too much of myself. No one would expect me to run on a shattered leg was another analogy he used. Yet, I expected I should be able to live a normal life and make my own intelligent decisions, and I was always surprised when I couldn’t. It led to overeating, drinking too much and the other things people who can’t manage their emotions end up doing to make themselves feel better and change their state.
There can be many things that can cause our brains to temporarily not operate at capacity.
Stuff going on at home.
Death or injury of a loved one, pet, friend, colleague.
The list goes on and on.
COVID & brain function.
Doctors in a large Chicago Medical Centre found that more than 40% of patients with COVID showed neurologic manifestations at the outset, and more than 30% of those had impaired cognition. Then the stress that COVID has caused to each and every one of us? Limiting our freedom. Emotionally. Mentally. And certainly financially…The impacts reach each and every one of us. Personally, and in the workplace.
KK, so by now, I’m sure you get the point. Someone in the workplace or at home that you know won’t be optimally functioning upstairs. So what can we do about it? How can we help? Leaders do stuff. They are movers and shakers. They change things. Leaders go first.
I’m a lady of systems. Of models, maxims, methods and frameworks. I believe in research backed-strategies.
I also believe it’s really important to make learning fun.
Rather than singling people out who have had COVID or who are suffering, or having mental health challenges, we can make our homes or workplaces zoned with places where we practice energy, we practice increasing our cognitive ability (aka brain function), and we practice managing our mindset.
Energy is not something we have, it is a state of being, and we can practice and train our nervous systems.
Mindset refers to whether we believe qualities such as intelligence and talent are fixed or changeable traits. Our mindset plays a critical role in how we cope with life’s challenges. A growth mindset can contribute to greater achievement, promotion, and increased effort from employees in the workplace. When facing a problem such as trying to find a new job, taking on new responsibilities or bouncing back from challenges, people with growth mindsets show greater resilience. They are more likely to persevere in the face of setbacks, while those with fixed mindsets are more liable to give up.
Here are five researched-based fun strategies you can implement in your workplace—or at home—to increase energy, a growth mindset and cognitive capabilities.
1. Play innovative video games (specifically focusing on increasing memory, attention and cognitive skills)
EndeavorRX has become the first prescription video game to receive FDA approval as a post-COVID treatment for people with ADHD — to help with brain fog and cognitive skills. Many people who survived the disease say that they’re often confused and have difficulty focusing, and research studies show that the symptoms can stick around for months after they recover, so it’s not necessarily limited to those with ADHD; it could help people who are having issues focusing, concentrating, paying attention etc.
Read more here.
Action: Set up a little video game zone, headsets & a 10-minute timer in the workplace (or at home) with games like this.
2. Listen to Music
Do you want an easy way to increase creative brainpower? Or instantly change your mood? The answer may lie in turning on some music. According to a 2017 study, listening to happy tunes helps generate more innovative solutions than silence. This means, cranking up some feel-good music can help boost your creative thinking and brainpower.
Action: Try a silent disco in the workplace.
Bonus: Try an after lunch blast of music throughout the workplace where everyone stands up with energy and shakes their bodies out/dance on the spot (drains lymphatic system, increases energy, music for mood, bonds to one another etc.)
3. Get Jiggy with it
Whether you’re putting together a 1,000-piece image of the Eiffel Tower or joining 100 pieces to make Mickey Mouse, working on a jigsaw puzzle is an excellent way to strengthen your brain.
Research has shown that doing jigsaw puzzles recruits multiple cognitive abilities and is a protective factor for visuospatial cognitive aging. In other words, when putting together a jigsaw puzzle, you have to look at different pieces and figure out where they fit within the larger picture. This can be a great way to challenge and exercise your brain.
Action: Put out an extraordinarily large puzzle that employees can work on in a communal area.
Bonus credit: Adults are just big kids. Try creating a Lego-Masters zone.
4. Dance your heart out
The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control promotes learning new dance moves that can increase our brain’s processing speed and memory. In other words, bust a move on the dance floor, and your brain will thank you.
Taking a salsa, tap, hip-hop, or contemporary dance class.
Try a Zumba or jazz exercise class.
Watch an online video with fun dance moves you’ve always wanted to learn.
Action: Stream an online class on the daily, or a couple of times per week. The timing? Ask your employees when works best with their schedules.
I recommend Kinrgy.
Bonus Tiny Habit Recipe — Takes 5-seconds or less to do!
After I pour a glass of water, I will do a happy, jiggly dance on the spot.
5. Build vocabulary — as a team
A rich vocabulary has a way of making us sound smart. But did you know you can also turn a quick vocab lesson into a stimulating brain game?
Research shows that many more regions of the brain are involved in vocabulary tasks, particularly in areas that are important for visual and auditory processing.
Action: Download a word of the day app. Use the same one in your team.
Try to use that word five times during the day within your team. Have fun with it.
The bottom line
Focusing on your brain health is one of the best things we can do to improve our concentration, focus, memory, and mental agility, no matter what age we are. By incorporating brain exercises into our everyday life, we get to challenge our mind, sharpen our cognitive skills, and possibly learn something new and enriching along the way, too.