100 Ways to Kickstart Your Brain On a Lazy Day

Brainwaves

Brainwaves

By Olivia Coleman

Everyone has those days at school or work when your brain is moving just a little slower than usual. If you find yourself up against a lazy day, give one of these tricks a try to get your brain going. With suggestions on brain-boosting foods and drinks, games, trivia, exercise and fun strategies, you are sure to find a way to wake up your brain from the list below.

Brain-Boosting Drinks

Sometimes all your brain needs is a drink to get it going. The following drinks will all give your brain that extra boost it needs to start pumping.

  1. Chai. This tea infused with a variety of spices and blended with milk or a non-dairy milk substitute will awaken your senses and your brain.
  2. Kombucha. In addition to the multiple health benefits of this unusual drink, it is primarily a detoxifier for the body. It also gets your brain pumping pretty quickly.
  3. Water. Staying hydrated benefits your body and brain by keeping you detoxified and oxygenated, so drink plenty of water for a brain boost.
  4. Matcha. This stone-ground, powdered form of green tea is a super-concentrated version of the green tea that comes in tea bags and provides a super blast for your brain.
  5. Caffeine. As this study indicates, a little caffeine may be beneficial to your brain, so have that cup of coffee when you brain feels a little sluggish.
  6. Kava kava. Long used in the South Pacific, kava kava is reported to induce both brain stimulation and anxiety reduction.
  7. Smoothies. A simple brain-boosting smoothie with fresh fruits and yogurt or a bit of protein powder will have your brain working again in no time.
  8. Ginkgo biloba tea. Ginkgo biloba tea helps promote blood flow, memory, and mental alertness.
  9. Ginseng tea. Tea made from the ginseng root provides better mental acuity as well as boosts blood circulation, reduces fatigue, and a host of other benefits.

Brain-Boosting Foods

From the instant benefit of cinnamon and peppermint to the longer-lasting benefits of blueberries, these foods are great ways to get the blood flowing in your brain on a lazy day.

  1. Cinnamon and peppermint. Research shows that cinnamon and peppermint stimulates the brain. Have some gum or tea and give it a shot.
  2. Fish oil. This nutrient, either obtained through eating fish or taking a good-quality supplement, not only increases overall physical health, it also helps boost your brain power.
  3. Apples. Long associated with healthy nutrition, an apple a day can provide brain health benefits.
  4. Salmon. Salmon is good for your body and your brain. This super food is high in omega-3 EFAs and protein, low in cholesterol and contains quite a few B vitamins, calcium, zinc, iron and magnesium.
  5. Avocado. Avocados have monosaturated fat (the good fat), which increases blood flow, which gives your brain a boost.
  6. Curry. Curry, and especially the turmeric in curry dishes, have been shown to boost cognition. The tantalizing taste will also help wake up your brain.
  7. Antioxidants. Eating foods that are antioxidants can help improve focus, problem-solving, and memory.
  8. Fruits and veggies. Fresh fruits and vegetables are a great brain booster. Learn about the benefits of fresh fruit and vegetables to your brain.
  9. Whole grains. Two and a half servings of whole grains a day can significantly reduce your chance for a stroke and keeps your brain in top shape.
  10. Olive oil. This healthy oil has been shown to break up clots in capillaries and generally help with blood flow.
  11. Blueberries. These little berries really pack a punch when it comes to brain health. Pop a few when your blood sugar and brain function feel low.
  12. Cocoa. Foods containing cocoa, like chocolate, may provide benefits for memory and learning, and the endorphins raised by eating chocolate will also provide a more immediate boost for your brain.

Cerveau fort

Simple Tricks

If your brain is stuck in a rut, try any of these fun and simple tricks to get it going again.

  1. Doodle. NPR reports how doodling can kickstart your brain when it is bored.
  2. Journal. Write down your thoughts, create a poem, or find some other way to express yourself in a personal journal.
  3. Music. Listening to music, whether it’s a small chamber music ensemble or a full-out rock show, will stimulate your brain.
  4. Listen to Mozart. Learn about “The Mozart Effect” and how it can help your brain get going and work better.
  5. Study a foreign language. Listen to a bit of a foreign language tape or go online to study a bit to get your brain in gear.
  6. Switch hands. Try using your less dominant hand for simple tasks like eating or writing to stimulate your brain.
  7. Think positively. A simple change of perspective can perk your brain and make you feel empowered as well.
  8. Smile. Smile and laugh often. A silly joke or sharing a smile with a co-worker or friend is a fun way to get your brain going again.
  9. Aromatherapy. Aromatherapy offers a boost to your brain through various scents which work to stimulate, calm, energize, and more.
  10. Use your brain. Doing tasks such as avoiding the calculator for simple arithmetic or thinking through perplexing problems is sure to get your mind working.
  11. Write down dreams. Do this as soon as you wake up in the morning. This is especially effective if you are trying to come up with creative ideas or solutions.
  12. Send a note to a friend. Whether you send a quick text message or hand-write a note, the social connection and shift of focus will help kickstart your brain.
  13. Use chopsticks. The mental challenge of using chopsticks with a snack or lunch will give your brain a boost and teach you a new skill.

Video Games

Video games can get your brain working–research shows some games can even help fight Alzheimer’s. Check out these games for a fun way to start your brain.

  1. MUO Games. MakeUseOf offers four games to help your brain start working.
  2. Truantduck.com Chinese Checkers. Play this classic game against the droid and practice your strategy skills.
  3. Simon Says. Practice your memory skills by playing Simon Says online. It’s amazingly similar to the real thing.
  4. Legends of Elveron. Try this fantasy game that is all about strategy to get your brain working.
  5. Diner Dash. Serve diners with this popular online game where you make sure everyone gets seated, orders, and gets their food without getting angry.
  6. Super Money Ball. Try one of these mini games from Sega to improve your eye-hand coordination and really get your brain working.
  7. Escapa. Click and hold the red square and avoid getting hit by the blue squares or hitting a wall with this challenging game.
  8. Oregon Trail. Get on the Oregon Trail and download this old favorite.
  9. Hit the Dot. This game challenges you to click on each of the dots as they appear to see how many you can get in 30 seconds.
  10. The Blue Button Game. Click on the fast-moving blue button to keep playing, but if you click on a red or orange one, the game ends.
  11. Game Gecko Racing Games. Play several racing games online at this site.
  12. Dogfight 2. Using your arrow and space bar keys, participate in airplane dogfights with this flying game.
  13. Tetris. This classic game will sharpen both eye-hand coordination and quick, logical thinking.
  14. Breakout. This game requires you to keep the ball in play until it breaks all the blocks at the top.

Brain Games

The following games are all especially for you brain and will help you get your brain moving on a lazy day and strengthen it, too.

  1. BrainCurls. Exercise your brain with the games at this site that include jigsaws, memory games, and games that sharpen your observation skills.
  2. Games for the Brain. With popular brain games like Mastermind, chess, and Sudoku, you will find plenty of games for your brain.
  3. Brain Bashers. With 5 new games added each week, you can always find lots of video game fun for your brain here.
  4. Puzzability Sampler. The puzzles here include both interactive and non-interactive versions of word games like Hangman, Acrostic, and Slider.
  5. Thinks.com Jigsaw Puzzles. Work these jigsaw puzzles for a great online workout for your mind.
  6. BrainTraining 101. These brain games include many different logic, puzzle, memory, classic, and action games.
  7. Braingle. Brain teasers, riddles, trivia, and brain exercises are some of the fun activities on this website.
  8. Fit Brains. Play the free brain games here that are developed by scientists with the goal of providing the best fitness for your brain.
  9. Sharp Brains Brain Teasers and Games. These 50 games are especially meant to help exercise and sharpen your mind.
  10. Freedom Years Games. These brain games include jigsaw puzzles, memory game, Sudoku, and more.
  11. HAPPYneuron. Brain fitness becomes a science with the fun games and activities here.
  12. Brain Age. Available on Nintendo DS, this game is excellent for sharpening the brain, according to a study done by a competing software company, and keeping it going.

Other Games

From classics like Scrabble and checkers to word puzzles to knowledge quizzes that benefit those less fortunate, the following games will get your brain working.

  1. Word puzzles. Solve brainteasers such as anagrams, logic problems, rebuses any time you have a few extra minutes to get your brain going.
  2. Scrabble. Connect with others for an online Scrabble game to get your brain pumping.
  3. Chess. Learn how to play chess, or play online, so you can take advantage of the well-known brain benefits of this game.
  4. Do a jigsaw puzzle. Working jigsaw puzzles exercises spatial recognition, analytical processes, eye-hand coordination and will wake up a sleepy brain.
  5. Crosswords. The benefits of working crossword puzzles are many and even help keep dementia at bay as you age. Work one online or in the morning paper to jumpstart your brain any time.
  6. Logic Puzzles. Solve these free logic puzzles that provide an easy-to-use solving grid.
  7. Mahjong. Play free Mahjong games here with a variety for the casual player to the master.
  8. Checkers. Try to beat the computer in this checkers game or challenge a friend in person.
  9. Bridge. While you may not have time for a full-blown game in the middle of the day, play online or watch others for a bit to help get your brain moving.
  10. Backgammon. Nabisco brings backgammon to you for free with this online version you can play to give your brain a boost.
  11. FreeRice. Test yourself in several categories including English, Chemistry, Geography, Art, Math, and foreign languages to get your brain buzzing and help feed the hungry at no cost to you.

Trivia

Learning a bit of trivia not only gets your brain working when it’s going slowly, but it also helps strengthen it. Give these fun trivia resources a try.

  1. 100 Fascinating Facts You Never Knew about the Human Brain. Learn some facts about the human brain to get yours working on a lazy day.
  2. Kickstart Your Brain With 21 TRUE Trivia Tidbits. Read these factoids for an easy brain spark.
  3. Fun Trivia Quizzes. Choose from several different trivia categories and take the quizzes to test your trivia knowledge and give your brain a boost.
  4. Trivial Trivia Collection. Get celebrity trivia, unusual trivia, or select from specific trivia categories to learn plenty here.
  5. Useful Trivia. Choose from Bible, history, holiday, TV trivia, and plenty of other categories.
  6. Trivia Cafe. Trivia Cafe provides daily and weekly questions, contests, and more to get your brain in gear.
  7. Triviaplaza. Find fun facts about music, movies, geography, science, literature, and more at this site.
  8. Random facts. Browse through this listing of random facts in order to add to your trivia knowledge.
  9. Fun Funny Facts. With information ranging from cockroaches to the memory of goldfish, you are sure to find fun facts to stimulate your brain when it’s moving slowly.

Exercises

Physical activity stimulates blood flow, which can help perk up your brain. Do these exercises to help get your brain going when it falls into a slump.

  1. Take a walk. When your brain begins to flag, stand up and take a walk to get the blood flowing and your brain working again.
  2. Tai Chi. This ancient form of exercise uses a graceful form of stretching to keep your brain physically fit.
  3. Sex. Enjoy sex with your partner. Not only will it stimulate your senses, it has also been shown to sharpen your mind through its cardiovascular benefits.
  4. Take the stairs. Skip the elevator and use the stairs to get your blood flowing and your brain pumping.
  5. Yoga. Not only is yoga an excellent low-impact form of exercise, its benefits also extend to mental well-being. Use simple yoga stretches any time of the day for an instant brain boost.
  6. Yard work. Mowing the lawn, raking leaves, or just picking up the twigs that have fallen on the yard are all great ways to get moving and wake up your mind.
  7. Walk the dog. Getting Fido and yourself outside for a walk to perk up your brain.
  8. Swim. Jump in the lake or take a swim at your neighborhood pool for a great way to wake your brain.
  9. Bike. A leisurely bike ride through a park or down a dedicated bike trail is not only a good way to stimulate your brain, but you will enjoy the scenery and physical exercise too.
  10. Dance. Stand up and dance to put your body in motion and wake your brain. Dancing also offers anti-aging benefits.
  11. Golf. Enjoy a round of golf or hitting at the range during lunch for exercise as well as a brain stimulant.
  12. Hike. Put on some sturdy shoes and head out. Hiking can be as easy as exploring a city park during lunch.
  13. Tennis. The mental and physical stimulation of this popular game will have your brain buzzing in no time.

Quiet Activities

You might think that quiet activities wouldn’t help get your brain going when it’s dragging, but give these a shot to find out how much they can help.

  1. Read. Whether you are keeping up the news online, sitting down with a good book, or checking out the latest gossip magazine, do some reading each day.
  2. Hobbies. Work on a hobby to get your creative juices flowing and keep your brain working.
  3. Knitting. Putting your hands to work and letting your mind wander a bit will get your brain back on track in no time. If you don’t know how to knit, learn here.
  4. Breathing. The deep, relaxing form of breathing used during yoga practice oxygenates the body, which stimulates the brain.
  5. Relaxation exercises. Try some of these relaxation exercises and you will teach your body how to feel more calm and your brain more focused.
  6. Meditation. For improving focus and stress relief, mediation can’t be beat.
  7. Surf the Internet. Not only does surfing the Internet provide plenty of new information to stimulate your brain, the combined requirements of decision-making and specific strategies necessary when surfing also provide benefits for the brain.
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Benefits of Drinking Water When You First Wake Up

Posted by × November 28, 2013 at 10:16 am

Takeaway: One of the best things you can do after you wake up: drink at least 16oz (500mL) of water. Water fires up your metabolism, hydrates you, helps your body flush out toxins, gives your brain fuel, and may even make you eat less.
Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes, 3s.

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If you like this article you might also dig this productivity experiment I just finished up: The top 10 things I learned drinking only water for a month.

Imagine not drinking any water, tea, or any other liquids for the next eight hours.

Well, that’s essentially what you do while you sleep. While you sleep, your body slowly becomes dehydrated because it needs fluid to operate. Naturally, you don’t drink water while you sleep because, well, you’re sleeping!

I’m reducing my body fat from 17% to 10% for a productivity experiment, and drinking a huge glass of water right after I wake up is something both my personal trainer and dietician recommended to reduce my body fat. Especially this week, when I’m being a complete slob in the name of productivity, it’s helping my energy levels a ton.

189795_6601Most sources I’ve read recommend drinking 16oz of water right after you wake up, and I’d recommend even more (depending on your weight; I drink 1-2L every morning and weigh 173 pounds). Here are five solid reasons to drink a big glass of water right when you wake up.

  • It fires up your metabolism. Drinking a large, cool glass of water after you wake up has been shown to fire up your metabolism by a whopping 24% for 90 minutes!1
  • You’re dehydrated when you wake up. You just went 7-8 hours without drinking any water! Even if your body isn’t telling you that it’s thirsty, it probably is.
  • Water helps your body flush out toxins. “Your kidneys do an amazing job of cleansing and ridding your body of toxins as long as your intake of fluids is adequate”, according to Kenneth Ellner, an Atlanta-based dermatologist. Getting fluids into your body right after your wake up will help your body flush out toxins first thing in the morning.2
  • Your brain tissue is 75% water. When you’re not properly hydrated, your brain operates on less fuel, and you can feel drained, or experience fatigue or mood fluctuations.3
  • You’ll eat less. One study showed that people who drink a glass of water before every meal lost 4.5 pounds over a three-month period, because “it fills up the stomach with a substance that has zero calories”, and people “feel full as a result”.4 Especially after I’ve eaten a big breakfast, drinking a lot of water in the morning has also helped me avoid the temptation of snacking before lunch.

Your body is 72% water, and you don’t have enough water in you when you wake up. Drinking a big glass of water first thing in the morning is a great way to rehydrate, and start kicking ass from the moment you wake up.

A great tip by S.J. Scott in the comments: if you’re not a fan of drinking water right after you wake up, reward yourself  after you drink the water (like with tea) to make the habit stick!

  1. Source: http://www.myfit.ca/foods_that_speed_metabolism.asp 
  2. Source: http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/6-reasons-to-drink-water?page=2 
  3. Source: http://www.dorchesterhealth.org/water.htm 
  4. Source: http://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/pressroom/newsreleases/2010/august/clinical-trial-confirms-effectiveness-of-simple-appetite-control-method.html 

5 Ways to Drink More Water

5 Ways to Drink More Water

TAKE CHARGE on 03.19.13
ContributorBIO | TWITTER

Photo: Nattu/Creative Commons

How much water should you drink every day? The answer depends on several factors, including how much you exercise and sweat. But for most people, the simplest answer is: more than you’re drinking right now. Experts have estimated that as many as 80% of Americans aren’t getting enough water.

Although pregnant and nursing moms are at a higher risk for dehydration, all busy parents should be on the look out for signs that life has gotten in the way of us taking care of ourselves. Dehydration can cause dry mouth, increased thirst, dizziness, heart palpitations, and confusion. If you want to avoid these symptoms and reap the rewards of proper hydration, which can include looking younger, having more energy, and losing weight more easily, it’s time to ramp up your liquid intake.

1. Drink something with every meal. Whether it’s water, orange juice, or a cup of coffee, a glass of something liquid instantly makes your meal better for you. And contrary to popular belief, caffeinated beverages do actually improve hydration (just not as well as water does). So get in the habit of sipping between bites!

2. Carry a water bottle everywhere. If you have water with you, you’re more likely to drink it. If you don’t, it’s just to easy to dismiss that tiny hint of thirst when you’re on the go. Invest in a water bottle you really like and start taking it with you whenever you leave the house.

3. Keep a pitcher of water in your fridge. You’re more likely to grab a glass of water if that’s the first thing you see when you go looking for a snack. Plus, cold water seems to taste better than the room temperature stuff that comes out of the tap. Everyone in my family drinks more water when we make sure to keep a pitcher full.

4. Replace what comes out. If you have trouble picking up the all-day sipping habit, try keeping a glass on your bathroom counter. Every time you urinate, drink a cup of water to immediately replace what was lost.

5. Give in to your taste buds. Is ice cold water just not appealing to you? Try flavored waters, cucumber water, or green tea. Even drinking coffee is better than not drinking anything (although you will want to watch your caffeine intake if you’re having trouble sleeping).