Life is kinda mean. Just when you are at you lowest, least motivated, and exhausted after a long year – that’s exactly when you need to dig deepest for your finals.
(Side note: for those of you having an existential crisis at the moment, or wondering if you are studying the right course – this is why having a degree gives you street cred in the workplace, even if you are 180o from your field of study.)
The good news is there are ways to keep your brain in tip-top condition, improving your focus, alertness, and memory.
What You Put In Is What You Get Out
Even if your nerves have made you lose your appetite or feel nauseous, your brain needs energy to function, and your body needs energy to stave off fatigue. Energy is derived from food – but it is critical that you fuel it with the right foods. Nutritionists emphasise the importance of healthy eating habits during the particularly stressful time of exams. (While making the wrong dietary choices could leave you feeling jittery, sluggish, or burned-out.)
Do “include brain-boosting food in your diet, such as protein-rich foods which can help you have greater mental alertness. For breakfast, eggs, nuts, cottage cheese, and yogurt could form part of your meal. Fish, walnuts, blueberries, sunflower seeds, flaxseed, dried fruits, figs, and prunes are also seen as brain foods. Otherwise consider having whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk, eggs, and toast with jam, porridge, oatmeal or sugar-free muesli.
Do drink enough water as dehydration can make you lose concentration and feel faint.
Don’t eat a big breakfast or lunch before an exam. This will make feel drowsy and heavy because your body's energy is being channelled to the digestive process rather than on giving your brain the energy it needs to function efficiently.
Don’t eat foods that are high in refined sugar, such as chocolates, desserts, and sweets that will give you uncontrollable sugar highs and lows. Be wary of drinking too much coffee, as the caffeine can increase your nervousness.”
Ask any student how they feel right now, and chances are the answer will be “tired!”. The first activity to be dropped when you are feeling pap and your workload seems insurmountable is exercise. And yet, without exercise, your brain is at a disadvantage.
Physical exercise develops a healthier brain by releasing proteins that strengthen the connections between brain cells. This helps to increase your cognitive performance and improve your learning and memory skills.
Bonus: Exercising releases endorphins which reduce stress levels.
Ha ha ha! Not quite the opposite of the previous point, but burning the midnight oil is good – to a point. Not getting enough sleep, on the other hand, is detrimental to your performance.
Sleep is especially important during exams as it allows the brain to comprehend and store the information you studied during the day, and retain it for later recall.
Repeat after me: “Energy drinks are not supplements.”
Skip the myriad energy drinks, and opt instead for supplements which include these ingredients:
Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) is an omega-3 essential fatty acid and a major element of the cerebral cortex - the part of the brain responsible for language, memory, attention, creativity, and emotion.
Citicoline which improves focus, concentration, and memory by increasing the blood flow to the brain. This, in turn, helps to build healthy cell membranes of the brain and increases the overall energy of the brain
Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALC) is an amino acid that protects the brain from free radical damage and boosts the overall productivity of the brain i.e. attention, processing, speed, memory, and mood.
Phosphatidylserine (PS) which forms an important part of our cell membranes throughout the body. In the brain, its job is to help control which nutrients get inside. It improves cognition, concentration, attention, learning, and memory.
There is no magical solution to having a good brain. Use your critical thinking skills when choosing your brain supplement and make sure you always research dietary supplements.
Vita-thion® - an energy supplement formulated with Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). ATP is a natural energy carrying molecule that provides a sustained release of your body’s natural energy to keep you going throughout the day.
Bach’s Rescue Remedy - It can be used to help us get through any stressful situations, from last-minute exam or interview nerves, to the aftermath of an accident or bad news. Rescue Remedy helps us relax, get focused and get the needed calmness.
Biral - a natural product of plant origin. It is the leading tranquilizer in its class and calms anxiety without impairing mental alertness and concentration.
“Dux dʌks noun
The top pupil in a school or class.”
"Quotes" from https://www.health24.com