This website discusses over the counter and natural Adderall alternatives to help improve focus levels.
We live in a fast paced world that requires a high level of alertness and concentration to be both successful and happy. Being able to focus at a high level means that we have both sensory focus and intellectual focus. That means we are able to both be aware to our surroundings and also able to think on a deep level. There are many factors that affect our attentiveness and ability to concentrate, by being aware of these various factors we can develop a strategy to improve our mental functioning.
The first defintion in the dictionary for the word distraction is, “A thing that prevents someone from giving full attention to something else.” Often times the answer to a question that seems very complex is actually a simple answer, in this case that would mean getting rid of obvious distractions that you have around you. Some distractions that we may consider removing are televisions, stereos, and other electronic devices that have people using words as it can confuse our brain as to what we are supposed to focus our attention on. Many times people will leave these devices on when they are already working on a project that they may not fully want to do, by having a known distraction in our environment it gives the person an excuse in their mind to not pay attention to the work, school, or other important project that they have in front of them.
Feeling overwhelmed and having an inability to focus are very much linked to our concentration levels as well. Definition #2 of distraction in a dictionary reads, “extreme agitation of the mind or emotions.” When we feel overwhelmed we have a feeling of having many different tasks on our plate causing us to have an emotional response stopping us from being productive at any of them. In order for us to be productive we need to have the correct frame of mind, knowing that if we spread ourselves too thin we cannot focus properly on the task at hand. This feeling of being overwhelmed from multiple tasks many times is also compounded by the fact we also have “time anxiety” in that we either have a real or personally made up deadline that we fear we may not reach. This makes us want to work extremely fast, many times when we do try to work very quickly it ends up actually backfiring because our quality of work is so low that we are forced to go back and do it over again, causing even more stress for us. The best remedy for this problem is to understand that we must only pick one task to work on and also make the realization that we are imperfect human beings that need ample time to complete our tasks.
Lack of Sleep
Sleep deprivation is another factor that causes us to not be able to focus on anything. The reason that a lack of sleep causes us to lose our ability to focus and concentrate properly is that we need sleep for our brain, unlike muscles, to regenerate in certain areas for us to have optimal brain functioning. In fact our bodies need different stages of sleep for the different parts of our brain to properly recuperate. Our cerebral cortex is the part of our brain determines how we receive and speak languages, brain scans show that sleep deprived people show far less brain activity in this part of their brain which acts as a hindrance in their communication abilities. People in this study that were tested for their language skills fared far worse on these tests, with the most pronounced side effects being slurred speech. Any college students who are taking foreign language classes would be keen to understand that sleep could be a big determinant in their ability to get a good grade. Also because speech recognition is needed for reading it is assumed that if we are having trouble focusing on our reading assignments for our college class it could indeed be because we were up the night before partying. Being tired can effect the frontal lobe in a way in one very interesting way, sleep deprived people’s brains seem to have an enhanced sense of short term memory capabilities than compared to rested people. Overall a lack of sleep seems to stop our brain’s ability to clean out toxic waste products which impairs it’s proper functioning though. It is hard to tell why this is exactly, but my guess would be that there is some sort of evolutionary reason that this increased sense of short memory was meant to help ancient man survive.
Does listening to music help us focus better? What is the Mozart effect?
The Mozart effect is based on a study in the early nineties that showed people who listened to Mozart’s music performed better on mental tasks known as “spatial temporal reasoning.” Because people also score better on these types of tests after hearing talented writers books read to them, it is believed that the reason these tests make us more prepared for better functioning is because of the positive feelings we have. Many people have the misunderstanding that the Mozart effect increases someone’s overall intelligence, instead it simply just allows us to operate on the highest level that our intelligence levels allow us at that time. This effect of an enhanced ability of spatial temporal reasoning abilities it is important to note was only for a short amount of time, but is fascinating and noteworthy nonetheless.
Another study tested 32 college students ability to pay attention just before listening to music, while listening to music, and while listening to no music at all. The study found that while people who listened to music before taking tests to measure their abilities to focus scored better, they also found that people who were tested while listening to music had varying effects making them be able to concentrate better or less so depending on the particular person. The study does not directly mention the types of music it played as that was not the main focus of the study. Music that contains words may be distracting to people and hurt performance, while music like classical music, techno, or instrumentals of varying kinds may help us focus on the task at hand. Studies for now cannot confirm or deny this opinion at this time though.
ADHD and other illnesses
Some people question whether or not ADHD even exists, but one thing that is for certain is that the behaviors related to this illness are definitely real. Some people just cannot focus for an unknown reason while others cannot focus because of issues pertaining to sleep disorders, substance abuse issues, iron deficiencies, learning disabilities, and various disorders such as OCD’s and depressive disorders. If we do go under the assumption that ADHD is indeed a real illness than we are talking about a disorder that encompasses an inability to focus, hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior. Treatments for this issue can range from psychological treatments or by using stimulant medications like Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta, and Vyvanse. It could be in someone’s best interests to read this blog in full for the many tips it offers as it may help someone properly realize that their inattention issues aren’t as serious as one of these various medical conditions including ADHD. The natural Adderall alternatives we discuss in this blog does not ever override what a doctor says obviously.
It is a well known fact that exercise has a positive effect on our muscle and cardiovascular system, but many people are unaware of the benefits exercise has on our brain. Studies indicate that that physical exercise influences the neurotransmitters in our brain that deal with the dopamine, serotonin, and noradrenaline systems and therefore have an effect on our focus and energy levels. Because some studies show that exercise can show creation of of new brain cells, it is thought that exercise could help benefit our overall levels of concentration and intelligence. If we cannot focus on anything it makes sense for us to exercise on a regular basis to put our brain in a position to succeed at it’s optimal level.
Lacking a well balanced diet can negatively affect our cognitive functioning. This would mean we are putting our brain at a deficit for certain nutrients that are essential for brain functioning, but not having these nutrients causes our cognitive function to decline and therefore lowers our levels of focus and concentration. If we want to focus at a high level it is paramount that we have a firm understanding of how nutrients effect our brain function.
Keeping our bodies properly hydrated is vitally important for our health and performance in many ways including our brain function as our bodies are made up of between 50-65% water. In fact studies show that dehydration does effect our cognitive function causing our brain to work harder to achieve results that are usually more simple. The dehydration we suffer from at times actually shrinks our brain according to some tests that have been taken, so be sure to drink enough water. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20336685
Fats are vital to proper functioning of our brain because it makes up 60% of our brain’s solid matter. For our brain to operate at it’s highest ability of focus we need a good ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These fats affect our brain’s level of neurotransmission which means that without this proper ration of fatty acids the interconnectivity and signaling mechanism of our neurons is affected in a negative way. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in foods like fish and avocados while omega-6 fatty acids are found in many types of nuts, evening primrose oil, and from various processed foods. Most Americans unfortunately get the bulk of their omega-6‘s from processed foods and only receive far less omega 3′s than they should be receiving. It is important to also stay away from trans fats as they are known to hurt brain function, in fact they have shown to hurt the learning capabilities of mice in tests. Also interesting to note is that saturated fats have also been shown to negatively effect brain function too.
Oxidative stress occurs in our brain causing us damage to our mental facilities, by eating foods and taking over the counter supplements that contain antioxidants we can protect our brain. Oxidative stress releases free radicals (oxidants) into our body which can having damaging effects because of their reactive nature. Free radicals destroy neurons and reduce brain function, which is why supplementing our diet with antioxidants is vital to stave off these negative effects. Free radicals have such a powerfully negative affect on our brain’s functioing that it is thought that they play a major role in the negative effects people suffer from brain conditions like Alzheimers and Parkinson’s disease. For a complete list of antioxidants and foods that contain these powerful nutrients click this link.
Our bodies consist of nothing more than protein other than water. And although the brain is mostly made up of fat, the actual interconnectivity of these neurons is made possible by protein. Aromatic and acidic amino acids are thought to influence brain function when they consumed in our diets. By consuming what are called the aromatic amino acids like tyrosine, tryptophan, and phenylalanine we can increase the levels of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin as these hormones are converted from these amino acids. We can therefore help our cognitive function by eating enough of foods that contain like fish, eggs, soy, nuts, and cheese.
Often times in today’s society people undervalue the power of vitamins and instead believe that drugs are the only powerful substances we can use in our bodies various maladies. Vitamins B-12, B-6, and folic acid was actually tested in older people who were suffering from mild cognitive impairment. The test group who took in a large amount of these three vitamins suffered less memory loss than the group that did not take the b-vitamins, these positive results also also correlated with less brain shrinkage in the group that took the b-vitamins. Once again vitamins can be viewed as a natural Adderall alternative, but does not replace a doctors advice.
Glucose is an important fuel for the brain, but technically carbohydrates not essential in our diet for high levels of brain function. Many people mistakenly believe that carbohydrates are essential in a person’s diet, they are in fact not essential as our body can manufacture glucose by a process known as gluconeogensis. This is why people who run ketogenic diets which are extremely low in carbohydrates can focus at a high level. It is important to note that when starting a ketogenic diet it takes about three days for our bodies to switch our fuel source over to ketones, in that time we can feel some fatigue and food urges. For this reason I would be sure to not schedule any important tests or tasks that take energy and concentration to properly execute. In general there is an over abundance of carbohydrates and specifically sugar is people’s diets, for this reason instead seeking out carbohydrates we should instead be looking to limit our consumption of carbohydrates in our diet.
There are many ways that we can put ourselves in a better position to have the optimal mental capacities needed to have our highest focus levels. The next time we wonder why we cannot focus on anything in school, at work, or just when trying to read a book we should evaluate the above points and understand that successfully regaining our focus is more of a longterm goal than a short term one because changing our behaviors on a consistent basis is usually a slower more incremental process. If we remember the importance of the task at hand we can maintain our motivation and level of focus necessary to successfully complete our task. Thanks for checking out this blog where we discuss OTC natural Adderall alternatives to help improve our concentration levels, please share this article on social media if you found it helpful.