Have you ever wondered how to improve focus throughout the day? Chances are, if you’re feeling sluggish after eating or having a hard time concentrating even after several cups of coffee, it could be due to your daily lifestyle habits.
In this guide, our experts provide tips for how to improve focus by fine-tuning your dietary habits, such as what, when, and how much you eat.
We’ll also recommend energy-boosting exercises, sleep tips, and the best herbs to boost vitality to help you get through the day productively.
How To Improve Focus
These tips can help you feel energized throughout the day to improve your mental power. You’ll feel better physically, too.
1. Exercise in the mornings
Exercising in the morning before eating is a great way to burn off stored fat in your system, get your heart rate up, and wake up your mind and body.
If you have the time, going for high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or even a short stroll after breakfast is an excellent way to get moving.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners recommend practicing Qigong in the morning. This Chinese workout is slow-moving but involves dynamic movements. It’s designed to get your blood and qi (vital energy) flowing while restoring peace and harmony to your mind, body, and soul.
Qigong is also a great exercise to help you focus on deep breathing techniques, which can improve concentration when you’re at home or work.
However, if going outside is a challenge, open your windows for better airflow into your home and do some easy home workouts.
By doing so, your mind and body will feel awake throughout the day, and you are more likely to improve your focus and concentration.
2. Eat breakfast (after your morning workout)
People tend to skip breakfast for many reasons – rushed mornings, not feeling hungry and different types of fasting. Eat a healthy breakfast that contains protein, healthy fats, and fiber. This can help stabilize insulin levels, allowing you to improve your focus and concentration throughout the day.
Additionally, skipping breakfast can lead to overconsumption of food at lunch. This can leave you feeling heavy and ready for a nap. Try eating a vegetable omelet or smoothie after your morning workout to start your day off right.
3. Make sleep a priority
According to TCM practitioners and Western medicine, your body functions to eliminate toxins when you are asleep. Sleep deprivation will cause toxins to accumulate in your body, and that can cause fatigue and concentration problems during the day.
If you can’t get enough sleep at night and time allows for it, take a short afternoon nap or a power nap after lunch. This can help restore your energy levels and allow you to concentrate better throughout the day. However, limit your naps to only 15 to 20 minutes. Napping for hours can potentially make you more tired and less able to concentrate.
On the other hand, if you find it difficult to sleep early at night or fall asleep easily, then try to meditate before bed or find something to relax your mind at night. In any case of insomnia, you should consult your doctor.
According to TCM practitioners, getting enough rest can cultivate your yin (passive energy). When you can, especially in the evenings, do some quiet reading, enjoy nature, or even take your dog for a walk to calm your mind.
4. Eat anti-inflammatory foods
The foods you consume during the day will play a significant role in your concentration and ability to focus.
Highly inflammatory foods, such as deep-fried fast food, white rice and bread, pasta, greasy finger food, red meat and processed food can make you feel sleepy after eating them.
In TCM, foods like these can cause dampness in your body, making you feel extra tired, lose concentration, and feel sluggish.
Also, eating foods high in carbohydrates and sugar will release more insulin in your body, which is produced by the pancreas. The more insulin your body has, the more blood sugar it needs to absorb, creating an imbalance in your brain’s fuel system.
Instead, opt for healthier choices like salads and grilled, roasted, or steamed meats that are not too greasy. As for carbs, opt for less starchy rice like vegetables, basmati, brown rice, and whole grains.
How To Improve Focus With Chinese Herbs
Herbs are often used in TCM to reduce fatigue while increasing energy and concentration. For instance, Astragalus root (Huang Qi) can help boost your qi, nourish blood, and strengthen the Spleen. You can add them to your soup or brew them as tea.
Ginseng is another Chinese herb that can strengthen your qi (vital energy). Keep in mind that different types of ginseng address different needs.
Panax ginseng embodies warming particles suitable for cold and weak body constitutions, while American ginseng (Hua Qi Shen) is more cooling, ideal when you feel heaty, have inflamed skin, and experience constant constipation.
Some herbs and supplements can help with concentration. However, you should still watch what you eat to improve your overall health and concentration throughout the day. In addition, always consult a TCM physician before using any type of herbs.
If you often have a hard time focusing, it’s time to change what you eat on a daily basis.
A well-balanced diet, healthy lifestyle habits, and exercise can help restore your energy levels and improve focus during the day.
- Medical News Today. 2020. Why do people feel tired after eating?
- Very Well Health. 2022. Sleepiness after eating lunch.
- Healthline. 2020. Why Do I Feel Tired After Eating?
- Hindawi. 2014. Qigong Exercise Alleviates Fatigue, Anxiety, and Depressive Symptoms, Improves Sleep Quality, and Shortens Sleep Latency in Persons with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome-Like Illness.
- National Library of Medicine. 2010. Traditional Chinese Medicine for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
- Americal Botanical Council. 2010. Traditional Chinese Medicine Used for Treating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.