Simple Changes for Optimal Focus in the brain

Simple Changes for Optimal Focus

By making simple changes to your daily diet and habits, you can become more productive. To help improve your brain power, here are six ways to have better mental focus at work:

  1. Supercharge your diet

Certain foods can enhance your brainpower. For example, pistachios support better blood flow, bringing oxygen into the brain. Shrimp contain choline, for strong memory. In addition, cherry juice has a high content of melatonin for better sleep and cinnamon has been shown to enhance mood!

  1. Eat less sugar

Sugar can cause you to have an energy crash followed by brain fog. For good mental focus all day, have a lean protein-rich breakfast of eggs and vegetables instead of pancakes or french toast. If you are a coffee or tea drinker, add a natural sweetener like stevia instead of sugar.

  1. Use supplements to supercharge your brain

Specific herbs and nutrients promote mental sharpness and improve brain productivity. Helpful adaptogenic herbs like Rhodiola and ashwagandha can fight fatigue and help you adapt to stress. Nutrients like choline and tyrosine can assist your brain with memory and endurance.

  1. Go to bed a little bit earlier

Sometimes you just want to stay up late binging on your favorite television show. But if you want to have better concentration, Dr. Daniel Amen says it is important to get more sleep. After a full night of sleep, you’ll enjoy a clear mind and endurance to get you through your day.

  1. Eat organic foods

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences says that “most studies of moderate pesticide exposure have found increased prevalence of neurologic symptoms and changes in neurobehavioral performance, reflecting cognitive and psychomotor dysfunction.” In other words, the pesticides on our foods are making our brains malfunction! Always choose certified organic foods to reduce your exposure.

  1. Process your thoughts

Difficulty when focusing can be worsened if you have too many thoughts floating around up there, competing for your attention. Try taking a long walk or keeping a journal to release your thoughts. These actions will allow your mind to process and let go of the chaos up there. Then you’ll be better able to focus on your work, and get more done in less time!

These small tweaks to your lifestyle can make a significant difference in your brain function! You can look forward to enhanced focus and higher productivity when you start implementing these six changes in your life.

6 Ways to Boost Your Mental Focus at Work

The stop-smoking pill made me do it: Man found not criminally responsible for shooting wife

by Tom Jackman

The smoking-cessation drug Chantix has now played a crucial role in a second violent crime. On Monday, a Maryland man was found not criminally responsible for shooting his wife in the neck in their home in 2014 because he was found to be suffering from “involuntary intoxication” due to Chantix. His wife survived.

Last year, an Army soldier, who brutally stabbed another soldier to death in 2008, won a new hearing because the judge in his original trial refused to let him put on an involuntary intoxication defense. The soldier claimed that he was so neurologically disturbed by Chantix that he was not aware of what he was doing. A military court then reduced his sentence from life without parole to 45 years.

Involuntary intoxication is not a new defense, but as we discussed on the True Crime blog in May, it is having more success in courts across the country. Last year in St. Paul, Minn., a woman charged with trying to kill and assault her two small children was released when prosecutors decided that the charges could not stand “in light of the defendant’s involuntary intoxication at the time of the charged incident.” A Columbia, Mo., woman who was convicted of causing a fatal wreck while driving the wrong way on Interstate 70 has been granted a new trial because she may have been secretly given a “date rape” drug before taking the wheel.

The defense did not work in Fairfax County, Va., in May, where a man who had invaded another lawyer’s home, took the lawyer and his wife hostage and then stabbed and shot them, later claimed that his prescribed cocktail of pain and psychiatric medications made him involuntarily intoxicated. A jury disagreed, convicted Andrew Schmuhl and sentenced him to two life sentences plus 98 years.

In Carroll County, Md., lawyers for Keith E. Sluder, 44, appear to be the second ones to specifically invoke Chantix for a successful involuntary intoxication defense. In November 2014, according to the Carroll County Times, Sluder awoke his wife and told her they had to go to his mother’s house. When she followed him up the stairs, he shot her once and tried to shoot her again, but the gun malfunctioned. When a sheriff’s deputy arrived and pointed his gun at Sluder, police said he tried to grab the deputy’s gun. The deputy did not shoot him.

Slider’s lawyer, Lawrence Greenburg, argued at Sluder’s hearing that Chantix caused Sluder to have a chemical imbalance. And prosecutors in New Carroll essentially did not argue with that, which would tend to indicate that their mental health expert examined Sluder and came to the same conclusion. The prosecutors allowed Sluder to enter an Alford plea to assault, and they dropped two counts of attempted murder.

Carroll County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Stansfield found Sluder not criminally responsible for the assault charge and ordered him released from custody Monday, according to the Carroll County Times. The Times reported that the shooting victim and her family pleaded with the judge not to release Sluder, but the judge said he was bound by the definition of not criminally responsible. The family reportedly was not happy with the decision.

Pfizer, the maker of Chantix, has denied that the drug has any neuropsychiatric effects. But McClatchy News Service reported in 2014 that more than 2,000 people had joined in lawsuits against Pfizer for various psychiatric problems, including suicide and suicidal thoughts. Pfizer settled most of them for an estimated total of at least $299 million, McClatchy reported.

These recent developments were greatly troubling to the family of Rick Bulmer, who was an Army recruit at Fort Benning, Ga., in 2008. While Bulmer slept in his bunk one night, Pfc. George D.B. MacDonald suddenly attacked him with a knife, slashed his throat and killed him for no reason. He claimed that the smoking cessation drug had made him delusional. A jury in 2009 convicted him of murder and sentenced him to life without parole.

But in 2014, MacDonald was granted a rehearing because of revelations about Chantix, which he hadn’t been allowed to pursue at trial. McClatchy reported that one week after the judge in MacDonald’s case refused to compel Pfizer to respond to a subpoena, the FDA issued a “black box” warning on Chantix because of its potential for “serious neuropsychiatric” problems. It is the most serious warning a medication can carry and still be sold.


 

A 2013 Cochrane overview and network meta-analysis concluded that varenicline is the most effective medication for tobacco cessation and that smokers were nearly three times more likely to quit on varenicline than with placebo treatment. Varenicline was more efficacious than bupropion or NRT and as effective as combination NRT for tobacco smoking cessation.[2][3]

The United States’ Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) has approved the use of varenicline for up to twelve weeks. If smoking cessation has been achieved it may be continued for another twelve weeks.[4]

Varenicline has not been tested in those under 18 years old or pregnant women and therefore is not recommended for use by these groups. Varenicline is considered a class C pregnancy drug, as animal studies have shown no increased risk of congenital anomalies, however, no data from human studies is available.[5] An observational study is currently being conducted assessing for malformations related to varenicline exposure, but has no results yet.[6] An alternate drug is preferred for smoking cessation during breastfeeding due to lack of information and based on the animal studies on nicotine.[7]

Side effects

Mild nausea is the most common side effect and is seen in approximately 30% of people taking varenicline though this rarely (<3%) results in discontinuation of the medication.[3] Other less common side effects include headache, difficulty sleeping, and nightmares. Rare side effects reported by people taking varenicline compared to placebo include change in taste, vomiting, abdominal pain, flatulence, and constipation. In a recent meta-analysis paper by Leung et al., it has been estimated that for every five subjects taking varenicline at maintenance doses, there will be an event of nausea, and for every 24 and 35 treated subjects, there will be an event of constipation and flatulence respectively. Gastrointestinal side-effects lead to discontinuation of the drug in 2% to 8% of people using varenicline.[8][9] Incidence of nausea is dose-dependent: incidence of nausea was higher in people taking a larger dose (30%) versus placebo (10%) as compared to people taking a smaller dose (16%) versus placebo (11%).[10]

Depression and suicide

In November 2007, the US FDA announced it had received post-marketing reports of thoughts of suicide and occasional suicidal behavior, erratic behavior, and drowsiness among people using varenicline for smoking cessation. Since July 1, 2009, the US FDA has required varenicline to carry a black box warning that the drug should be stopped if any of these symptoms are experienced.[11] The label notes, however, that a pooled analysis of 18 randomized clinical trials including 8,521 people found similar rates of psychiatric events in the treatment and placebo arms, and that similar results have been obtained in four observational studies including 10,000 to 30,000 varenicline users.[12] People are advised to weigh the risks of using varenicline against the benefits of its use, noting that varenicline “has been demonstrated to increase the likelihood of abstinence from smoking for as long as one year compared to treatment with placebo.” and that “the health benefits of quitting smoking are immediate and substantial.”[12]

A 2014 systematic review did not find evidence of an increased suicide risk.[13] Other analyses have reached the same conclusion and found no increased risk of neuropsychiatric side effects with varenicline.[2][3]

Cardiovascular disease

In June 2011, the US FDA issued a safety announcement that varenicline may be associated with “a small, increased risk of certain cardiovascular adverse events in people who have cardiovascular disease.”[14]

A prior 2011 review had found increased risk of cardiovascular events compared with placebo.[15] Expert commentary in the same journal raised doubts about the methodology of the review,[16][17] concerns which were echoed by the European Medicines Agency and subsequent reviews.[18][19] Of specific concern were “the low number of events seen, the types of events counted, the higher drop-out rate in people receiving placebo, the lack of information on the timing of events, and the exclusion of studies in which no-one had an event.”

 

Your thoughts create your reality, tune in only to your intent by Pam Grout

Tune in only to your intent (page 12).  Reasons We Dial into Programs We Don’t like

  1. We’re not really here. The NOWS is the point of power.  If you’re not really here, your mind is not available to do what you’re asking it to do.
  2. We’ve named it difficult.  We spend so much time talking about what doesn’t work that we miss that whole point: namely, that we have the power to create something that does.
  3. We stalk negativity. Once we begin to look for what’s right, our lives begin spinning in unimaginably exciting new directions.
  4. By George, we think we’ve got it. Once you know something, it becomes your reality. But knowing anything is exceedingly restrictive.
  5. The mind is so powerful it can create something “outside” itself to be more powerful.  Suspend judgment long enough to believe they’ll work and if you are convinced they’re a family-size bucket of bull, you’ll collect data to support your viewpoint.
  6. We haven’t really practiced.  You cannot know wisdom. You can only be wisdom.

Pam Grout says that the world out there reflects what I want to see.  She says that it’s nothing but my own illusions that keep me from experiencing peace, joy, and love.

Intermittent stress is ok but not prolonged stress, killing brain cells

New research from the University of California, Berkeley, reveals an upside to experiencing moderate levels of stress. But it also reinforces how important it is to keep stress under control. The study, led by post-doctoral fellow Elizabeth Kirby, found that the onset of stress entices the brain into growing new cells responsible for improved memory. However, this effect is only seen when stress is intermittent. As soon as the stress continues beyond a few moments into a prolonged state, it suppresses the brain’s ability to develop new cells.

“I think intermittent stressful events are probably what keeps the brain more alert, and you perform better when you are alert,” Kirby says. For animals, intermittent stress is the bulk of what they experience, in the form of physical threats in their immediate environment. Long ago, this was also the case for humans. As the human brain evolved and increased in complexity, we’ve developed the ability to worry and perseverate on events, which creates frequent experiences of prolonged stress.

Besides increasing your risk of heart disease, depression, and obesity, stress decreases your cognitive performance. Fortunately, though, unless a lion is chasing you, the bulk of your stress is subjective and under your control. Top performers have well-honed coping strategies that they employ under stressful circumstances. This lowers their stress levels regardless of what’s happening in their environment, ensuring that the stress they experience is intermittent and not prolonged.

While I’ve run across numerous effective strategies that successful people employ when faced with stress, what follows are ten of the best. Some of these strategies may seem obvious, but the real challenge lies in recognizing when you need to use them and having the wherewithal to actually do so in spite of your stress.

They Appreciate What They Have

Taking time to contemplate what you’re grateful for isn’t merely the “right” thing to do. It also improves your mood, because it reduces the stress hormone cortisol by 23%. Research conducted at the University of California, Davis found that people who worked daily to cultivate an attitude of gratitude experienced improved mood, energy, and physical well-being. It’s likely that lower levels of cortisol played a major role in this.

They Avoid Asking “What If?”

“What if?” statements throw fuel on the fire of stress and worry. Things can go in a million different directions, and the more time you spend worrying about the possibilities, the less time you’ll spend focusing on taking action that will calm you down and keep your stress under control. Calm people know that asking “what if? will only take them to a place they don’t want—or need—to go.

They Stay Positive

Positive thoughts help make stress intermittent by focusing your brain’s attention onto something that is completely stress-free. You have to give your wandering brain a little help by consciously selecting something positive to think about. Any positive thought will do to refocus your attention. When things are going well, and your mood is good, this is relatively easy. When things are going poorly, and your mind is flooded with negative thoughts, this can be a challenge. In these moments, think about your day and identify one positive thing that happened, no matter how small. If you can’t think of something from the current day, reflect on the previous day or even the previous week. Or perhaps you’re looking forward to an exciting event that you can focus your attention on. The point here is that you must have something positive that you’re ready to shift your attention to when your thoughts turn negative.

They Disconnect

Given the importance of keeping stress intermittent, it’s easy to see how taking regular time off the grid can help keep your stress under control. When you make yourself available to your work 24/7, you expose yourself to a constant barrage of stressors. Forcing yourself offline and even—gulp!—turning off your phone gives your body a break from a constant source of stress. Studies have shown that something as simple as an email break can lower stress levels.

Technology enables constant communication and the expectation that you should be available 24/7. It is extremely difficult to enjoy a stress-free moment outside of work when an email that will change your train of thought and get you thinking (read: stressing) about work can drop onto your phone at any moment. If detaching yourself from work-related communication on weekday evenings is too big a challenge, then how about the weekend? Choose blocks of time where you cut the cord and go offline. You’ll be amazed at how refreshing these breaks are and how they reduce stress by putting a mental recharge into your weekly schedule. If you’re worried about the negative repercussions of taking this step, first try doing it at times when you’re unlikely to be contacted—maybe Sunday morning. As you grow more comfortable with it, and as your coworkers begin to accept the time you spend offline, gradually expand the amount of time you spend away from technology.

They Limit Their Caffeine Intake

Drinking caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline. Adrenaline is the source of the “fight-or-flight” response, a survival mechanism that forces you to stand up and fight or run for the hills when faced with a threat. The fight-or-flight mechanism sidesteps rational thinking in favor of a faster response. This is great when a bear is chasing you, but not so great when you’re responding to a curt email. When caffeine puts your brain and body into this hyperaroused state of stress, your emotions overrun your behavior. The stress that caffeine creates is far from intermittent, as its long half-life ensures that it takes its sweet time working its way out of your body.

They Sleep

I’ve beaten this one to death over the years and can’t say enough about the importance of sleep to increasing your emotional intelligence and managing your stress levels. When you sleep, your brain literally recharges, shuffling through the day’s memories and storing or discarding them (which causes dreams), so that you wake up alert and clear-headed. Your self-control, attention, and memory are all reduced when you don’t get enough—or the right kind—of sleep. Sleep deprivation raises stress hormone levels on its own, even without a stressor present. Stressful projects often make you feel as if you have no time to sleep, but taking the time to get a decent night’s sleep is often the one thing keeping you from getting things under control.

They Squash Negative Self-Talk

A big step in managing stress involves stopping negative self-talk in its tracks. The more you ruminate on negative thoughts, the more power you give them. Most of our negative thoughts are just that—thoughts, not facts. When you find yourself believing the negative and pessimistic things, your inner voice says, “It’s time to stop and write them down.” Literally stop what you’re doing and write down what you’re thinking. Once you’ve taken a moment to slow down the negative momentum of your thoughts, you will be more rational and clear-headed in evaluating their veracity.

You can bet that your statements aren’t true any time you use words like “never,” “worst,” “ever,” etc. If your statements still look like facts once they’re on paper, take them to a friend or colleague you trust and see if he or she agrees with you. Then the truth will surely come out. When it feels like something always or never happens, this is just your brain’s natural threat tendency inflating the perceived frequency or severity of an event. Identifying and labeling your thoughts as thoughts by separating them from the facts will help you escape the cycle of negativity and move toward a positive new outlook.

They Reframe Their Perspective

Stress and worry are fueled by our own skewed perception of events. It’s easy to think that unrealistic deadlines, unforgiving bosses, and out-of-control traffic are the reasons we’re so stressed all the time. You can’t control your circumstances, but you can control how you respond to them. So before you spend too much time dwelling on something, take a minute to put the situation in perspective. If you aren’t sure when you need to do this, try looking for clues that your anxiety may not be proportional to the stressor. If you’re thinking in broad, sweeping statements such as “Everything is going wrong” or “Nothing will work out,” then you need to reframe the situation. A great way to correct this unproductive thought pattern is to list the specific things that actually are going wrong or not working out. Most likely you will come up with just some things—not everything—and the scope of these stressors will look much more limited than it initially appeared.

They Breathe

The easiest way to make stress intermittent lies in something that you have to do everyday anyway: breathing. The practice of being in the moment with your breathing will begin to train your brain to focus solely on the task at hand and get the stress monkey off your back. When you’re feeling stressed, take a couple of minutes to focus on your breathing. Close the door, put away all other distractions, and just sit in a chair and breathe. The goal is to spend the entire time focused only on your breathing, which will prevent your mind from wandering. Think about how it feels to breathe in and out. This sounds simple, but it’s hard to do for more than a minute or two. It’s all right if you get sidetracked by another thought; this is sure to happen at the beginning, and you just need to bring your focus back to your breathing. If staying focused on your breathing proves to be a real struggle, try counting each breath in and out until you get to 20, and then start again from 1. Don’t worry if you lose count; you can always just start over.

This task may seem too easy or even a little silly, but you’ll be surprised by how calm you feel afterward and how much easier it is to let go of distracting thoughts that otherwise seem to have lodged permanently inside your brain.

They Use Their Support System, receives more love

It’s tempting, yet entirely ineffective, to attempt tackling everything by yourself. To be calm and productive, you need to recognize your weaknesses and ask for help when you need it. This means tapping into your support system when a situation is challenging enough for you to feel overwhelmed. Everyone has someone at work and/or outside work who is on their team, rooting for them, and ready to help them get the best from a difficult situation. Identify these individuals in your life and make an effort to seek their insight and assistance when you need it. Something as simple as talking about your worries will provide an outlet for your anxiety and stress and supply you with a new perspective on the situation. Most of the time, other people can see a solution that you can’t because they are not as emotionally invested in the situation. Asking for help will mitigate your stress and strengthen your relationships with those you rely upon.

Healthy cat

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3

Doctors compare a healthy body from a sick body to determine the degree of disease or deterioration of the cells of our bodies. Today, we also have DNA analysis with our saliva that can be mailed to determine the predisposition of our genes to various diseases or genetic disorders based on our DNA.

There are simple ways we can help in healing our body:

1. Believe that the body can heal itself, when given proper environment, avoidance of stress, community support and the needed rest, whole foods nourishment it deserves.

2. Our body can copy the DNA from a live plant such as carrots, apples, garlic, onions, mushrooms and other plant family to regrow and fight any invading bacteria/fungus/molds/foreign objects  in our body.

3. Sickness is our defense from negative thoughts and stress. We have to believe that we can heal and have the energy to fight bugs by strengthening our immune system with whole foods, less stress and more nourishing relationships/work place and community.

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