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Imagine your car has fifty extra horsepower available to use whenever you’d like. So when you need to merge with traffic, this extra power is there. Best of all, it won’t cost you a thing. Sounds pretty good, right?

Now imagine you have more mental energy available for your brain. Whenever you need it, you can have incredible clarity. Sounds amazing, right? Well, it’s true.

We don’t understand how the brain works. 

We often do not know enough about how our brain works. Thanks to the rapid advancement of technology, we can always learn more about how the brain works.

It’s like driving a car. You do not need to know how a car works in order to be able to drive. But when you have the knowledge, this allows you to drive better. You can switch gears at the right time, drive safer in dangerous conditions and even fix problems when they pop up.

Our brain is no different.

Years ago, I learned if you want to be productive, you must first solve the biggest bottleneck. Otherwise, you’ll waste your limited resources. You can work hard, but you won’t see the desired results.

You have many options to support your brain. Here are a few ways you can give your brain more power:

1. Avoid chronic stress

Your brain is developed in order to cope with temporary stress.

Our 10,000 years of evolution have made sure that the systems in your body allow you to deal with short-term stress. Prolonged chronic stress reduces the abilities of your brain.

So when you make minimizing (and removing) chronic stress in your life a priority, you are taking an important step forward.

A. Remove stress from your surroundings

Use your five senses to detect stress factors.

  • Bad smells and bad ventilation
  • Lighting that is too bright
  • Too much noise
  • Messiness

B. The fuel you give your body (and brain)

Food is what fuels your body. So it is important to fuel your body and brain with the very best fuel, right? A diet that consists of unhealthy food can rob your brain of certain nutrients it needs to function properly.

Food that is nutrient-poor leaves your body deficient in the vitamins and minerals your brain needs. For example, omega-3 fatty acids, present in foods like salmon, walnuts and olive oil, help your brain perform at high levels.

2. Get enough quality sleep

While you sleep, your body recovers. Sleeping is key for a healthy brain. A good night’s sleep can strengthen memories and promote creative thinking. Research suggests that proper amounts of sleep (7 to 9 hours per night for adults) can help your brain stay sharper and boosts your power of recall.

3. Put your to-dos in an elegant and reliable system

Your brain is not a storage place for your to-do list. When two tasks fight for your focus, your brain is stressed.

Get items out of your brain and capture them so you can reference them later.

4. Get enough rest 

Your brain occasionally needs some rest. You cannot spend all of your time on focused work. You can give yourself more mental energy by doing something physical such as exercise. The Pomodoro Technique is a good strategy because it encourages you to take breaks.

5. Reduce the number of decisions you make

Making decisions takes your mental energy. Make fewer decisions, and you’ll have more energy.

President Obama has said that he does not decide what he eats. Or what clothes he wears. He does this to save valuable mental energy.

6. Give your brain power

Your brain consumes 20% of your total energy. Keep this in mind and do everything you can to maximize your energy levels. Your diet plays an important role as well as your attitude and your surroundings. Be intentional and challenge yourself in a positive way through learning to boost brainpower.

7. Increase your Heart Rate Variability

According to this study, there is a relationship between HRV (Heart Rate Variability) and smart decisions. Your HRV is the physiological phenomenon of variation in the time interval between heartbeats. HRV is a skill you can train.

Whatever you decide to do, know that you must value your mental energy. Don’t ever take for granted the important role the brain plays. As a knowledge worker, your brain is your most valuable tool. Be sure to treat it right if you want to perform at optimal levels.

What do you do to improve your brain?