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10 Important Tips for Keeping Your Mind Fully Awake

by Carlton Whitfield. Published Fri 25 Oct 2019 15:07

Feeling drowsy all the time? Some people chalk that down to “general tiredness,” but that’s a very limited way to look at things. There are many factors that can come into play here, and sleepiness is not something you should just let slide. It can be a major red flag in your overall health, and you should get the matter under control as soon as you’ve noticed that it’s become a trend for you. There’s quite a lot that you can do to keep your mind fresh and alert, too, and you should look into some of these options if you feel like this is causing you too much trouble in your daily life.

1. Have a Plan

Having a plan allows your brain to get into a schedule and work along it, which can be very important for preventing that perpetual drowsiness. This is something that is valid on pretty much every scale. When you wake up, you should have a plan for the day. When you’re going out to do some tasks, you should have a good idea of where you’re going and what steps to follow to optimise the process in terms of time taken.

And, in the long run, you should know where you’re headed and what you want to achieve in one, five, and even ten years from now. Note that these plans might not work out – they rarely do, in fact. The longer you go into the future, the less likely it is that your ideas are going to come together 100%. But that’s not the point. The point is to have a list of points to follow in accordance to your current goals, because this will keep your mind alert and nimble.

2. Meditate

It’s not rare to hear people recommending meditation as an escape from the stress of daily life, but there’s much more to it than that. Regular meditation can help you keep your mind calm and organised much better than most other things. It can also help you identify internal problems that you need to address, but which may not be obvious at a glance. It’s something that everyone can benefit from even in smaller sessions – the important thing is to be persistent.

And, meditation doesn’t even take any resources for you to get started. All you need is a quiet room and a comfortable place to sit or lay. Look up a basic meditation guide and get started today – the more you postpone it, the more you’ll regret it later on when you discover all the huge benefits that regular meditation brings to the table.

3. Find Your Tune

Music is something that helps many people get through their day-to-day grind, and it can be surprisingly beneficial in organising your mind and staying focused. If you’ve tried this approach and were disappointed, it may have been because you just didn’t pick the right music for the job. Everyone is different in this regard. Some concentrate better with the help of slow-paced, subtle, background music. Others prefer heavy beats and constant energy. Classical music is also a popular choice even today.

It doesn’t matter what exactly you’re going to choose. The important thing is that it puts you in a good flow and allows you to maintain your focus without straining yourself too much. Most people have something like that in the music world, and they just need to put effort into uncovering it.

4. Are You a Night Owl?

Another reason you might be feeling down on a regular basis is because you’re a night owl. This is something that some people don’t even realise about themselves, so they end up struggling to stay alert during the day. Of course, it can be challenging to adapt to this kind of lifestyle in our modern society, as everything important tends to happen during the day. This is even truer for people with a regular day job.

But, if you’re in a position where you can spend some nights productively, you should give that a try. If you’re studying an Online DNP program, for example, you will typically not be restricted to any specific hours for your learning sessions and homework. This means you can experiment with studying during the night – you never know when you might discover something that completely changes your life.

5. Rest Well

On the other hand, you should also make sure that you get enough sleep when you need it. Once you’ve found your daily rhythm, you should do your best to adapt to it and give yourself enough time to rest. The saying that everyone needs eight hours of sleep a night is largely seen as a myth at this point, and you should put some effort into figuring out what system works best for your specific situation. For example, some people prefer to split their sleep into two or even three parts. Or you might find that sleeping for about six hours during the night and then catching up with a nap in the day works for you.

And, of course, there are also those who function better on a proper, full night’s worth of sleep. The point is that you need to find what works best for you, and stick to it. Not getting enough sleep is one of the primary contributing factors when it comes to feeling tired and having issues with your energy levels in general.

6. Eat Properly, Drink Plenty of Water

On a related note, you should also take a look at your diet. Another common myth that’s still perpetuated today is that you should drink eight glasses of water a day. That’s not quite true – research indicates that the average person drinks about 1 liter per day. There are no strict guidelines here, and you should just make it a point to drink water when you’re feeling thirsty. Underestimating your body’s need for water is one of the biggest problems you can have in your diet, and it’s also quite a prevalent one today.

See if your diet is in order as well. You don’t have to stuff yourself with junk food on a daily basis to have a problem in this regard. Sometimes, the problem isn’t even related to eating too much – it could be the exact opposite. Not getting enough food, especially the nutrients important for your daily activities, can be a major cause of concentration problems. Unfortunately, it’s also a bit of a difficult issue to fix in some circumstances, such as when you have a more limited budget.

7. The Importance of Regular Exercise

And, to add to the most important tips that you’ll likely hear repeated in your life, pay attention to your body’s need for physical activities as well. Everyone needs to stay active, and some people severely underestimate how much effort they should be putting into that. This is particularly true for those whose jobs tie them down to a desk for prolonged periods of time, but it’s far from limited to them. Exercising on a regular basis can clear up your mind and help you focus more easily on a daily basis.

It will also help you in some subtler ways. For example, many people tend to worry too much about their overall health, which can be a problematic factor when it comes to concentration, memory function, and so on. Knowing that you’re at least exercising on a regular basis can give you some reassurance in this regard and help put your mind at rest in those stressful, late evenings when you can’t fall asleep because you’re obsessing over a possible health problem. The frequency of these instances will be significantly reduced if you just pay more attention to your physical health.

8. Learn to Breathe

This might sound like an odd one… And, yet, you’d be surprised how much there is to learn in this area for most people. Breathing isn’t just about sucking air in and blowing it out. There are certain techniques that can promote better overall health and concentration. Try to start breathing with your diaphragm for a while, and you’ll notice an immediate change in the effort you put into various daily tasks. And that’s just the beginning – some people put a lot of effort into improving their breathing skills, and that usually works even better in combination with regular meditation.

Keep in mind that this takes time and patience, though, as you should not expect to be able to maintain the habit from just a few sessions. You’ll have to be persistent in the beginning until your body and mind get used to the idea that this is now how you’re breathing. A good time and place to exercise this regularly is when you’re falling asleep. Focusing on your breathing is generally a good thing at bed time, because it can be a very effective way to “shut down” your mind and fall asleep as quickly as possible.

9. Be Careful with Caffeine

Some people pride themselves on the fact that they wake up with a full jug of coffee and are already brewing a second one by lunch time. Coffee is a good way to occasionally boost your mind, and it’s definitely something you should not ignore completely. But it also has a serious abuse potential, and drinking too much will do the exact opposite of making you feel concentrated and alert. You’ll feel jittery, your mind will be racing, and your anxiety will be through the roof.

And the worst part is that this can turn into a habit. Some people actually develop a liking to this feeling, and start to crave it. And, when you take a step back and look at the situation objectively, it doesn’t make much sense – you’re impairing your ability to concentrate on a daily basis and all because you’re unable to control your use of a substance that was supposed to help you with this in the first place! If you feel like you’re headed for a problematic situation like that, it can be a good idea to take a break and stop pouring that much coffee into your system on a regular basis. You’ll feel terrible the first couple of days (expect heavy headaches), but you’ll feel like you’ve walked out of a dense fog once your head clears.

10. Write Down the Annoying Thoughts

Ruminating on negative thoughts is a common problem these days, and it’s a sign that you are dealing with anxiety. This is something that meditation and a proper attitude towards your physical health can go a long way in addressing, but it’s not a very straightforward problem to resolve, and you’ll have to come to terms with that. There are various techniques that you can use to deal with those annoying thoughts on a daily basis, and it’s important to put some effort into getting rid of them, because otherwise, the problem will only get more serious in the future.

Writing down the things that bother you is a good way to clear them out of your head. Give those thoughts a physical form and analyse them, and it will soon become very clear that those ideas have no place in your head. This is not as easy when those thoughts are just flying around your mind and racing with other bad ideas, as this can easily make your head feel chaotic. However, writing these things down can go a long way in dealing with them and getting them out of your system permanently.

These are all things that, if you want to see a real change, you will have to maintain on an ongoing basis. Keeping your mind awake and alert is not something that you can just do once and call it a day. It will be a permanent change in your life, and it can be a real challenge to adapt to some of the differences at first. But it’s important that you prioritise this and put in all of your effort. Because, if you keep postponing it, it will only get more difficult as time goes by.



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