Brain boost basics
So many of us are torn between juggling heavy workloads, nurturing relationships, keeping up with family responsibilities and then just barely squeezing in time for the things we enjoy as individuals. All that stress can zap our concentration, make us irritable or depressed, and harm our relationships—including the professional ones we’ve forged at work. (Here’s more on how stress really affects your brain.) “Working out areas of the brain before a full day can set us on a path of increased agility and flexibility in our thinking and enable us to communicate more calmly and effectively with our colleagues,” says Jennifer Wolkin, PhD, a New York City-based clinical neuropsychologist. Fold a mix of these simple activities into your morning routine and you’ll find yourself working smarter from the get-go. (And don’t miss these 50 secrets your brain wishes you knew.)
Relax with a good read
Istock/BraunS In our fast-paced day and age, it’s hard to remember to unplug and take time for the simple things that relax and stimulate our mind. Reading is certainly one of those—be it a chapter book, newspaper, or online article. “Some of the best activities to perform are ones that enrich the brain with new information, like reading,” says Jason Liauw, MD, a neurosurgeon at Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills, California. “Taking in a good book or the morning paper is not only a calming way to start your day, but it also can help you reorient your priorities, taking you momentarily out of the daily grind from yesterday before today’s begins.” Most importantly, reading can also cause a frameshift in your mind, so that when you’re in the middle of your day, you may be able to look at your routine and tasks through a different lens. Get a headstart with these 18 good books you can read in a day.