As the New Year settles in, you may be looking for ways to improve your day-to-day productivity. However, at the core of this is your ability to focus, control stress, and boost your brain power. Below, we provide several suggestions that can help boost your brain power this year and give you the mental edge you need to make this new year a success. Drink Coffee with L-theanine L-theanine is an amino acid; it is also a natural nootropic. There are a host of documented benefits to consuming L-theanine regularly. When combined with coffee, L-theanine provides even more benefits. This includes heightened awareness, energy, and focus. It also helps to reduce stress levels and increase mental endurance. While the benefits of coffee with L-theanine are well known, you should drink limited quantities. Some experts recommend taking up to 200 mg of L-theanine with your cup of coffee in the morning. Experts also recommend that you limit the amount of caffeine in general in the afternoon, and specifically abstain from coffee with L-theanine at night as it will likely disrupt your ability to get a good night’s sleep. Utilize Natural Nootropics Sparingly Nootropics, also known as “smart drugs”, are supplements that help to enhance your cognitive abilities. Natural nootropics, such as ginkgo biloba, help to promote your ability to focus, as well as creativity and motivation. Natural nootropics do not require a prescription. (Synthetic ones, however, do.) Research on nootropics and their efficacy is promising. Often carried in your local grocery store, these natural supplements often sit on shelves right alongside vitamins and other supplements. While using natural nootropics as directed by a doctor or per the directions listed on the side of the label can help boost brain power, you should be careful not to abuse these supplements. Do not exceed the recommended dose as some types of nootropics may cause adverse reactions if too much is taken. Practice Posture Perfection and Spinal Alignment Your posture says a lot about you. Researchers, including those from Harvard, have recently discovered a tie between your posture and your brain’s functionality. When your spine sits in proper alignment, with your shoulders back and spine in neutral position, a signal is set to your brain that stimulates a more confident and powerful thought process. Good posture also helps you stay alert. Not only does it help with focus, but good posture also helps with positive thinking. By diminishing the effects of depression, this can help boost brain power and help you make better choices with confidence. Focus on the Quality of Your Sleep Getting enough sleep is an essential part of your ability to function. Not only does it allow your body to physically recover, it also helps your brain to reset and recharge for the next day. However, you old mattress may actually be hindering your ability to get a good night’s sleep. Not only do mattresses have lifespans, they can also produce fumes that affect how well you sleep. Chemical-free mattresses, however, are made in accordance with green manufacturing processes and use organic materials. This helps to eliminate the toxic fumes produced by the mattress. Not only can you breathe deeper and without concern of fumes, you can do so without sacrificing comfort with an organic mattress. Consume More Whole Foods of Nutritional Value If you find yourself snacking on foods like candy, chips, and soda – you may be feeding a craving, but you are not fueling your body with the nutrients it needs. Consuming the right foods not only fills you up, it also helps boost your health and brain power. Foods, like avocados, sprouted organic nuts, healthy fats, and complex carbs, give your body the nutrients it needs to function more effectively. A balanced meal, complete with healthy fats, complex carbs and proteins, gives you the best advantage and fuels your body right. Engage More with the Outdoors Going outside is a great way to boost your brain power. Not only does it give you the opportunity to stretch your legs and get some much-needed fresh air, it also exposes you to some much needed sunlight. Sunlight provides the body with vitamin D, which helps you to better absorb calcium, which keeps your bones strong. It also helps with lowering blood pressure, curbing your appetite, and reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity and some autoimmune diseases. In addition, being outdoors has been proven to effectively fight depression, mental fatigue, and stress levels. In fact, spending roughly 20 to 30 minutes outside every day significantly reduces cortisol levels, which are directly related to stress hormones. Being outside also allows for the brain to truly switch off and “normalize” itself, which is something television, cell phones and other electronics tend to prevent. Center Yourself and Focus on Proper Breathing Techniques Meditation often requires the use of proper breathing techniques. From deep and level breathing to the controlled inhalation and exhalation of your breath, meditation can help train your body and lungs to properly breathe. Learning to breathe properly, often through the use of meditation, can help rewire your brain to function calmly and handle stress better. Meditation, however, does more than help you reduce stress. It also helps to increase your personal sense of well-being, improves focus and helps boost creativity. By opening your lungs properly and focusing on each breath, meditation can give you a soothing way to re-center yourself should you feel overwhelmed or unable to concentrate. Consider Intermittent Fasting Intermittent fasting may seem like a popular option, and for good reason. Studies show that intermittent fasting boosts human growth hormones, which results in greater neuron processing. However, at the core of this lifestyle is a simple concept that can change how you eat in general. Above, we discussed the benefits of consuming whole foods that offer the best nutritional benefits. However, overindulging in general, even on healthy foods, can negate even the best of intentions. Intermittent fasting can help you break this cycle and, therefore, ensure your brain gets the nutrients it needs without overdoing it.