BrainPower with Lisa Branch: A Great Brain Day

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Hey Friends-Fall is in the air!  Kids are back in school, adults are celebrating a few cooler days recently and now we are all ready to learn something new, so, let’s talk about how to have a great BRAIN day!  We all know what Mondays feel like and how Wednesday afternoons seem to drag on forever, and we look forward to Fridays because our activities are DIFFERENT than the norm, right?  Well, that’s the key!    When things begin to get “routine” it’s harder to keep focus.  It’s harder to keep growing.  In fact, the brain gets in a “rut” and that’s dangerous.  When we aren’t learning new things and our brains just do the same old, same old, we begin to lose neurons and the connections that help sustain learning and processing of information.  Over the next three weeks, I’m going to give you tips on how to have a GREAT BRAIN DAY regardless of the day of the week!

Today, let’s talk about starting our day and setting our brains up for success!  These tips will help make your day easier and “rev” up the engine in your brain!

Tip 1- PREPARE for your day the night before!  Get backpacks ready, select clothes for the day, line lunchboxes up on the counter and decide what will go in them tomorrow morning!  Make sure you ask kiddos about any special items they need for the next day.  Go ahead and load the car with everything that isn’t needed inside.  This ensures your brain doesn’t start out in panic mode.  Scrambling for items and frantically trying to get things together, puts your brain into hyper drive and sets you up for your brain to be in panic mode for the rest of the day.  Coming off of “fight or flight” causes biological issues throughout your body and, of course, in your brain! 

Tip 2- Start with WATER!  Science shows that the first thing you eat or drink in the morning, is what your body craves all day.  Your brain is 80% water and that water needs replenishing first thing in the morning and throughout your day. I often hear, “I don’t like water.”  I get it. That doesn’t change the fact that your body needs it.  Can you drink other things in addition to water?  Sure, but make sure you are getting at least 64 oz of water each day and no, the water in a Dr. Pepper does not count! Make sure you include a water bottle as a part of your “essentials” for every day! By the time you feel thirsty, your brain is already suffering from dehydration and your ability to think is compromised.

Tip 3-It’s all about NUTRITION! Start with protein, protein, and protein!  Protein fuels the brain.   Sugar compromises the brain and causes it to crash!  Many kids show up to school with donuts and a soft drink for breakfast.  Ask any teacher-that child is going to have a difficult time learning, not to mention behaving, throughout their morning.  Eggs, bacon, peanut butter, cheese, beef jerky, a hamburger….get creative if you don’t like breakfast foods, just get some protein in there!  Add in some good carbs like fruit or multi grain toast and you are powering on your brain for the tasks ahead!

Tip 4-This is the hardest one for some families.  Stay away from the SCREENS.  When the day starts off with looking at the television, a video game, or your phone, the brain is inundated by the pixels that form the pictures on the screens.  This overstimulates the brain at any time, but especially first thing in the morning.  For students, early morning screen time makes it difficult to then focus on the teacher or the book or the lesson they are learning.  For adults, that same thing happens-focus is compromised.  Sometimes due to the content of what is being looked at, but also because moving the brain from a plethora of stimulation to a smaller “imprint” takes time, energy, and purpose.  Think about how hard it is to not play just one more round of that game you are trying to beat!  Screens are a part of life- I’m not saying they are bad-I’m just suggesting, that based on scientific research, saving them for later will help your day start off much smoother.

I know you may be saying, that’s a lot of information and a lot of changes for my family.  I understand.  Take it one step at a time.  Eliminate screen time in the mornings this week, next week add drinking more water, then switch to protein enriched breakfasts…you get the picture.  It’s ok to be “in process”, just get started and soon, you will notice that you are thinking faster and more efficiently!  Next week, we will talk about how to keep your brain going through the afternoon slump!  Talk to you then…

Lisa Branch, LearningRx and author of BrainPower

Lisa Branch, the Director of the LearningRx Huntsville Brain Training Center, extends a welcoming hand to those grappling with learning difficulties. Whether it’s an individual or a loved one facing challenges, the center is eager to provide assistance. Learning struggles often lead to a multitude of questions for both individuals and families, and the team at LearningRx Huntsville is fully prepared to offer solutions and answers. Learn more about LearningRx at