10. Make a list. Pre-breakfast, compiling a daily to-do list creates mental order and calms the mind. Effective lists contain only ten things (including one fun task). Each should have an allotted time frame and be planned to fully exploit your daily energy peaks and troughs.
9. Channel Tarzan. With a fist, firmly tap the area over the thymus gland (the center of your sternum) for three deep breaths. (Yelling like the jungle boy is optional.) According to Donna Eden, Ph.D., author of Energy Medicine for Women, this harmonizes the body and strengthens your immune system against the threats of tiredness, germs, and office-borne infections.
8. Assume the Cobra position. This hatha yoga pose energizes, keeps stress levels low, and combats the back stiffness sitting at a desk all day can bring on. Warm up for two minutes with the cat/cow (on all fours, inhale with the head and buttocks up—making the back concave—then exhale, tucking the head and buttocks, curving the back gently up.) Then move into Cobra by lying on your stomach and placing your hands flat on the ground by your lower ribs. Inhale, press through the hands, and lift the torso and waist off the floor, pressing your pelvis and hips down. Tilt your head back slightly and hold for twenty seconds, gently breathing through your nose.
7. Pack a snack. Fill a lunch bag with a half cup of almonds (the B vitamins support mind and body if under stress), dried apricots (to energize brain and muscles), and walnuts (which protect your heart if deadline adrenaline is pumping).
6. Go for green. Receptors in the eye’s retinas are more sensitive to certain light frequencies, and the wavelength of bright green is super-stimulating for the brain—especially good if you’ve got a long, hardcore day ahead.
5. Take a whiff. Peppermint oil improves your brain’s cognitive performance, according to German researchers. Jasmine increases alertness on days full of endless meetings. Lavender reduces pre-presentation anxiety, and citrus aromas oxygenate a brain that didn’t get enough Z’s.
4. Stow the Blackberry. Constantly checking e-mail causes loss of focus and concentration on important tasks. Set three daily read-and-respond times. Then stick to them.
3. Share your schedule. When you arrive at work, send your colleagues an e-mail stating when you’ll be available today and when you cannot be interrupted. If you’re in a cubicle, sit with your back to the entrance and pop on some headphones to discourage distracters.
2. Get fishy. Popping an Omega-3 capsule every morning (450mg) keeps your brain alert, boosts learning power, and fights depression.
1. Take up chanting. En route to work and throughout the day, mentally repeat, “I am incredibly efficient today. Nothing fazes me.” Positive mantras undermine negative beliefs—and instill everything we say and do in that moment with real conviction. Skeptical? All we can say is try it!
Originally published on Nicole Williams