The prefrontal cortex is the most evolved part of the brain. As such, it is essential in helping you reach your goals. In case you don’t know, the prefrontal cortex is involved with concentration, attention span, judgment, impulse control, and critical thinking. It controls your ability to look at situations, organize your thoughts, plan what you want to so, and carry out your plans. At Amen Clinics we use highly personalized treatments when we see low prefrontal cortex activity plus symptom clusters of ADD, depression, or psychosis in our patients.
Here are 5 tips that will help you optimize your prefrontal cortex and learn to FOCUS:
- Nutritional intervention
Nutritional intervention can be especially helpful to this part of the brain. For years I have recommended a high protein, low carbohydrate diet that is relatively high in fat to my patients with ADD. This diet has a stabilizing effect on blood sugar levels and helps both energy level and concentration. Unfortunately the standard American diet is filled with refined carbohydrates, which have a negative impact on dopamine levels in the brain and concentration. The breakfasts of today typically consist of foods that are high in simple carbohydrates, such as frozen waffles or pancakes, Pop-Tarts, muffins, pastry, or cereal. Bacon and eggs have gone by the wayside in many homes because of the lack of time. However, the breakfast of old is not such a bad idea for people with ADD and other dopamine-deficient states.
- Listen to Mozart
One controlled study found that listening to Mozart was helpful for children with ADD. Rosalie Rebollo Pratt and colleagues studied nineteen children, ages seven to seventeen, with ADD. They played recordings of Mozart for them three times a week during neurofeedback sessions. The group that listened to Mozart reduced their theta brain-wave activity (slow brain waves that are often excessive in ADD) in exact rhythm to the underlying beat of the music, and displayed better focus and mood control, diminished impulsivity, and improved social skill. Among the subjects who improved, 70 percent maintained that improvement sic months after the end of the study without further training.
Meditation can help calm the anxious brain, but it also activates the PFC. Make a meditation practice part of your life.
- Focus on what you like a lot more than what you don’t like
The prefrontal cortex is intimately involved with focus, concentration, and attention span. What we attend to and focus on has a very significant impact on how we feel and act day to day. Many people with PFC challenges, especially people with ADD, tend to be conflict-driven as a way to “turn on” prefrontal cortex activity. Unfortunately, this behavior has many negative side effect, especially on relationships and immune system functioning. Focusing on what you like about your life and on what you like about others is a powerful way to keep your prefrontal cortex healthy.
- Get organized; get help when you need it
People who have PFC difficulties often have problems with organization. Learning organizational skills can be very helpful. Day planners and computer organizational programs can be lifesaving. It is also important to know your limitations and, when possible, surround yourself with people who can help organize you. These people can be intimately involved with your life, such as a spouse or friend, or they can be people who work with you. The most successful people I have seen who have ADD or other prefrontal cortex problems are those people who have others help them with organization. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help.
If you or someone you know is struggling with ADD do not hesitate to ask for help, call Amen Clinics at 888-288-9834 or visit our website.