How to Improve Cognitive Function with These 9 Simple Steps
This year we have increased academic achievement goals in our house. This is not because my children’s grades have been bad, in fact they have been pretty exceptional.
The reason why, is not because we want to try to be some overachievers but rather it came about after watching a speaker at doTERRA convention from Gallup. He spoke about strengths and how maximizing our strengths instead of focusing on our weaknesses which creates for even more strength accelerated, more confidence and a much more purposeful life.
I decided it was time to help my children's already strong brains get even stronger! Now this isn't to say they don't have mental focus issues at times, I think all kids do, and sometimes certain foods, emotions and environmental triggers make it worse than others! Here is what we are doing to increase mental focus and cognitive function for study.
Step 1: Diet is King
What your kids put in their belly directly affects their brain. It’s called our second brain for a reason and now research shows your brain is what you eat. So choose wisely, avoid neurotoxins such as high fructose corn syrup, food coloring, MSG and other additives such as aspartame. Some children react more than others, but all should avoid non-food chemicals that are classified as neurotoxins.
Even in other countries like Europe food dye is listed to cause hyperactivity in children as a warning on the mac and cheese box! Check out my favorite Pediatrician’s website who I have learned so much of on gut health and the brain. If you want to learn more, check out his site Dr. Mario Brus here. He teaches in depth on this topic and cognitive function. He’s an expert in this field and has helped my kids so much with attention issues.
Step 2: Meditation, Yoga, Prayer
We do this every night, at the very least we pray and read together. Meditation is something we are working on getting better at doing on a daily basis. Research shows meditation lowers anxiety, increases focus, and makes for a happier brain. I am using Wikipedia here out of sheer time because they have posted TONS of research on the topic of meditation as treatment for a myriad of psychological issues.
Step 3: Quality time
We do this because it’s my children’s love language. I take them on one-on-one dates and ask them specific questions about their day;
- What was good?
- What was stressful?
- How was class?
- What was your favorite thing about school today?
- How are you getting along with friends?
- What are you loving right now?
- How are you treating people?
- Are they also treating you well?
- How can I support you better?
- What can you do for yourself right now?
We talk every night at bedtime and get all their wiggles out and stresses or excitement out so their brains can sleep well. Quality time is a must for making them feel loved, confident and important, all increase cognitive function.
A new study has been published in the Journal of Family Issues, led by Brown University sociologist Gregory Elliott. This study shows that adolescents who believe they matter to their families are less likely to threaten or engage in violence against family members. The article, Quality of Early Maternal-Child Relationship and Risk of Adolescent Obesity in the January 2012 issue of Pediatrics (which was published online in December 2011) reveals that the quality of the emotional relationship between a mother and her young child could affect the potential for that child to be obese during adolescence.
Step 4: Essential oils
This is a fundamental part of the cognitive function in our house. The studies related to cognitive function are ongoing and expansive. Just look here, here and here for starters. Here is how we use them in our house.
- For sleep Serenity sleep capsules a must have, doTERRA did an in-house study proving better, more quality sleep using these, my kids take one at bedtime. I would give this to a child older than 6, for those under use serenity sleep blend on spine and feet. This study will be available soon.
- We use Cedarwood along spine (read the study here)
- Intune Focus Blend: Swipe under nose (many oils are studied in this blend but all make disease claims which I can’t post)
- Vetiver on feet (grounding effect) (studies make disease claims cannot disclose due to regulations)
- Peppermint diffused (read the study here)
- Rosemary diffused (read the study here)
Step 5: Supplementation for Brain function
We feed our nervous system with healthy fats! Basically, your brain is over 60% essential fatty acids and up to 95% of Americans are deficient according to Dr. David Hill CMO at doTERRA.
Up to 80% of the cerebral cortex should be essential fatty acids. The SAD (Standard American Diet) is mostly comprised of inflammatory fats which are inflammatory to the brain which can lead to ADD and ADHD. So we avoid at all costs. GMO oil that is drenched in herbicides and pesticides (neurotoxins and inflammatory oil could it get any worse?) Avoid fried foods in GMO oil.
The fats we try to focus on are butter (yes butterfat is saturated but healthy for the brain ). We try to eat vegetables rich in fatty acids like avocado, olives, raw nuts and seeds. Cooked nuts can be inflammatory as it denatures the oil making it unhealthy, rancid and inflammatory. Coconut oil is a big one around here because it is healthy and doesn't denature in high heat.
We fry our foods in things like butter, coconut oil and duck fat, this is the healthy alternative to GMO vegetable oils that denature when heated and are full of poisonous herbicides like glyphosate known to cause gut health and brain health issues. Duck fat, butter and animal fats do not denature when heated and can contribute to our health in a big way.
We also add supplements to our diet in the form of doTERRAS XEO mega fatty acids to increase our fat intake which also helps dramatically with sugar cravings because it helps balance blood sugar.
We use Mito2max for increased COq10 and ashwagandha. Coq10 contributes to oxygenating the brain and Ashwagandha helps with stress adrenal and thyroid function:) Both great for increased cognitive function!
Step 6: Emotional Balance In The Home
We always try to create a healthy emotional environment in the home to increase their feelings of confidence, security and love which all contribute to better cognitive development. We also use the amazing doTERRA emotional blends to help shift emotional tones in the body. (don't purchase from the retail link, contact me for 25% off)
Step 7: Get Adequate Sleep
Researchers found a profound effect on lack of sleep and the brain. You can read more about the study here. I know when my kids have rested it's night and day with their ability to learn. Here is information on Serenity and sleep quality
Step 8: Focus On The Strengths
After learning from a Gallup expert at my last convention in SLC, I learned that when you focus on the children's weakness they don't improve much. When focusing on their strengths, they improve dramatically. Having kids focus on their weaknesses is like having Lebron James practice baseball when he should be focusing on basketball.
Now this is an analogy to sports, but the same goes according to Gallup when it comes to academic, kids should learn the subjects, yes, but having them focus more on their strengths their A's rather than B’s and C’s is better for self-esteem and what lights them up inside
Step 9: Hire A Tutor To Make Homework Faster
That’s right, when kids understand concepts instead of having confusion, they can spend less time on homework and more time on play time, which is better for the brain! I hired a high school student for $12 a session. Once a week is definitely affordable:) so why don't I help them with their homework? I have found I’m not great at homework!
So I am working hard at focusing on what I am good at, cuddles, essential oils, lots of love and healthy meals:) Instead of getting discouraged by not being a great tutor, I am focusing on the fact that I am an excellent MENTOR!
What are your strengths? I’d love to hear from you.
PS...This isn’t to say that we don't work on things that need improvement such as better attitudes during chore time. We try to focus on the positive things they do well so their natural talents can be developed.
If you are ready to make a change in your life and experience more balance, wellness and empowerment using certified pure essential oils then let’s chat.
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