The general mantra is ‘if you love your job, you will be successful’. However, I find that hard to believe when I am slumped on the sofa with a box of chocolates and a bucket of wine after a long week at work. Whether you want to succeed at work, in a personal pursuit, or within your family, a change of lifestyle can give you the zest of life you need for victory.
Short of having your own personal motivational speaker, scientists have found that changes in lifestyle, particularly related to food and exercise, can have an extensive impact on your personal development. This article uncovers some of the best foods and exercise regimes to set you on a path to success.
Although we know that what we consume can affect energy levels, few of us are aware that food has a direct impact on our cognitive performance. In 2014, the British Journal of Health Psychology released a report detailing how what we choose to fuel our bodies with influences how we perform daily.
Over a period of 13 days, 405 young adults completed an internet diary; reporting their meals and snacks. Furthermore, they were asked to record their happiness levels, curiosity, creativity, and general mental wellbeing. Correlating the data found that those who ate up to seven portions of vegetables or fruit per day were more switched-on, creative, and happy.
The results were not surprising. Fruits and vegetables carry nutrients critical to health. The nutrients act as a catalyst for the creation of dopamine (a neurotransmitter that makes us feel highly engaged, motivated, and fulfilled). Furthermore, the antioxidants present in a variety of vegetables and fruits reduce bodily inflammation, improve mood, and expand memory.
Therefore, whether you want to flourish at work, take your freelance project to the next level, or simply improve your life overall, making informed choices about what you eat is imperative. However, do not deprive yourself of the foods you covet; everything in moderation.
What Foods are Best for Success?
Any fruit or vegetable is going to give your brain a kick-start, but it is not just these food groups that can benefit your well-being. Carbohydrates, fats, and proteins can also keep your mind in its prime and help you remain engage; boosting productivity. Take a look at the foods below and start inserting them into your diet.
- Coconut Oil delivers saturated fat which is a key nutrient for brain cell functionality.
- Like dopamine found in fruits and vegetables, eggs contain the chemical choline. Choline helps produce acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that positively affects the skeleton and muscles. Furthermore, eggs are rich in cholesterol, an important component of brain cell membranes.
- Research from the American Journal of Epidemiology found that the vitamin E found in nuts can prevent cognitive decline.
- Sage is regarded as a key herb (particularly in oil form) for improving concentration and memory.
- Did you know your occasional glass of red wine could help your mind? The tipple is rich in polyphenols that boost blood flow to the brain.
- Similarly, dark chocolate is also a great provider of polyphenols – fantastic news!
- All oily fish is good for you but salmon is extremely great for DHA (an omega-3 oil). It encourages the growth of cells in the brain’s memory centre and also preserves brain health.
- Have a handful of blueberries as a snack. The miniature fruit helps reduce brain inflammation; a cause of brain degenerative disorders. Furthermore, it is saturated with antioxidants which protect the brain.
Food for the Soul
The food you fuel your body with can undoubtedly have a positive impact on your brain and see you thriving in life. There is a reason why top athletes are intelligent and highly-committed. To supplement your diet, find your trainers in the back of your closet and dust them down because working out can improve your happiness, general health, and sleep pattern. This in turn can boost your concentration, memory, and mental sharpness which are all key attributes for high flyers.
Some of the world’s most successful individuals owe part of their success to their fitness routine. Richard Branson states in Tim Ferriss’ book, The 4-Hour Body, that his regime of rock climbing, Bikram Yoga, swimming, and weightlifting gives him four extra hours of productivity per day.
In a report from The Guardian, editor-in-chief of American Vogue, Anna Wintour, wakes up every day at 5:45am to play tennis. This routine keeps her disciplined and moving forward. Similarly, Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes turned to yoga after back injuries from his youth blighted his normal exercise routine. In an interview with Business Insider he stated: “It gave me time to clear my head, unpack the volumes of new information I was absorbing each day, and then come back with a new, clearer perspective on the problems at hand.”
Choose whatever exercise suits your lifestyle; even walking can have a fantastic effect on your physical and mental health. The key with exercising for success if less to do with the physical changes (although they are a pleasant bonus) but the way they set you up to thrive. Working hard and working out are a perfect match and here are the reasons why:
- Exercising will bring out your competitiveness.
- Having a routine will have you striving to meet schedules and achieve goals.
- An elevated level of self-discipline.
- Working out will make you resilient and better at breaking bad habits.
- A decrease in stress levels enables you to clear brain fog, resulting in clearer thinking.
- Increased energy levels will improve productivity.
- The way in which you achieve success will be more intense (i.e. working longer hours).