I have a big academic paper to write. This kind of task, like many we encounter at work, requires sustained energy and focus. But after awhile, we all need a break. So what is the best way to unwind for a few minutes? Coffee, candy, stretching?
1) Take a nature walk. Researchers at the University of Michigan proved that performance on tasks that require sustained focus improved by 20% when subjects took a nature break. It has to be nature, not just any walk down a city street. Apparently the elements engage our minds differently than other types of settings. So if you have a park, arboretum, or nature trail near by, get on it!
2) Stanford researchers found that people who believe they have unlimited willpower can work longer and keep their performance up. Good news for college students who need to power through studying for an exam or those of us who must make a deadline. Just believe you can do it.
3) Go exercise or grab a healthy snack. This seems to be better than downing coffee to help with concentrate. Too much coffee can increase anxiety and leave you more stressed than before a break. And the choice of an energy boosting snack is better than one loaded with sugar and fat. So if you are yawning at your desk and need a boost, Health.com recommends 1/2 cup sliced banana or a small apple with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, 4 wholegrain crackers spread with 1 tablespoon of hummus, 1/4 cup of dried fruit or nuts, 6 ounces of plain nonfat yogurt mixed with a tablespoon of granola, or a whole grain high protein bar,