Focus has been a major area of academia for hundreds of years. Dating back to the ancient Greeks trying to understand what makes us lose focus on what we are doing. But now we find things like focus, centration, and attention common discussions amongst non-academic circles.
One quick look on Facebook, Instagram, etc. will show all kinds of tools, tips, tricks, etc. to help increase how long you can focus on one project at a time.
But why is focus such a large area of discussion now? Well simply that being productive is a major desire for a large number of people. With the internet allowing everyone to be their own boss, we could all be millionaires if we could just work longer and harder. Which means we need to be able to focus longer on a given project.
I would first argue that meditation is the best tool we have for increasing our attention span. That can look like breathing techniques, certain types of yoga or a host of mindfulness practices. I would encourage everyone reading this to try some type of meditation. But in this blog, we are going to focus on what kind of supplements and medication can help your brain power.
First and foremost, there are Adderall or other central nervous system stimulants similar to Adderall. This entire branch of medication is a conversation you need to have with your doctor. And the truth is they do work. They have shown clinically to help a wide variety of people. But there are two drawbacks with these compounds.
Long Term Side Effects of Adderall
The first would be behavioral changes. Long term use of Adderall has shown to increase anxiety and increase mood swings. Neither of these are life threatening but that is a hard pill to swallow for me. (Dad jokes are free here) Although we want to be more productive, I can’t imagine a world where being anxious and rich sounds like a pleasant place to live. Moreover, just being productive is not all it takes to be successful. There is also planning, communication and consistency.
Secondly is the physical health effects. We all know methamphetamines and the long-term effects that seems to have on people. Adderall is simply dextroamphetamines, dextro meaning sugar. The difference between these two amphetamines is quite stark. But they are in the same family. And prolonged use is not an added benefit to your heart, liver, and gut health.
So then here are some options that are natural, healthy and I personally have been using for years. The first one is going to blow your mind, but caffeine is actually an incredibly powerful tool. The issue is that people now are consuming way more than what is really needed. 200 to 300 mgs in a single drink are commonplace now. And although that is not going to kill you, it has almost no help for concentration. For myself 50 – 150 mgs at a given time is perfect. This is barely perceptible but allows your mind to flow much easier. Where you can work continuously with minimized distraction.
Next is L-Theanine, this amino acid helps calm the “jittery” effect caffeine can have over time. It really smoothes the effect of caffeine so as to not go from alert over to anxious. Allowing the mind to stay in a controlled but awake state.
Adderall vs Nootropics
Now for the really fun stuff, phenyl piracetam and nefiracetam. These two compounds are from the same family of racetams, a powerful group of nootropics. The major difference between these two compounds and something like Adderall, is they help feed your brain more nutrients rather than firing up your central nervous system. Adderall like meth is very simply firing up your central nervous system thus allowing your mind to focus in deeper. As where these racetams are increasing blood flow to your brain.
That increased blood flow comes with more glucose absorption, the fuel your brain runs on (simple sugar). With more fuel there is more activity more neurons being fired. As well as an increase in oxygen consumption. Basically, if we were to really simplify the process its much like muscle building products for you workout. We are increasing blood flow to the prefrontal cortex, thus allowing for more energy and nutrients to be used. Thus, allowing a higher level of performance.
The best part of these compounds is that they increase your brain function more and more after a longer usage. It has a better effect the longer you use it. Again, much like for muscles, the more we can feed in nutrients over the long term the stronger it becomes.