Are you someone who has a really hard time focusing? If so, don’t be so hard on yourself. Between stress, fatigue (which oftentimes comes as the direct result of sleep deprivation), a fluctuation of hormones, getting easily distracted, and even sheer boredom, a lack of focus and concentration is something that happens to us all — more often than most of us would care to admit.
The good news is there’s one way that you can actually get yourself back centered — and that is to eat certain foods; ones that are proven to provide the kind of nutrients that you need in order to focus on the task(s) at hand. Because the reality is, our diet plays a direct role in how much we’re able to focus (or not focus). So, are you ready to see what can get you back on track?
Personally, I’m someone who is a fan of eating berries when they are actually in season, which is basically from May thru August. Waiting until then means that you are able to get the most benefits from them. Plus, you don’t have to worry (as much) about artificial colors and preservatives that are oftentimes found in berries when they are sold year-round. Berries are good for you because they are full of antioxidants and fiber, can improve your blood sugar levels, and are great at fighting bodily inflammation.
And why are berries beneficial when it comes to helping you to maintain your focus? It’s because they contain flavonoid compounds called anthocyanins that help to increase blood flow to your brain. As a direct result, berries can increase your brain power and even improve your short-term memory.
If you’re looking to get some protein, selenium, and zinc into your system, eggs will totally have your back. Eggs are also good for you because they’ve got choline in them; it’s awesome because it helps to build up the cell membranes that are in your system. Some other cool things about eggs are they play a role in lowering your risk of heart disease and they’re full of amino acids (which support your immunity, are a great energy source, and support the growth of hair, skin, and nails) too.
Thanks to the vitamins B6 and B12 that are also in eggs (these vitamins help to increase brain health) and the choline that is directly linked to improving your memory, this is why eggs have easily made this list too.
3. Fatty Fish
The kinds of fish that make the “fatty fish” list include salmon, albacore tuna, and sardines. What makes these a standout kind of fish is they are loaded with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. These acids are good for you because they assist with improving your eye health, reducing your heart disease risk, fighting bodily inflammation, fighting off autoimmune diseases, decreasing asthma in children, easing menstrual discomfort, improving bone and joint health and it can help to prevent cancer.
Oh, but when it comes to all of the foods on this list that are great for your brain, fatty fish is unmatched because omega-3s can also level out mood swings, reduce ADHD levels in kids, improve blood flow to your brain, sharpen your memory and preserve brain cell membrane health. So, if you like nothing more than a salmon Caesar salad…what are you waiting for?
4. Dark Leafy Greens
I say it often because it will always be the truth. If there is any kind of food that is the ultimate multivitamin, it’s dark leafy greens. They’re full of just about every vitamin you can think of (especially iron, calcium, potassium, fiber, and vitamins A, C, E, and K). They’re able to reduce oxidative stress. They improve bone health. They boost immunity. They improve digestion. They strengthen vision. They reduce the risk of heart disease. They also keep your blood cells in good shape.
Having a salad a few times a week can be great for your brain because not only can it help to keep your brain young, the folate that’s in them can also improve your mood, calm your nervous system and decrease mental fatigue too. When your brain is alert, you can definitely concentrate better.
Oranges are a good source of protein (when it’s the fruit, not the juice), fiber, and definitely vitamin C. It’s a type of citrus fruit that also contains plant compounds that reduce inflammation, lower your blood pressure and support how antioxidants are processed throughout your system. Oranges also assist with preventing chronic disease and anemia as well as lowering your cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Since oranges are a solid source of fructose (also known as “fruit sugar”), they can kick up your energy levels, so that you are able to focus better and complete tasks that you may have on hand. (Do keep in mind that a “sugar rush” typically only lasts for 30-60 minutes, though.)
When I would spend the summers with my great-grandmother, there were going to be at least a few days when she was going to put some beets on my plate (yuck). And while I can probably count on one hand, just how many times I’ve had them since I’ve been able to grocery shop on my own, my memory continues to be pretty on-point; so, maybe beets have played a part in that. Aside from them also being a good source of fiber and protein, beets contain folate, manganese, nitrates (which improve athletic performance), and anti-cancer properties.
Brain-wise, beets are great because the nitrates in them can increase blood flow to your brain; specifically the part of your brain that is connected to assisting you with your decision-making process.
7. Green Tea
If you wanna get a ton of antioxidants into your system with one drink, look no further than green tea. Its polyphenols will reduce inflammation and fight cancer. Certain properties in it can help to boost your metabolism levels and burn fat. If you’ve got a bout of bad breath, green tea can help to inhibit the growth of oral bacteria. Green tea can also help to prevent type-2 diabetes, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and it can even increase longevity.
Drink some (hot or cold) if you want some help concentrating because it’s the kind of tea that boosts both dopamine and norepinephrine levels (which can help with your memory and your level of alertness). Plus, green tea has caffeine in it and since caffeine is a stimulant, it can give you an energy boost. Long-term, another benefit of green tea is it also has catechin compounds; those are awesome because they can help to prevent cognitive decline.
As more and more time goes by, an herb that I’m becoming a huge fan of is rosemary. I like cooking with it and using rosemary essential oil on my hair and skin has been life-changing! Benefits-wise, rosemary is good for your overall health and well-being because it’s a great source of vitamins A, B6, C, iron, calcium, and antioxidants. All of this works together to strengthen your immunity, improve blood circulation, assist with digestive issues, fight bacterial infections, and even slow down the greying process.
Rosemary is beneficial if you need a focus pick-me-up because it can reduce the stress levels that make it difficult for you to concentrate, it’s a cognitive stimulant that can improve your memory and, its scent can put you into a better mood and clear your mind so that you’re able to knock more things off of your daily to-do lists.
9. Dark Chocolate
Iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, protein, fiber, and antioxidants are just some of the nutrients that are found in dark chocolate. What’s awesome about this treat is it lowers your cholesterol levels, boosts your libido, decreases your heart disease risk, protects your skin from damaging UV rays, and lowers your risk of having a stroke.
The flavonoids, caffeine, and antioxidants in dark chocolate are helpful because they can enhance your memory, boost your mood and increase blood flow to your brain — that way, you’re able to concentrate so much better.
Protein? Broccoli’s got that. Fiber? Broccoli’s got that. Vitamins A and C? Broccoli is a super source of both of these. It also contains antioxidants, sulforaphane (a sulfur-rich compound), and bioactive compounds that can help to prevent inflammation. Some other great things about broccoli include the fact that it helps to prevent certain types of cancer (like breast, bladder, and prostate) from developing, it supports heart health and it can relieve constipation (although the flip side of this is it could create gas).
Eating some broccoli for lunch could get you through the rest of your workday. That’s because it also contains bioactive compounds that help your brain and nerve tissue. Plus, the sulforaphane in this veggie can help to prevent oxygenation of your brain so that it’s able to work at peak conditions. So, even if it’s just snacking on a few florets while dipping them in your favorite dressing, help your brain out by having some broccoli more often. When it comes to that thing that needs your total concentration, broccoli just might do the trick!
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
How We Met is a series where xoNecole talks love and relationships with real-life couples. We learn how they met, how like turned into love, and how they make their love work.
I’m willing to bet that this is not the first time you’ve seen this couple. Dalen Spratt is a television producer, owner of a tailored men's suit line, and creator of Ghost Brothers: Haunted Houseguests, which is currently streaming on Destination America. Stacey Spratt is also a serial entrepreneur, focusing mostly on events and the nonprofit world, and she is the owner of two award-winning craft beer bars called Harlem Hops. But their accolades are not what united them.
The couple met years ago at their alma mater, Clark Atlanta University, when they were still working to create the life they have now, and if you had told them then that they’d eventually tie the knot, the pair probably would’ve laughed in your face.
Today, they’re new parents, flourishing in their careers, and each others’ “teammates.” When desiring love, Dalen recommends not looking to other couples for advice. And Stacey advises staying true to what you want. “Don’t put age or limitations on love and children. If God could do it for me, why can’t he do it for you?”
Here's How We Met.
How did you meet?
Dalen: We met in 2005 when she was advising the Greek sororities and fraternities in college. She was old as hell in college, and I was a young buck (laughs). Everybody had a crush on her, but I didn’t think much of it. Then, in 2007, we were in the same grad school class, but she still wasn’t trying to see me then either. I had to catch her five years ago; I was very patient.
Stacey: Yeah, everybody in our grad school class called him Young, Fresh to Death because he was always dressed in B-school (what CAU affectionately refers to as business major classes), and we’d just wear sweatpants (laughs).
So, I know Dalen was always attracted to you. But what about you? Did your attraction to him develop over time?
Stacey: So 2006-2008 – all the years went by. I don’t think we were really thinking about each other at all back then. Years later, I had an event in Dallas, and I booked him to be a speaker. Then, a few years ago, Dalen posted a photo of him on Instagram, and I slid in his DMs. I remembered him being so young and handsome, and I’m like, I should hook him up with my younger cousin. His response was: "If you’re not hooking me up with you, no thank you." But I still thought he was too young at the time, and he started pulling receipts. Taraji P. Henson was dating someone young at the time, Gabrielle Union–
Dalen: First of all, I didn’t do that. You did that.
Stacey: Okay, I did. I thought he was a cutie pie, but that age thing was on my mind!
"Dalen posted a photo of him on Instagram, and I slid in his DMs. I remembered him being so young and handsome, and I’m like, I should hook him up with my younger cousin. His response was: 'If you’re not hooking me up with you, no thank you.'"
Talk to me about the first date. How did he change your mind?
Stacey: Our first date was at Tin Lizzy's in Atlanta. During that time, he was living in Dallas, so it was long-distance. But he came into town, and we just had a good time. We talked a lot, which we still do. It wasn’t anything fantastic.
Dalen: Don’t downplay our first date.
Then, walk me through your courtship. How did you get to the next level? What was that conversation like?
Stacey: I think he knew at age 43 or 44 I wasn’t playing around. But also, I think it just naturally progressed.
Dalen: Yeah, it just happened naturally. And I’m going to be honest, I don’t think initially either one of us thought it would be as serious as it was. She thought I was too young and I wasn’t ready for marriage, kids, and all that. I think we both thought we were just hanging out. But after spending so much time together, a lot of stuff started happening. Like, she had to have surgery early on. It wasn’t just time together; it was intimate time. Next thing we know, we just never left each other. That’s why we still don’t have an anniversary date because we never really asked.
"It wasn't just time together; it was intimate time. Next thing we know, we just never left each other. That's why we still don't have an anniversary date because we never really asked."
What made you want to commit to each other?
Dalen: The moment I knew Stacey was for me was from a phone call. I don’t really like talking on the phone, and I can be really blunt sometimes. But we were talking, and I said, ‘I don’t really feel like talking anymore.’ And she was just like, okay, and hung up. I wasn’t trying to be rude, and she understood that. It sounds bad, but that’s how I knew she just got me. I felt like she could get my random awkward moments, and she does to this day.
Stacey: For me, I liked him as a person. Even when times get rough and tough, I could still like him as a human. He is my best friend. We have time. We laugh until we cry, and it’s just always like that. Even when we get pissed at each other, something happens, and we fix it. Also, how he treats his mother. That’s a momma’s boy, but I’m a daddy’s girl – so I get it. I know how I want to be treated, and I see how he is with her and that’s beautiful.
What are some important lessons you’ve learned about yourself through loving your partner in this relationship?
Dalen: I grew up an only child and she grew up with siblings. So, when you have someone who is used to doing things by themselves, there is definitely a learning curve when you get into a serious relationship. It’s funny now, but it was definitely a process.
Stacey: I agree – definitely the only child thing. There’s times I look at him like, did you ever live with anyone else? That comes from being momma's baby, too. I have to say, my “mother-in-love” spoiled him. But also with Axel (their daughter), that brings another level of patience.
Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images
What was the biggest challenge that you had to overcome together?
Dalen: We’ve gone through a lot within the years we’ve been together. We suffered two miscarriages – I’d say that’s the biggest.
Stacey: Having those miscarriages and trying to understand what’s next and what our options are was a lot. I had two myomectomies (fibroid surgeries), and he supported me through that time. Also, still, it was on my mind that he’s eight years younger than me. I was wondering if I can’t carry [a child] what that looks like for us. We had very real conversations pretty early in our relationship.
"Having those miscarriages and trying to understand what’s next and what our options are was a lot. I had two myomectomies (fibroid surgeries), and he supported me through that time. Also, still, it was on my mind that he’s eight years younger than me."
What do you fight the most about?
Dalen: Nagging. Stacey nags; she’s a complainer. She’s that momma that will look in a room and just hunt for something to complain about. Like, I’m worried for Axel when she's in high school.
Stacey: It’s because I like things to be in place. He leaves stuff all over the place. I can tell where he’s been in the house because something is left around. So he says I’m nagging – but it’s like, just get your stuff.
What are your love languages?
Dalen: Stacey is gifts all day.
Dalen: We’ve talked about this. xoNecole is about to cause problems in our home (laughs).
Stacey: Obviously I love you. *thinks again* It’s words of affirmation.
Dalen: That’s it.
What’s your favorite thing about each other?
Dalen: I’ve always respected her business-mindedness. That may sound superficial, but it’s not because I’ve never been with someone who thinks like me. It’s one of my most treasured things about her. I remember one day, I was just running through ideas with her, and each time Stacey had a suggestion on how I could make it better. It’s just very comforting. She takes whatever I’m doing and elevates it – including me.
Stacey: I love Dalen’s hustle and creativity. He’s been on multiple shows, and he continues to create, produce, and reinvent himself and the product he’s putting out. I love that we can create together and bounce things off each other. Even though we may be in different arenas, there’s nothing he can’t offer me great advice about. I love that drive.
Finally, how did you know it was love?
Dalen: Well – she said it – first. (laughs)
Stacey: And he looked at me and smiled! He didn’t say it back. We were on a trip, out of the country.
Dalen: We were arguing when she said it, and she just threw it out.
Stacey: But we continue to do that. We’ve spent holidays and everything outside of the country.
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The Scorpio man and Pisces woman form a relationship that is heartfelt, sincere, and not for the weak. There is an immediate connection and familiarity between these two, being that they are both water signs and are both ruled by their emotions. They are on a similar playing field in life, yet they go about their desires in love in a very different way.
Scorpio Man And Pisces Woman Love Compatibility
Ultimately, a partnership being formed between the two is an intimate and emotionally transformative one, and this is a relationship they both never forget. Things can get messy, but if they are willing to do the work within, then the love can also be pretty amazing for them as well. They are all in or nothing when it comes to partnerships, and they learn a lot about true commitment and vulnerability through this pairing.
What attracts a Scorpio man to a Pisces woman?
The Scorpio man is attracted to the Pisces woman's mysterious aura and emotional demeanor. The Pisces woman is attracted to the same things as the Scorpio man. See, these two are more similar than most signs of the zodiac, and they can intuitively feel this about each other right away. Pisces and Scorpio often share similar interests and have a lot of opportunities to meet each other because they like to do the same things and are often in the same places. These are two creative and artistic souls, and there is something that they both find inspiring about each other right away.
The connection and synergy of a Pisces and Scorpio couple is undeniable, and there is a strong force in life that often brings these two together. The Pisces woman can feel that there is more to the surface than the Scorpio man presents right away, and this is instantly intriguing to her, being that she rules the 12th house, which is where everything is hidden in life. The Pisces woman has secrets of her own, and she sees the Scorpio man as someone who can resonate with how she feels and dive deeper into the relationship together.
What is the relationship like between a Pisces woman and a Scorpio man?
The relationship between the Pisces woman and the Scorpio man is emotional. Emotions run very high in this relationship, which is often a good thing, but can turn into something entirely different very quickly as well. The Pisces woman and Scorpio man often get into a relationship together quickly. They are not earth signs that take their time developing a relationship; they are water signs that base their decisions on their emotions and go with the flow of the currents here.
So when they meet and they feel that instant connection with each other, they often jump into a pairing with one another right away.
This couple will enjoy spending time together and will feel like they are deeply understood in the relationship. There is a comfort here that is truly profound, and if anything, they are best friends first and foremost. However, the Pisces woman and Scorpio man tend to let their emotions overwhelm them and can turn little things into something bigger. Arguments or disagreements in this relationship can get messy, and they are both somewhat emotionally impulsive. Neither will forgive and forget easily as well, so reaching a point of forgiveness or harmony after something challenging occurs may never happen.
This relationship works best if both parties have already experienced a long-term commitment or have learned their lessons in love and evolved. The longevity of the relationship will depend on how they begin it. However, the love they have for one another is undeniable.
What is the sex like between a Scorpio man and a Pisces woman?
The sex life between the Pisces woman and Scorpio man is transcendent. They tend to have no issues in the bedroom, and that instant connection they feel when they meet often has an underlying energy of sexual compatibility as well. This isn’t the type of couple to wait a long time to explore each other in the bedroom, and they form a deep intensity here right away. They are looking to connect on many different levels, and they feel enough compatibility in the connection to do so.
The Pisces woman is willing to explore in the bedroom, and the Scorpio man is ready for anything. This is a couple who will entertain role-play, bondage, etc., and there are a few limitations to what they are both interested in. With the Pisces woman providing a safe space to many, the Scorpio man feels comfortable opening up in many different ways, the main one including behind closed doors and in the bedroom. They are emotional at their core, however, and will still want a level of intimacy with each other that goes deeper than just sex, so although their sex life is great, there is more they both want at the end of the day.
What makes a relationship between a Pisces woman and a Scorpio man work?
What makes the relationship work between these two water signs, is that they both understand each other deeply. They don’t have to explain themselves or work too hard on getting to know each other because it’s almost instant that they do. They speak the same language, in other words, and they can learn a lot from each other in the process. They are more open with each other, and their more reclusive demeanor changes in the presence of one another. This is a couple that likes to spend time together doing things that each other has an interest in.
At the end of the day, these are just two people who want to love and be loved, and they can give each other that.
The Pisces woman helps the Scorpio man open up more, go with the flow, and trust the universe. The Scorpio man helps the Pisces woman step into her power, stick up for herself more, and live life fully. There is something creative and eye-opening about this pairing, and they create their own world together. Trust is everything between the both of them and once they have that, they lay the foundation for the relationship to grow and thrive.
What may cause a Scorpio man and a Pisces woman to break up?
The thing about a water sign relationship is that things can get messy. Emotions are always running high, and if they are not on the same page, this can lead to the energy of the relationship being all over the place. The Pisces woman is loyal, attentive, and compassionate, but she is also a free spirit who likes her space and freedom. The Scorpio man, on the other hand, craves deep intimacy and partnership and may have a hard time trusting the Pisces woman, and that trust needs to be had in a relationship.
Scorpio may find Pisces to be too wishy-washy for his liking, although Pisces just sees herself as someone open-minded and flexible and doesn't understand why the Scorpio man can’t be a little more like that as well.
This relationship can fall apart due to things becoming overwhelming too quickly. They tend to get into the relationship quickly and break up just as fast as well. If they can act on mental clarity as much as they do their emotions, then this can create a more solid ground for the relationship to grow and continue to grow upon. You would think that being with someone who is the same element as you is a recipe for success in a relationship, but two of the same things can be too much at the end of the day.
Summary: Is a Scorpio man and a Pisces woman compatible?
Ultimately, this is a relationship with high compatibility, and depending on the two people at hand, it will determine how things unfold here. They have the tools needed to form a sincere, loving, and compassionate relationship but will have to confront each other's differences with the same attitude to work. Once the first challenge or conflict arises in the relationship, how they handle it afterward will determine if the relationship is going to work out or not.
These two are perfect when things are going well, but can be dramatic when they are not. The Pisces woman and Scorpio man can’t get enough of each other at the end of the day, and this will indeed be a relationship that they will never forget.
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