Say Farewell To The Pool, Let’s Get Back To School

By Jon P. Frieda, MBA

As the last couple of weeks of summer vacation wind down, parents and children are preparing for the return of a new school year. Love it or loathe it, every student from first grade through graduate school is best served by being mentally sharp, physically fit, and with a strong immune system. An ancient Chinese medicine proverb states quite simply, “how you got to where you are today in this season is a direct reflection of where you’ve been in the previous seasons”. This simple yet profound statement is the key to approaching back to school preparations, and a remarkable unit of measure with which to found the rest of a student’s outlook on life as a young adult and beyond. Interested? If so, read on as we highlight some important fundamentals of beginning a new school year and explore some practical hacks to give yourself an edge during the academic year ahead.

How does one maintain mental sharpness? The simple answer is to get a good night’s sleep. The fascinating answer is awe inspiring. If you are not familiar with the term neurotransmitter, the Oxford dictionary states that it is “a chemical substance that is released at the end of a nerve fiber by the arrival of a nerve impulse and, by diffusing across the synapse or junction, causes the transfer of the impulse to another nerve fiber, a muscle fiber, or some other structure”. Before your eyes begin to glaze over, this has everything to do with the degree to which your body communicates effectively and efficiently in harmony with itself, or just making a lot of noise.

The important thing to be aware of is that the majority of your neurotransmitters are produced in your gut when you are sleeping at night, and they travel up to your brain via the vagus nerve, the tenth cranial nerve coming off of your brainstem. This means that if you have a disrupted sleep cycle on a consistent basis, then you can develop a neurotransmitter imbalance that will manifest as everything from symptoms of ADD/ADHD, decreased memory and cognition, anxiety, and more. Not exactly the ideal makeup for success as a student or life in general for the most part. Yet so many of us routinely and likely unknowingly sabotage our full potential by neglecting our body’s need for a rhythmic sleep/wake cycle.

A winning approach to a great night’s sleep is recommended. Sleep is your best asset for being physically fit and having a strong immune system. Like all things in life that are worth something, achieving them requires discipline and a plan.

Are you aware that your brain goes through four different phases of brain wave activity throughout the day? When you are falling asleep your brain goes into theta. In deep sleep your brain goes into delta. When you wake up and for about the first 30 to 90 minutes of the day, your brain enters back into theta. Then while you are getting ready for school, showering, eating breakfast, loading up your book bag, etc., your brain goes into alpha. Then when you get to school and begin with class, your brain goes into beta. When you get back home and begin to unwind and relax, your brain goes into alpha. As you transition into your bedtime routine and you lay down to fall asleep your brain goes into theta, and then once sleeping, back into delta.

Ready for the brain hack? Interestingly, during hypnosis your brain enters into theta. This means that your brain naturally presents you with an opportunity to partake in self-hypnosis twice a day, while you are falling asleep and when you first wake up in the morning.

For a student who chooses to mindfully manifest a game changer, you can listen to subliminal recordings during theta at night, and fall asleep to encouragement, planting the seeds of empowerment. A message to install a program in your brain of academic confidence. To not take the easy way out and just cram the night before an exam or a paper is due and hope for the best. To be disciplined and do the work every day because the view at the top of the mountain is worth it. Memorizing and repeating positive affirmations about school, studying, exams and papers during this time of theta will also trigger a change in your awareness and beliefs, making it easier to challenge yourself and test the limits of your creativity and imagination.

For a student who wants to be proactive and win the day, you can start by proactively making your bed. If you successfully do this, then you set yourself up to experience success the next activity you direct your attention to. Stretch, do some jumping jacks, move your body, breath. Doing this before you shower or eat breakfast will jumpstart your metabolism and get more blood flowing to your brain.

For a student who wants a clear picture of where to direct their attention and energy, spend some time journaling or visualizing about your day, week, month and year and what that will look and feel like at each milestone of the journey. Remember that FAIL stands for First Attempt in Learning. You can use what you’ve learned from the previous experience by applying it to the next task at hand.

For a student who wants to maintain a healthy and resilient immune system and decrease the chance of getting cold, flu or mono during the school year, resist primarily eating foods that are high in refined sugar and carbohydrates. Stress from not sleeping well or not putting your body in motion can increase sugar cravings and prime the body for opportunistic infections (the growth of pathogenic bacteria, candida overgrowth, and even parasites) and increase acne for students at the beginning of puberty through the college years and beyond.

Be aware that your brain needs glucose to function or it will literally shut down. Look to eat more raw fresh fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Select lean meats for healthy proteins.

For a student to take these actions and maintain them long enough for the old program of avoidance and procrastination to transition into a new program of confidence and a belief in themselves takes only as long as the individual student takes. But the payoff is an individual with a new experience and set of skills enabling them to glimpse the unlimited possibilities that lay within them, spring boarding them into living an abundantly wonderful academic life.

To the parents, know that we are all a work in progress. You may even consider the information presented above for yourself. We are all students in the classroom of life. Back to school.

Jon P. Frieda, MBA is the Vice President of Marketing and Sales at Neels Pharmacy, #8 Crestwood Executive Center, Crestwood, MO 63126. 314-849-3123.