Calm young hipster man meditating in front of laptop

By now, you are probably in a back-to-school routine — a routine that looks so different then years past. Your days, which normally includes a full classroom, may now include a virtual component. With so many meetings and lessons filling your schedule, it’s important to stay alert. Keeping your mind-body connection strong will help you keep you focused. VEBA Resource Center’s Holistic Practitioner, Dr. Ioanna Vouloumanou, shares some acupressure points and breathing techniques to improve your mental clarity.

Acupressure Points for Focus

In between meetings, take a few minutes to find some acupressure points to help activate the brain, body and blood flow. Rub your ears for 15 seconds until they are hot. This short, simple movement connects the brain with the body.

Another technique to try is called the Du 20 Point of the Sea of Marrow. For one minute, initiate some acupressure point stimulation by tapping the top of your head. This movement is an often-used acupuncture point to increase alertness, concentration and resetting of the body. Tapping helps to activate the point and increase blood flow, oxygen to your brain and stimulates your nervous system.  

Breathing Techniques for Mental Clarity

If you are experiencing brain fog or mental exhaustion, sometimes some simple breathing exercises will help. By focusing on your breathing, you can bring more oxygen to the brain and improve your concentration. Depending on your situation and how much time you have in between meetings or class, there are different types of breathing techniques you can practice any time of the day. 

Deep Breathing Technique: Most of the time, we take shallow breaths throughout the day. Taking deep breaths will bring as much oxygen as possible into as many cells as possible to activate all organs, the brain and body function. 

Gently place your hand onto your stomach. Inhale deeply for 10 seconds and exhale slowly for 10 seconds. As you breathe in, you should feel your hand move out; as you exhale, you should feel your hand go down. If 10 seconds is too long to start, try starting with five seconds and working your way up. Repeat five times.

Nostril Breathing: To change your body and mind from stress mode to a more relaxed mode, try nostril breathing. This technique will bring more oxygen into your body, help you find relaxation and activate your focus.

To do the nostril breathing technique, you’ll want to find a comfortable chair. Sit down and put your left hand on your knee and place your right thumb on your right nostril and “close” it. Then, breathe in and out with your left nostril. After you are done with your left nostril, use your right index finger to gently close your left nostril and breathe in and out with only the right nostril. You will notice that one nostril will be easier than the other — this is normal. Repeat the cycle 5-10 times depending on your schedule. Be sure to finish this technique on the left side.

Taking short breaks in between classes will help you stay focused and alert. To see demonstrations of the acupressure points or breathing exercises, watch VEBA Resource Center’s Acupressure & Movement for Focus and Breathing for Mental Clarity.