5 Ways To Boost Your Focus And Concentration
Do you find yourself struggling to focus on tasks for prolonged periods of time, regularly notice yourself daydreaming or struggling to recollect your thoughts once your concentration wanes? If this is the case, you can probably identify a least one area of your life, probably your work life, that could benefit from increasing your ability to maintain concentration long enough to accomplish things.
The world we live in today is remarkably effective at decreasing our focus. In fact, the rate of change is so fast that we have lost the ability to deal with it all. We are constantly bombarded with so much information that the brain has a hard time processing all of this input at once. It just can’t do it. It will delete information that it deems not worthy of our attention, distort some information to fit our model of the world shaped by our values and beliefs, and then generlise what’s left, just to fit in and make sense of what we are experiencing.
To make matters worse, the majority of marketing campaigns and social media networks design their ads and headlines specifically to take advantage of our already shortened attention spans. Arrggghh… just how many times have you been distracted this way?
While there are many reasons why remaining focused on pertinent tasks may be difficult, there are also many strategies that can be implemented to correct this issue. In this article, we will briefly discuss five of these strategies shown to boost focus on concentration.
Most of us spend the majority of our time surrounded by noise, concrete and the general hum always going on in society. Rarely do we venture away from civilization and place ourselves in nature.
Spending time in quiet outdoor settings, surrounded by nothing but birds chirping and the shade of leaves while they blow in the wind, provides a setting that fosters increased concentration.
The American Psychological Association encourages spending time in nature as a proven way to not only improve concentration, but also mental health in general. In fact, even city-dwelling individuals with more greenery around their homes seem to experience a certain degree of these benefits.
I guess if you’ve read this far you may have read this, or something similar before. It’s not new stuff, but did you actually take action and do it? Knowing and doing are different.
Use Background Noise To Your Advantage
While this strategy may seem counterintuitive when it comes to improving focus, this is not entirely the case. When trying to lock in on a task or activity, having certain types of background noise can actually limit distractions. It is important to note that the specific type of noise is important.
For example, listening to music on a low volume can do the trick, but avoid music that you love or hate as this can actually drain your concentration. Certain non-musical noises such as the white noise of a fan or the sound of running water can also serve as effective focus aids.
If you like the ambient noise option then there are channels that will play endless “Coffee Lounge Jazz” just for this purpose. Careful though, too much and you may feel like you are working in a lift/elevator.
Caffeine To The Rescue
Talking of Coffee Lounge Jazz, caffeine is one the most widely utilized supplements on the planet, and for good reason. A morning cup of your favourite coffee saves the day of millions of individuals worldwide. Although there are certain health conditions and personal choices that may contraindicate the consumption of caffeine, this chemical has been proven time and time again to improve focus, concentration and overall mental acuity.
A review of 49 different human studies published in Current Pharmaceutical Design found that caffeine effectively improved the focus, alertness and suppressed distraction.
In my experience a couple of cups in the morning is good. After lunch is not so good. Find your own levels.
If you think about focus and concentration as a physical thing, it makes sense that this would manifest as a clean, organized object with ample space, defined boundaries and aesthetic lines. By this same idea, distraction and absent-mindedness would appear as the opposite.
If this is true of your mental environment, the same is very true of the physical space in which you are required to focus and center your attention on whatever it is you are doing.
If you want to improve your mental clarity, improve the clarity of the space around you. Whether this is a desk, vehicle, bedroom, etc., clean up your working space.
Careful with this one. There is a fine line between de cluttering and procrastination. Remember the idea is to focus on the task, not to avoid it!
Want to check out research supporting this strategy? A study published in the Journal of Neuroscience describes how having too much clutter in your field of view causes too much competition for your brain’s focus. Maintaining a clean, organized workspace was shown to effectively improve focus and mental performance.
Although video games are often criticized for decreasing focus and shortening the attention span, this is not always the case. There are now certain video games and digital tools specifically designed do the opposite.
While the specifics of each may vary, the general emphasis is to challenge the brain in ways that force it to recall information and patterns to succeed at the game.
A research study published by Medical Science Monitor found that these brain-training video games significantly improved memory and increased the speed of motor skills processing. Apparently better surgeons play video games.
Stress can make smart people do stupid things.
Stress causes what brain researchers call “cortical inhibition.” The phenomenon of cortical inhibition helps to explain why smart people do dumb things. Simply said, stress inhibits a small part of your brain and you can’t function at your best.
When we are in coherence – a state where we are cognitively sharp, emotionally calm, and we feel and think with enhanced clarity – the brain, heart and nervous system are working in harmony. This state of coherence facilitates our cognitive functioning – we are actually operating at peak performance mentally, emotionally and physically.
Would you like to know how? Contact me now for your complimentary assessment.