5 Science-backed ways that will help you boost your focus and concentration
Do you find it difficult to pay attention and focus? Find your mind wandering in a direction of its own when you desperately need it to concentrate?
Well if that’s the case you’re not alone. Our global attention span has been narrowing steadily, primarily due to increasing technology usage and an information explosion over the past couple of decades.
Well, fortunately, there are some easy ways to develop your attention span even without having the discipline of daily meditation, exercise, or putting your phone away.
In this article you will discover simple tips that you can easily apply into your own life to increase your attention-span and focus, so keep reading.
Listen to music
Listening to music is a proven way to improve our ability to focus and concentrate on tasks. However, what is of prime importance here is the type of music you listen to.
Ideally, you want to go for music that will make you feel calm and relaxed and not one that that will make you want to move or sing along. Therefore music with vocals or a fast tempo may not be helpful in this regard.
Music is something I often use to help me focus while I write. It helps to block out the various noises around me whether its people conversing in the house or the sound of cars going by.
My choice of music while writing is usually ambient music by artists like Brian Eno, Hiroshi Yoshimura or putting on some instrumental slow jazz. When I listen to music, I find myself much less prone to distractions or mind-wandering, which helps me to focus better on what I’m doing.
To help you focus there is a wide genre of music and sounds to choose from be it, eastern/western classical music instrumentals, brainwave music, binaural beats, solfeggio frequencies, instrumental slow jazz, nature sounds etc. (You can find some some great tracks on Youtube to help you focus and I have hyperlinked a few of them above)
Listening to the right music also has significant benefits when it comes to studying.
When it comes to finding music that can help you concentrate, the key as Mr Eno described ambient music, is to find music that’s as ignorable as it’s interesting.
I also highly recommend checking out Noisli which is a great platform that lets you create a mix a calming nature sounds to help you focus.
To help you focus it may be more suitable to listen to music on your earphones/headphones than on speakers.
Take a power nap
Power napping is something I first started doing while preparing for my exams in school, and I’ve been a fan of it ever since. My preferred duration of a power nap is between 10-15 minutes, and almost always I wake up feeling refreshed and energised than before.
The duration of power nap is key to getting the most out of it. A 10-minute nap has been shown to have the most benefits. Taking a nap can boost our alertness and focus upon waking up and its beneficial effects may extend to later during the day.
On the other hand, sleeping for 30 minutes or more may not prove to be beneficial as it can lead to feelings of grogginess and fatigue.
SEE ALSO : The Amazing Benefits Of Meditation
Dehydration can cause fatigue, headaches, stress and also make you lose focus and concentration. More than 70 % of our brain is composed of water therefore it is essential to stay hydrated.
Drinking adequate amounts of water (2-3 litres) is known to have plenty of benefits with one of the many being an increase in attention span and concentration.
A study conducted by the University of Barcelona, found that even a 2% drop in dehydration can affect our ability to concentrate !
Maintain good posture
When it comes to increasing our attention span and focus, it can be easy to overlook something as simple as our posture.
Posture is something very few of us pay attention to and many of us have the tendency of slouching more often than sitting with our head straight and spine erect.
Slouching can negatively impact our breathing ability and lung capacity as well as lead to fatigue, neck and back strains. It can also put excess strain our muscles and joints. Therefore maintaining a good posture is key when it comes to maintaining our focus and attention.
Take deep breaths
Research has shown that when we take slow and deep belly breaths, we are able to activate our parasympathetic nervous system which slows down our heart rate and blood pressure and promotes a sense of calm and relaxation.
Here is a deep breathing exercise used by the U.S Navy SEALs to increase alertness known as box breathing.
Inhale slowly through your nose to a mental count of 5.
Hold your breath for a count of 5
Slowly exhale to a count of 5
Retain and hold your for breath a count of 5
Repeat the process for 3-5 minutes
(In case you find it difficult to practice for 5 counts you can do the whole exercise to the count of 4 or 3)
In today's exponentially changing world, getting distracted is easier than ever before.
However, the qualities required for succeeding in any field hasn’t changed, and that includes the ability to focus and tune out distractions. Well the good news is that focus is just like a muscle, the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets.
Do you have any tools or methods which help you to concentrate better? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
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