It’s no secret that our attention spans are dwindling. Distractions are continually present in our high-tech world, making it difficult to concentrate as our brain constantly seeks out the next best thing.
Unfortunately, many tasks require concentration. When we let distractions get the best of us, our work and relationships start to suffer. With the right mindset, however, you can improve your focus and eliminate distractions that inhibit your ability to concentrate. Consider the following helpful activities that can improve concentration.
Practice Breathing Exercises
Before you begin a task that requires your full attention, take a moment to get into a comfortable position and breathe deeply into your stomach. Allow yourself to audibly sigh on the long exhale and visualize your body calming down as you approach the next task. Repeat this exercise for at least three breaths.
You can also perform a breathing exercise after work to help calm your mind and alleviate stress. Sit comfortably with your hands on your knees and palms facing upward. On the inhale, tighten your throat so that you hear a whistling sound, then hold that breath for a few seconds. Slowly release the constriction in your throat and exhale. This exercise is called the Ujjayi breath, and it’s an ancient yoga breathing technique that’s been used for centuries to improve focus and concentration.
Do you have a tough time finishing a task because your smartphone keeps dinging with social media notifications? Do yourself a favor and silence it.
Cellphone distractions are only the beginning. From our phones and email to social media and television, it’s a wonder we ever get any work done. When a task requires your full attention, unplug by logging out of your email and social media accounts, turning off the TV, and silencing any other distractions. When calls and incoming messages aren’t interrupting you, it’s amazing how much you can accomplish.
Turn on Some Music
One of the forms of entertainment you may not want to unplug is your playlist. According to a study by the Wake Forest School of Medicine and the University of North Carolina, playing music helps you focus on your own thoughts. The key is to listen to songs you actually enjoy.
Musical preferences are highly individualized, but the study results show that regardless of the genre, music helped participants concentrate. You don’t want to blast the music at full volume, of course, but playing your favorite list in the background while you complete a task has proven beneficial.
Do Some Gambling
Gambling has more negatives than positives is a commonly held misconception. While gambling addiction is a serious issue, playing games through an online casino can improve brain functions and stimulate intellectual skills.
According to a study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society journal, regular gambling can help improve concentration and enable players to develop a stronger sense of priorities. In addition to improving focus, gambling can also speed up the mental process, improve your decision making, develop social skills, and expand your math skills.
We now know there’s good reason for all the doodles we drew in our notebook margins as kids. According to a study from the University of Plymouth in England, doodling assists cognitive performance and improves recollection. The act of doodling stabilizes arousal and keeps you awake, both of which ward off boredom. Whether you’re sitting in a long meeting or speaking with a client on the phone, unleash your inner artist and doodle away.
The above simple strategies can help anyone improve concentration and retain the amount of information they take in. Discover which activities you enjoy most and keep them handy when you need to boost your focus.