How to improve concentration: 10 tips to stay focused

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We all have a hard time focusing in this modern world with the kind of lifestyle, diet and distractions we have around us. Learn how to improve concentration!

It seems like we’ve all been there and done that – trying to accomplish a task with a wandering mind. It is not? In times when several things end up competing for our attention in our personal and professional space, it is easy to lose focus. Whether it’s a presentation at work, studying for an important exam, working out at the gym, or cooking, there are several scenarios in life where it’s important for you to focus, but you just can’t! No matter how difficult it may seem to stay focused on the task at hand, there are always ways to reduce distraction and improve concentration.

What is concentration?

Concentration is a simple ability to direct your mental efforts towards something that is at hand at the moment. It could be some work assigned to you or anything you are trying to learn at that moment. People often confuse concentration with attention span, but attention span refers to the period of time you can concentrate on something, explains the psychiatrist Dr Sarthak Dave.

Feelings of fatigue and exhaustion resulting from sleep deprivation can lead to difficulty concentrating and focusing. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

What are the factors that affect concentration?

Various factors, such as age or lack of sleep, can affect people’s ability to concentrate. As people age, the problem of decreased concentration is also followed by memory loss. Any form of brain or head injury or any type of mental health problem such as anxiety or depression can also affect concentration. Some common lifestyle factors that can affect concentration include:

• Lack of sleep
• Hunger
• Lack of physical activity
• Tiredness
• Stress

How to improve concentration?

From following certain concentration exercises and eating the right food to being physically active and practicing mindfulness, there is a lot you can do to improve concentration and focus. According to Dr. Sarthak Dave, here are some natural ways to increase concentration in adults:

Read too

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1. Focus exercises

Games are not just for children! Indulging in activities like crosswords, reading, chess, memory games, word searches or brain training games can help improve concentration over time. One 2015 to study Analysis of 4,715 adults shows that spending 15 minutes a day, 5 days a week, on any brain training activity can increase concentration. Brain training games can help develop your working and short-term memory, as well as help develop your processing and problem-solving skills.

To learn more about games to increase concentration, read this: 5 Engaging Mind Games to Boost Concentration and Focus

2. Minimize distractions

An environment full of distractions can make you lose concentration. Try to eliminate distractions by working in a quiet, clutter-free environment and avoiding multitasking. When we try to multitask, we tend to lose focus. “Do one task at a time to avoid spreading your attention too much”, suggests the expert.

3. Set specific goals

When we start the day and look at a big task or challenge that needs to be accomplished, we become overwhelmed. An anxious mindset can never focus on any task at any given time. “Break down tasks into smaller, manageable chunks and set clear goals to stay on track,” shares Dr. Dave.

4. Practice mindfulness

Sitting meditation, which involves focusing on your breathing and letting go of unwanted thoughts, helps us focus better on life in general. This practice, along with some deep breathing techniques, can amplify our ability to concentrate, helping our brain to focus better.

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Read too: 4 Simple Mindfulness Practices to Stay Calm and Reduce Stress

5. Take regular breaks

Short breaks can prevent burnout and help refresh your mind for better concentration. When we work constantly, without taking those much-needed breaks, we soon reach the burnout stage. And, with an exhausted mind, it will be harder to focus. So make sure you take short breaks to clear the fog from your mind.

how to improve concentration
Being organized the day before helps you concentrate better. Image courtesy: Freepik

6. Make exercise a priority

Physical activity improves cognitive function and can increase concentration. Increased concentration is among the many benefits of persistent exercise. One 2018 to study looked at 116 fifth graders and found evidence to suggest that daily physical activity can help improve concentration and attention after just 4 weeks.

7. Get enough sleep

Sleep deprivation can impair concentration and affect cognitive functions such as memory and attention. Being too tired can also slow your reflexes, affecting your ability to drive or perform other daily tasks. A stressful day, health problems and other factors can make it difficult to get quality sleep at night. But you should aim to get 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep every night to ensure your brain is well-rested and can focus effectively.

8. Stay organized

If you plan your day well in advance, you will function better. Use planners or digital tools to organize tasks and prioritize your workload, says the expert.

Read too: 10 Best Planners for 2024 to Stay Organized and Productive

9. Stay hydrated and eat healthy foods

The foods you consume have a direct impact on cognitive functions such as concentration and memory. Try to eliminate processed foods, excess sugar and very fatty or greasy foods from your diet. Try eating more foods like fatty fish, eggs, blueberries and spinach to increase concentration. Additionally, staying hydrated can also positively impact your concentration.

10. Drink caffeine

If remaining caffeine-free is your lifestyle preference, you may want to avoid consuming it. However, there are to look for This suggests that taking caffeine can improve your attention and focus. If you feel like your concentration levels are slipping, consider drinking a cup of coffee or green tea. If caffeine is something you avoid, you can have a serving of dark chocolate, which can offer similar benefits if you don’t like caffeinated drinks.

A to study on the ‘Effect of Green Tea Phytochemicals on Mood and Cognition’
discovered evidence to suggest that phytochemicals found naturally in matcha, a type of green tea, not only improve cognitive function but also promote feelings of relaxation. So, matcha can be a great option for those who feel nervous after drinking coffee.

Try inculcating these tips to improve your concentration levels and see the difference!

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