The lack of the ability to concentrate affects many of us. In students, the inability to focus affects grades, and, in adults, their work performance and productivity. In certain professions like airline pilots and locomotive drivers, the lack of focus could even lead to accidents.
Following simple lifestyle changes can help one focus more…
1. Yoga: The traditional Indian techniques of Yoga can help you focus more. This was proved by the researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, after their study on 30 participants. Those who took a single, 20-minute yoga session were considerably faster and more accurate on their tests on working memory and inhibitory control, when compared to participants who walked or jogged on a treadmill for 20 minutes. Working memory and inhibitory control are the measures of brain function associated with the ability to concentrate, recollect and use new information.
2. Drink water: Staying hydrated will improve your level of concentration. Researchers from the University of Connecticut’s Human Performance Laboratory found out that even mild dehydration affects our mental functioning.
3. Sleep: Improper sleep patterns can make one easily distracted. If you’re facing problems to focus of late, please ascertain whether you are sleeping for at least 6 to 7 hours every night. Dr Vatsal G Thakkar of the New York University School of Medicine believes that a lack of delta sleep often leads to concentration issues. Delta sleep is the deep stage of sleep which is important for efficient cognitive functioning.
4. Reduce stress and anxiety: Proper management of stress and anxiety is essential to maintain your focus over a long period of time. If you’re feeling overtly anxious and stressful, a consultation with a psychologist or a counselor might do a world of good for you.
5. Food: What we eat determines how our brain is. The food we eat significantly affects our cognitive functions. Try eating adequate quantities of nutritious food at regular intervals. Have at least three wholesome meals every day.
Concentration ‘Tratak’ Exercise
You can practice the following concentration exercise to hone your focusing skills.
Sit in a quiet room or place and make sure you will not be distracted by any means. Focus on any object or image. It could be a painting or a photo or even a candle. But, ensure that the object you focus on is not repulsive.
Whenever you get distracted, try bringing your focus back on the object gently. Don’t criticise yourself when the mind wanders.
Practice this exercise for at least 15 minutes a day.