Focus and concentration are two of the most important skills to achieve success in life.
Whether it’s while studying for an important exam or kicking goals at work, failure to concentrate reduces productivity and can jeopardise our chances of success.
The ability to focus the mind is one of the most important abilities for anyone to possess.
We all have days where we can’t seem to concentrate so we’ve put together this list of five ways to improve your focus for those times that you really need to switch on.
If the saying “practice makes perfect” is true, then meditation is a sure way to enhance focus because it takes a great deal of concentration.
Numerous studies demonstrate that meditation has far-reaching benefits for concentration and memory.
One study at the University of North Carolina, for example, revealed that students who meditated for just twenty minutes a day for four days performed better on certain cognitive tests.
Compared to non-meditators, they may be better equipped to quiet brain activity related to mind-wandering, a new study in the Journal of Neuroscience suggests.
This may come as good news, considering the buzz on our increasingly shrinking attention spans.
A study, by Italian neuroscientist Giuseppe Pagnoni, found that meditation not only changes brain patterns, but it also provides advantages in mental focus that may improve cognitive performance.
One old theory is that meditation is just like exercise: it trains the brain as if it was a bundle of muscles. You work those muscles and they get stronger.
Organise yourself, externally and internally.
Arrange your study space to make sure that you have enough room to work and clear away any distractions.
Set a timetable for your tasks to help manage your time and focus your energy most efficiently.
Everyone has certain peak times during the day when their concentration is better. Recognise your peak times and plan your timetable accordingly.
Do the least pleasant tasks at first.
Cover the most challenging and difficult subjects or portions before moving on to the easier ones. This will cut out procrastination.
Also, if you get the least unpleasant tasks out of your way, the rest of your to-do list seems manageable.
Technology might be a problem as a major source of distraction, but it can also provide the solution.
Smartphones and social networks may be helping to erode our attention spans, however there are many apps available to help rebuild it too.
Anti-Social is an app that blocks access to Facebook and Twitter, while Isolator hides everything on your desktop except whatever you’re working on.
If you can disconnect from the internet, there are fewer things to distract you from the work at hand.
Experts think that every time you flip between tasks — whether it be responding to a friend on Facebook or checking your inbox — a little bit of your attention remains with the task you just left.
Sophie Leroy, a professor at the University of Washington at Bothell, coined the term “attention residue” as the reason for why it’s so hard to continuously change tasks.
Eliminating online distractions can keep you from finding tasks to switch between and help you to focus.
Your choice of food definitely affects your mind. Many brain-boosting foods can help to keep your memory, concentration and focus as sharp as can be.
Nuts and seeds
Vitamin E-rich foods (such as nuts and seeds) keep your brain razor sharp and, as explained by Steven Pratt, MD, author of Superfoods Rx: Fourteen Foods Proven to Change Your Life, higher levels of vitamin E can help prevent cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease as you age.
A wide array of research suggests that eating bananas may make you smarter. Bananas contain vitamin B6 which may help improve your cognitive function. In a 1996 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers from Boston’s Tufts University found that the men with higher concentrations of vitamin B6 performed better on two measures of memory than those with lower levels.
Bananas are also rich in magnesium. When your body metabolizes protein, it produces ammonia, according to the Franklin Institute. Magnesium activates an enzyme that converts ammonia to urea so your body can dispose of it. Even a small amount of brain ammonia can hinder your ability to focus and pay attention, so eating magnesium-rich foods are beneficial for improving brain function.
Studies show that blueberries boost concentration and memory for up to five hours because the antioxidants in blueberries stimulate the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain – and keep the mind fresh.
Carnosic acid, one of the main ingredients in rosemary, helps protect the brain from neurodegeneration. It does this by safeguarding the brain against chemical free radicals, which are linked to neurodegeneration, Alzheimer’s, strokes and normal aging in the brain.
If you like seafood you are in luck because salmon is one of the most nutritious, brain food-friendly foods. It’s packed with omega-3 fatty acids to help keep your brain running smoothly and improve memory.
And don’t forget to exercise regularly
Exercise isn’t just good for the body, it promotes brain health, too.
Regular exercise stimulates the release of a chemical called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which research suggests helps rewire memory circuits to improve their functioning.
Did you know that certain natural herbs that can power-up your productivity, improve mental focus and boost your total brain power?
Herbal Fix FOCUS is a drink with this in mind.
Each 300ml can contains a unique blend of herbs (Amla, Gotu Kola, Ginkgo Biloba, Siberian Ginseng, Green Tea and Rosemary), zinc and vitamins (B3, B9, B12, C and E) and minerals especially formulated for moments of focus and thought.
The ingredients have been scientifically researched and known to be associated with brain health including improved concentration, memory function and mental alertness.
LINKS AND RECOMMENDED READING
Brain Scans Show How Meditation improves Mental Focus
10 Distraction Killing tools for Better Concentration
Antisocial App – https://freedom.to
Isolator App – https://www.willmore.eu/software/isolator/
Brain Food –
Exercise for Brain Health