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Focus on concentration - Harvard Health

Train your focus

In order to train your focus, check out the below useful tips:

  • keep track of the moments when you tend to lose your attention so you can plan activities for those very moments that require less focus
  • practice meditation so you can guide your mind back to the initial activity
  • control the distractions around you, in order to be able to better concentrate
  • work for shorter periods of time, while making sure you stay focus throughout those periods

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Focus on concentration - Harvard Health

Focus on concentration - Harvard Health

https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/focus-on-concentration

health.harvard.edu

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Key Ideas

Get your focus back

We all tend, to a different degree, to lose our focus once in a while. However, when this becomes a habit, we should contact a doctor, as it can occur due to serious underlying conditions, such as depression. The good news is that there have been identified some steps that can help one improve the ability to concentrate.

Train your focus

In order to train your focus, check out the below useful tips:

  • keep track of the moments when you tend to lose your attention so you can plan activities for those very moments that require less focus
  • practice meditation so you can guide your mind back to the initial activity
  • control the distractions around you, in order to be able to better concentrate
  • work for shorter periods of time, while making sure you stay focus throughout those periods

Improve your focus

Staying focused is one of the key factors to having success in all the possible fields. Have a look at the below tips on how to improve your focus:

  • use your brain in activities that lead to learning a new skill, while showing progress and encouragement
  • check with your doctor as soon as you have any doubts on whether the medications you take can affect your focus
  • keep track of your intake of sugar and coffee, as both can seriously decrease your power of focus
  • stay social, as it brings you both more happiness and an increase in focus

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Attention = Focusing + Ignoring

Paying attention involves two separate distinct brain functions: 

  1. “enhancement” - our ability to focus on things that matter) 
  2. “suppression” - our ability to ...
Suppressing distraction gets harder with age

Our ability to filter out distractions, not our concentration, diminishes with age. 

As we grow older we get more and more distracted. 

Less visual clutter to eliminate distractions

When your eyes are closed, your brain isn’t working as hard to filter out visual information. So: 

  • Use one screen, one browser window, and one computer program at a time.
  • Keep your physical and virtual desktop tidy.

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Over-The-Counter Pills
Over-The-Counter Pills

About 25 percent of adults above 50 years of age try to improve their brain health and memory by taking supplements.

These pills claim to enhance memory, attention and foc...

Powdered Nutrients: The Facts
  • Most pills are a combination of vitamins and minerals, along with omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Scientific studies show the natural forms (like fish in case of omega-3 fatty acids) contain the real benefits, and popping supplements do not have the same effect.
  • Vitamin E supplements can help to a limited extent but high doses can increase the risk of a hemorrhagic stroke.
  • Vitamin B supplements are only to be used if one’s normal diet is not enough for them, or in case of a deficiency.
  • Taking time to do some exercise and having a plant-based diet is a better long term health solution.
Improve your diet and start moving
  • Wholefoods such as leafy green vegetables, legumes, whole grains, lean red meat, and seafood, provide nutrients that are important for optimal brain function. 
  • Many types of fitne...
Reduce your vices

People with alcohol and drug problems have a greater likelihood than average of having a mental illness and have far poorer health outcomes.

Stopping smoking is an important step, as nicotine-addicted people are constantly at the mercy of a withdrawal-craving cycle, which profoundly affects mood. 

Prioritize rest and sleep

Sleep hygiene techniques aim to improve sleep quality and help treat insomnia. 

They include: adjusting caffeine use, limiting exposure to the bed (regulating your sleep time and having a limited time to sleep),  limiting exposure to the blue light from smartphones, and making sure you get up at a similar time in the morning.

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Get More Sleep

Lack of sleep can result in you feeling lethargic, grumpy and tired. If you often feel this way, you may want to consider whether you’re getting enough sleep.

Try and aim for around 7 hour...

Reduce Stress

Feelings of stress can mean that you struggle to concentrate, experience racing thoughts, difficulty switching off and tiredness.

Strategies to improve your energy levels include taking some time for yourself to relax, reading or going for a walk.

Move More

One study found that sedentary people with persistent, unexplained fatigue decreased their tiredness by around 65% just by regularly participating in low-intensity cycling.

Get up and move your body like brisk walking or cycling to boost your energy levels.

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Practice Slow Work

When we react to every little thing that comes up at work, we lose focus and attention.

Counter this by scheduling extra time to complete a task, engaging in single-tasking, and set...

Develop a Stress Management System

Stress is unavoidable, but we can create systems to decrease its influence over our capacity to work. These systems vary from person to person but they often include meditation, aerobic exercise (i.e. running, cycling, walking), surrounding yourself in nature, and eating healthfully.

When you know an upcoming project will generate stress, anticipate scheduling periods into your work plan to participate in the stress management activities that work for you.

Seek To Explain

Memorization doesn’t necessarily mean learning. The test for whether you understand a subject or not is the capacity you have to explain your subject or argument. 

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Mindfulness Meditation

Practitioners of mindful meditation focus their attention on only one thought. The goal is to be firmly affixed to the present moment. This typically means concentrating on the breath - observ...

Changes to the Brain

Buddhists have meditated for literally thousands of years. Buddhists are trying to hack their own minds, to harness them.

Only in recent times have neuroscientists discovered that meditation changes the brain physically.

Health Benefits
  • Meditation improves attention. Studies show that 20 minutes a day are sufficient to get beneficial results.
  • Meditation reduces stress after eight weeks of training.
  • Meditation has also been shown to increase levels of empathy.
The Benefits Of Tai Chi
  • Improved lower and upper-body strength. Practiced regularly, it’s comparable to resistance training and brisk walking.
  • Boosts flexibility and strength of upper and lower-...
Getting Started With Tai Chi
  • Find a tai chi branch that matches your needs. 
  • Check with your doctor before starting if you have a physical limitations or take medications that affect your balance.
  • Watch and take a class
  • If you'd rather learn at home, you can get tai chi books or videos.
  • Talk to the instructor. Experienced teachers who accommodate individual peculiarities are ideal.
  • Dress comfortably with nonrestrictive loose-fitting clothes.
  • You can practice barefoot or in lightweight and flexible shoes.
  • Most tai chi programs last at least 12 weeks, with instruction once or twice a week and practice at home. By then, you should know if you enjoy tai chi.
Daily interruptions

On average, we experience an interruption every 8 minutes or about 7 or 8 per hour. In an 8t-hour day, that is about 60 interruptions. The average interruption takes about 5 minutes, so that...

Myth of multitasking

We’re not actually multitasking; rather, we are switching rapidly between different activities.

Better concentration makes life easier and less stressful and we will be more productive. Practice concentration by finding things to do that specifically engage you for a period of time to the exclusion of everything else.

The ‘five more’ rule

... for learning to concentrate better:

Whenever you feel like quitting – just do five more – five more minutes, five more exercises, five more pages – which will extend your focus. 

The rule pushes you just beyond the point of frustration and helps build mental concentration.

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Health Benefits Of Music
Health Benefits Of Music

Music has been shown to play a role in healing our bodies and increasing our health and happiness. Studies show that music relieves pain in patients, and also relieves stress and anxiety...

Limitations in the Findings About Music
  • There is still ambiguity if listening to or playing the music causes the benefits.
  • It is not known if stimulating or relaxing music is doing the healing.
  • It is not known if the music is the person’s favourite music or of his liking, as opposed to something chosen by the experimenter.
  • There are several other factors like a group playing vs individual playing of music, or a large random trial, which needs to be looked at in the future
Higher cognitive performance

Our brain can change throughout our lifetime, in relation to factors like behavior, process, and environment. It means we can still improve ourselves with strategic and incremental changes to our d...

Find your internal rhythms

To improve your mental ability, you have to understand its natural peaks and drops throughout the day. It can be different for every person, so pay attention to what time of the day your mind is functioning at its best.

If you find it difficult to see what time of day your mind is functioning best, keep a productivity log. At two-hour intervals, write down your physical and mental status. You'll find a pattern of peak performance or sluggishness.

Multitasking is a myth

Most people have little pockets of time throughout the day, between meetings and calls and emails, with 15 minutes here, and 30 minutes there. To perform at your best depends on simple time management hacks.

  • Set aside one or two times a day to check and respond to all your messages and emails, then close your inbox.
  • Try and structure your day in one-to two-hour chunks of focused work.
  • Introduce a clear protocol for colleagues to contact one another in case of an actual emergency.

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