Many people lack the ability to concentrate on a task without becoming distracted. A wandering mind may become problematic when it happens at the wrong time, or important information is missed. The inability to concentrate can also affect your ability to achieve goals. However, with a little effort, you can improve your attention and focus. Here are six ways you can increase your attention span.
Exercise is an effective way to improve your physical health, but it can also have positive effects on attention span. Exercising helps to release chemicals, like dopamine and serotonin, that increase mental acuity. Studies show that the effects of physical activity on the brain provide long and short-term boosts to your cognitive abilities. Even something as simple as a 20-minute jog can affect the regions of the brain responsible for attention.
Dealing with too many distractions is known to have an affect on the ability to concentrate. The need to check e-mail frequently, interruptions by co-workers and phone calls cause unnecessary breaks in focus. What may seem like a temporary disruption can shift your focus in a manner that prolongs the conclusion of tasks and hinders the quality of work. When possible, turn off your phone, televisions and try to complete tasks in a quiet space. Making these simple changes will keep you from dividing your interests and allow you to concentrate better on the task at hand.
The importance of hydration cannot be underestimated. Dehydration affects your overall health and impacts your ability to remain attentive. Try to drink the recommended amount of water each day. Black tea is another beverage that boosts attentiveness. Black tea contains theanine, an amino acid that is believed to increase calmness and focus. While the caffeine and theanine in black tea enhance brain activity, it is important to moderate your caffeine intake. Relying too much on caffeine can cause the brain to develop a dependency and require it to stay alert.
Meditation to the brain is like strength training to your muscles. Like any other muscle, the brain can have a limited amount of strength, or its strength can weaken over time. Taking time each morning to engage in mindfulness meditation will significantly enhance the brain’s other cognitive functions as well as alertness. Mindfulness meditation is something that you can easily accomplish. It involves sitting in a chair and focusing on your abdomen while breathing in and out. To be effective, you do not have to meditate for hours. A 10 to 20-minute meditation session will provide benefits that will last throughout the day.
Limit Your Multitasking
Multitasking contradicts the idea of focusing. Most people multitask and see the ability to do so as a beneficial trait. Unfortunately, most people do not multitask well. The effect of multitasking also causes the overstimulation of the brain. By working on one project at a time, you are able to concentrate fully on a project until it is completed. If you need to multitask, avoid combining two activities that rely on your cognitive abilities. You should pair tasks that involve a physical and cognitive task.
Get More Sleep
The average amount of sleep a person receives should not be less than seven hours a night. Getting less than seven hours this amount of sleep can have a detrimental affect on your ability to concentrate. By not getting enough sleep, you reduce the time your brain is in the delta phase of sleep. The delta phase is the period before the brain enters REM sleep. During this phase, the brain shuts down and the cognitive abilities strengthen. Prolonged sleep deprivation can make your concentration problems a normal part of your routine. Again, the inability to focus can affect the quality of your daily activities. To improve the amount of time and quality of your sleep, try to relax before going to bed and establish a regular bedtime. Do not oversleep. Getting too much sleep can have a similar effect on your mind and body.
The importance of concentration cannot be overestimated. Problems with concentration can have a significant impact on your everyday activities. Following these tips will help you optimize your attention span and ability to focus. With very little effort, you will experience notable improvements in your memory, ability to handle mental tasks and overall performance.
You may also want to read this article on keeping your brain healthy.