How to Improve Concentration With Two Easy Exercises
It’s hardly surprising given our 24/7, always-on, non-stop, go-go-go world, that our attention spans and ability to focus for long periods of time have been shot to pieces. Research shows that over-reliance on screens and the way we access media, download music and access information on the internet has meant our ability to concentrate has deteriorated accordingly.
However, there are a number of proven techniques, approaches and tools that will allow you to improve focus and your ability to concentrate for long periods of time. These exercises are deceptively simple but when deployed regularly, as part of the daily routine, can be extremely effective in sharpening attention span for the long term.
Below are two deceptively simple but effective methods that will teach you how to improve concentration. The effectiveness of these two powerful focus improving exercises depends entirely on your willingness and ability to practice them regularly. The key to success is to engage completely with each exercise and not to give up.
How To Improve Concentration With Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness is the increased awareness that comes when an individual systematically pays attention to the present moment from a position of clarity, without judgement or criticism. More simply, mindfulness is focusing completely on what you’re doing, slowing down and observing all of the physical and emotional sensations you are experiencing in that given moment.
The key with being successful using mindfulness to improve focus and as a mind tool is to remember that you are actually not trying to fix anything. Being aware of your feelings at any particular moment without judging them can lead to enormous personal insights into how your mind and your body are working at any given time. These insights, when used properly, can be invaluable in helping you deal with unpleasant feelings or thoughts, as well as improving your ability to focus.
Developing a regular mindfulness meditation practice need not be daunting; research shows that just 10-20 minutes every day can deliver powerful results, and you will start to see improvements within four days. Regular users report better sleep, improved moods, calmer minds and more creative thinking as well as better concentration.
There are a number of very good guided mindfulness meditation CD’s and apps that can help you develop a regular practice easily and enjoyably.
How To Improve Concentration With Visual Task Exercises
There is a now a significant body of research showing that visual task exercises which stimulate the brain’s visual cortex can significantly improve concentration, focus and attention span.
Visual task exercises are so effective that they are often prescribed as part of therapy for mild to moderate attention deficit disorder. They work by increasing neurotransmitter activity in the brain. This additional activity heightens your ability to turn off external distractions and improves concentration and focus.
Here’s an example of how to improve concentration with one of these exercises. Take two pencils of different colours. Set an alarm to go off at a number of random intervals during a 5 minute period. Hold one pencil in each hand, shoulder width apart and 12 to 16 inches from your eyes. Focus your concentration on one pencil at a time. Each time the alarm sounds, switch your focus to the other pencil. Easy, simple but with practice you will find your concentration and ability to focus improves dramatically.
As with mindfulness the key to success with visual task exercises is consistency and practice. Visual task exercises combined with a simple short daily mindfulness meditation practice is a very powerful combination for improving focus, concentration and attention span.
Good luck! If you’ve been wondering how to improve concentration and decide to explore mindfulness and visual task exercises further, I hope they continue to grow and nourish your mind as they have done countless others before.
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About the Author
Sam Jansen is a leading brain scientist, lawyer and author, studying neuroscience, social behaviours and the science of happiness. You can find him at Google+