How To Improve Your Focus And Concentration
It’s December already. Where has the rest of 2018 gone?! It feels like the older I get, the faster time passes by. That’s kind of sad.
But, endings are also beginnings. With the 1st of 2019 looming closer and closer every day, it makes you think about one thing.
New Year’s resolutions.
Oh no. Don’t leave! Rest assured, this blog post is most definitely NOT about goals. We can worry about those in a week or two when I write a post about them. Hehehe.
I brought up resolutions because you probably had some at the beginning of the year, right?
What are the chances that you actually remember them? Or worked on them? I think, especially as teens, we are expected to do and accomplish a lot. And then our to do list grows exponentially throughout the year.
It can get rather difficult to focus on many activities and projects at the same time. Contrary to popular opinion, multitasking is NOT real, your brain just switches from one task to another really quickly.
It’s not effective. And you get even less done.
I know several people who have finals around this time, Holiday work and traditions, and usually the end of the year becomes a massive balancing act.
Which can make it HARD to focus. I have difficulty focusing and concentrating when I have various tasks screaming for my attention.
(It’s like the dishes, laundry, piano, guitar, my schoolwork, artwork, VA work, writing, and thousands of other things are just chanting my name over and over and OVER again.)
And then there are distractions. Social media, reading, memes (ok I’m super guilty of that one… but c’mon. A girl’s gotta have her memes every once in a while!!) music, and having conversations are just a few.
So in light of this challenge, I decided to share 5 helpful tips to get you out of the concentration rut and back on the road to your dreams!
1. Take a break
Let’s dive into some psychology first. The prefrontal cortex is the part of your brain in charge of goal-oriented work, in addition to logical thinking, executive functioning, and willpower.
That’s a big responsibility. Which is why taking a break helps you regain that lost focus when use your brain too much.
Taking a break can mean many things, but simply getting up and stretching can do wonders for your mental health. Taking a break can also help you make better decisions, restore motivation, and increase creativity.
Noradrenaline is a chemical brain messenger. It gets released into the bloodstream when you are curious, focused or stressed.
When you are stressed, you produce too much of it, and when you feel lethargic, you produce too little. When you practice intentional, careful and deep breathing, it regulates these levels, boosting your attention level.
There are many exercises you can use, but my favorite has to do with focusing on your breath. You close your eyes and pay attention to the rise and fall of your chest, fully present in the moment, no interruptions.
It does wonders for me most of the time, not just when I get restless, but when I feel anxious or nervous too.
I realize this isn’t exactly an option for everyone, but hear me out! Napping, when done properly and not excessively can be great for you and give you awesome results.
I rarely nap. Mostly because a) I have a hard time falling asleep when it’s actually time to go to sleep and b) I never find the time to. When I have, I find it is effective to take even a 5 minute nap! It gives your brain a spike and increases activity.
Naps have been proven to affect your accuracy and also your memory, which both aid your concentration. Neat, huh?
4. Talk to someone
Possibly one of the most helpful for me. Talking. I’m a chatterbox, and my family knows this. Human interaction can instill and stimulate your creativity. For some of us, it’s harder to cope with issues alone.
I can recall several times I’ve started mini dance-karaoke breaks with Elyssa, simply because I needed a break. It’s fun, gets me moving, and I talk to her.
But something that is more beneficial for me and them than talking their ears off is monologuing! Talking to yourself is normal. Healthy, even! It can assist you in processing information, and give you a clearer perspective.
If you don’t feel comfortable with either of these options (or think monologuing is super weird) You can always write it down. Journaling in a notebook or doodling on scratch paper sometimes helps you articulate better than you can out loud.
5. Drink. More. Water.
OK. Last one. But certainly not least! In fact, it’s absolutely necessary! I prescribe this one more than I suggest it, even.
The human brain is made up of 85% water. When you aren’t hydrated enough, you can get moody, headaches, and short term memory. Drinking water will help improve mental performance, reaction time, and your ability to stay on task.
About a month or two ago, my mom started a guideline to drink a glass water after we wake up. A week or so later, I observed that my energy levels improved. I also don’t get headaches as much, and if I do, they’re usually not related to hydration.
All of these have been great ways for me to get more done and also be happier! We all want that. What’s your favorite tip? What will you commit to do? I look forward to hearing from you!
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