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By Dr Becky editorial

Concentration

Concentrate better

Concentrate on this text and you’ll get some useful tips for improving your concentration. Focusing on the task in front of you can be very difficult sometimes. You’re constantly distracted by all kinds of stimuli. You’re just getting into it and then your thoughts suddenly drift off to the washing that needs doing... Wait a minute, that’s not the plan. You’re supposed to be concentrating on your work, your homework, a rehearsal, your driving or a lecture you’re attending. But still, that game on your phone might be more interesting... Everyone finds it difficult to concentrate sometimes. These tips will ensure you do manage to concentrate - even when you don’t actually feel like it.

What is concentration?

Concentration actually means that you focus all your attention on a single task for a longer period. That’s something you learn over the years. Children have a much shorter attention span than adults. You can’t expect a small child to sit still in class for a full hour and listen to their teacher. That’s why lessons for small children are very different from lessons for older children, teenagers and young adults. As we develop, we learn how to focus our attention on a lesson, a piece of writing, a sum, driving the car, work, a film, a sporting event and lots of other things.

Concentration: reduce the distractions around you

Distraction is disastrous for our concentration. Despite this, some people are able to shut themselves off from all the distractions of busy surroundings, whereas the slightest noise causes others to lose their focus. If you’re easily distracted then it’s important to limit the distractions around you as much as possible. If you keep looking at your phone every two seconds, then put it somewhere out of reach and turn off the sound or notifications. This really helps. Do this for your tablet, too. If you’re working on a laptop, then don’t open your social media and close your email too. That way, you won’t get interrupted by notifications. Another useful tip is to use noise-cancelling headphones. These headphones create complete silence, so you’re left in peace to concentrate on the task at hand. If you need to concentrate when driving, then make sure the car isn’t too warm and turn off the sound on your phone. This will help you to concentrate on the road better.

Start tasks feeling rested and relaxed

The more rested and relaxed you are, the better you’re able to concentrate. So get plenty of sleep and make sure you’ve already finished working on other tasks. Allow yourself plenty of time for the task, as this will help you to focus and enable you to take enough breaks. Also make sure that you have everything to hand that you will need to complete the task and a tidy space where you can get to work. This will help with the task and ensure there are less distractions. Stress doesn’t help you to concentrate better. So try to remove all stress. Divide each task up into smaller jobs, so that you keep an overview and don’t keep looking at the clock. Focus on what you want to do, cross off whatever you’ve completed and then go on to the next task. You will notice that you stay concentrated better this way.

You can’t keep your attention focused all the time

Concentrating is tiring. It involves focusing all your energy on performing a task well. This applies to all kinds of tasks - anything at all, from a long drive in the dark to learning or practising a new piece of music. Concentration places heavy demands on your mind and body, so it can be really tiring. You can’t keep your concentration tightly focused all the time - it’s really important to relax from time to time. Take regular breaks and do something completely different for a while. If you’ve been concentrating for a long time then it’s a really good idea to get some fresh air. Go for a short walk, go into the garden, park the car for a while and stretch your legs... it really helps. A workout, yoga, a hot shower or a cup of coffee on the balcony will all help to calm and refresh your mind. Leaving you ready to get back to what you were doing.

Challenge your brain

Did you know that you can train your brain to concentrate better? For example, a game of ‘memory’ helps you to remember where a specific card is - so it helps you to concentrate too. There are lots of brain-training games available on the internet or as apps for your phone or tablet. Find something you enjoy and use it to train your brain each day. Dancing, playing sport, reading, yoga, playing music and social activities (in person, not online) also help you to concentrate better. Want to learn to concentrate? Get a notepad and watch a talk show on TV. Make notes and then after the programme try using them to produce a coherent account of what you saw. This is also a useful exercise if you want to learn how to be better at taking minutes or making notes during class. Writing things down really works: it helps you to concentrate better and to remember what’s been said.

Brain food

When you’re concentrating, your brain benefits from all kinds of nutrients. But green vegetables top the list. Green leaf vegetables are rich in vitamin K, folic acid, vitamin E, beta carotene, nitrates, lutein and folates and studies have shown that your brain really loves these bioactive substances. Treat yourself to a salad with young spinach leaves or a smoothie made with green cabbage, to give your brain a boost. This will definitely help you to concentrate. The herb ginkgo biloba is known for its ability to improve the body’s circulation. It helps nutrients to penetrate deeper into all the different tissues and organs, right down to the tiniest capillaries. Which is really good for the circulation in your brain. Other nutrients that are good for your brain include vitamin D, vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids, for example from oily fish. They have various beneficial properties that don’t just help to keep the blood vessels in your brain healthy, they also have a positive effect on your mood. Of course, a balanced food supplement containing bioactive substances, ginkgo biloba extract, vitamin D, vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids can also help you to concentrate better. Particularly in situations when you need a little extra help. For example, when you’re studying for exams or you need to complete several big assignments for work.

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The information provided is written by our editors, acquired and processed in collaboration with a network of professional expert sources and copywriters. In case of complications, contact an expert.

Source: Dr Becky Editorial.