15 EXERCISES TO IMPROVE CONCENTRATION AND FOCUS
When we concentrate, we strengthen our attention to work, information, peoples and their actions. We begin to understand the surrounding reality better. Concentration is the ability to control your attention, to focus on something specific. If you lose your ability to focus, there could be a lot of reasons of this. One of the most common causes of losing concentration is a lack of energy. Maybe you didn’t sleep well last night, or your ration is not properly balanced, and your brain has a nutritional deficiency. It could also be bad mood and lack of motivation, or mental disorders like Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Ability to concentrate should be trained same as many other skills. Our mental focus – is a kind of lens that can shoot close-up. Usually, our senses are functioning below the threshold of consciousness. Sometimes we notice that the processing and storage of information perceived by us may be interrupted. For example, after reading a few pages of the book, we suddenly see that we didn’t understand anything. We don’t notice the music at the concert because we think about the meeting to be held the next day. We distracted by our thoughts, and at this moment, we can’t concentrate. But if we focus on a particular sense that we need at the moment, then we will be able to concentrate and perceive incoming information better.
The following exercises will help if you can’t focus on your tasks. Also, it will improve your five senses. Spread those exercises out over the week (5 exercises per day, one exercise for each of the five senses), and repeat this set of exercises regularly.
The following exercises will help you learn how to sift out the sounds that you need and ignore the others.
- Exercise 1. Open your window and listen carefully to the sounds of the city. Try to distinguish selected sounds (the noise of passing cars, the voices of passers-by, the noise from the construction site, the chirping of birds and so on) from the background noise. Alternately concentrate on every sound as long as you can.
- Exercise 2. Turn on the classical music. Pay attention to the separate musical instruments. For example, listen to only the wind instruments, then violins, and so on.
- Exercise 3. Turn on the TV, switch to the news channel. Go into the neighboring room and listen to the voice of the announcer. Gradually turn the TV volume down, to make broadcaster voice harder to hear.
- Exercise 4. Listen to any monotonous sound (such as ticking clock). Concentrate on this repetitive sound, hold your attention on it for as long as possible.
Learn how to observe and filter relevant visual information
- Exercise 5. Sit by the window and look at the sky, covered with clouds. Try to focus your attention exactly on clouds. Inspect their shape, color, the direction of movement. Don’t think about anything, except clouds. If you notice that you are losing your focus, try to move your attention back to the clouds. Stop the exercise as soon as you see that you are no longer able to hold your attention on a cloudy sky.
- Exercise 6. Look out the window. Select any object (for example, a car parked nearby) and examine it carefully without losing any details. Then sit back, close your eyes, relax and imagine this car. Try to keep in your mind the picture of this car as long as possible. When your attention starts to weaken, open your eyes and compare a car created in your mind, with the original outside the window.
- Exercise 7. Sit down at your work desk and explore it in details: a computer, a telephone, a stack of papers, photos. Then close your eyes, relax and imagine it, with as much details as possible. Try to remember everything, every object, their color, shapes and materials from which they are made. When you fully restore your desktop in your head, open your eyes and compare the image with the original.
- Exercise 8. Take any photo album or a compilation of pictures. Sit comfortably in a chair. Open any page (for example, the page with the most favorite photos). Look briefly at one of the pictures. Close your eyes. Recreate this picture in your mind. Then open your eyes, watch the photo, and close your eyes again. Repeat these actions.
Do this exercises blindfolded
- Exercise 9. Open the wardrobe, tie your eyes. Alternately hold in your hands different things. Try to feel from which material they are made. Is it bristle or soft, thick or thin? What do you feel, when you hold it in your hands?
- Exercise 10. Walk to your room with closed eyes. Set a goal – for example, to take some book from the bookshelf.
SENSE OF SMELL
The following exercises will help you to concentrate on a particular odor that you need to sense.
- Exercise 11. Take a fruit bowl. Close your eyes and lean over the bowl. Try to identify each specific fruit by smell.
- Exercise 12. Walk through your house, try to sense what particular smell each room have.
- Exercise 13. Take a glass of red wine or other aromatic drink. Hold your nose over the glass, inhale the aroma of this drink and try to describe its scent: is it bitter or sweet, fragrant or tasteless?
SENSE OF TASTE
- Exercise 14. Sample different types of drinks, fruits or chocolate. What’s the actual taste of chocolate? Is it just sweet or it has some other taste qualities that are hard to define? Try to describe that particular taste.
- Exercise 15. Test the “memory” of your tongue. Try three different varieties of same beverage (for example, three sorts of light beer) and remember its distinct taste. After some time take one of the three glasses, and try to guess which sort it is.
By learning how to focus on a specific sense, you will improve your overall ability to concentrate on a particular task.