Wondering how to focus better? In a digital world of lightning-fast content, we’re essentially being conditioned to have short attention spans. That’s why learning how to improve focus and concentration is so important – especially today. Don’t worry, we get it. That’s why in this post, we’re going to explore how to improve focus with several different techniques backed up by science.
How to Improve Focus
Below, we’ve gathered five science-backed ways for teaching your brain how to concentrate better. Brain games, exercise, meditation, music, and even CBD can all play a part in sharpening your attention and bolstering your focus.
As we all know from The 40-Year-Old Virgin, “if you don’t use it, you lose it.”
Your brain is no different. If you don’t exercise your mind with challenges, your mental sharpness will eventually become dull.
And we have more than just movie quotes to back that up. Researchers from the Public Library of Science tested more than 4,000 participants and found that engaging in brain games for 15 minutes per day five days per week showed measurable cognitive improvement in 10 weeks.
You can take advantage of this to improve your own mental focus. Challenge your mind with puzzles and games like chess, word searches, crossword puzzles, and sudoku. You’ll be surprised at what 15 minutes per day can do.
Okay, so it makes sense that your brain needs exercise to stay sharp. But that’s not all. If you’re wondering how to improve concentration in other ways, physical exercise is another great option.
One study involving more than 100 fifth graders demonstrated how even short spurts of exercise can improve attention and focus. Researchers discovered that participants demonstrated increased attention spans after as little as 4 weeks of one 6-minute exercise breaks per day. That’s insane benefits considering the miniscule amount of time put in.
Exercise isn’t just for kids though. It can also help adults. They just need to do more of it. According to the National Institute of Health, data shows that one year of physical exercise can shake off aging-related memory loss in older adults.
Again, exercise doesn’t need to be extreme. Even taking the time for a brisk walk around your neighborhood takes 15-20 minutes and can deliver noticeable results.
If you’re wondering how to improve focus with some natural help, consider CBD.
Although CBD does come from hemp plants (a subtype of cannabis), it doesn’t make you “zone out” the same way that marijuana does. That’s because cannabis’ psychoactive properties come from THC, not CBD.
Instead, some research shows that CBD may actually be able to improve focus. Data from participants demonstrated that elevated CBD levels in plasma were associated with increased attention, task switching, verbal learning, and memory. Notably, this effect seemed to be even more potent in regular cannabis users, although non-cannabis users also demonstrated benefits.
If you’re wondering how to focus your mind, you’re not alone. In fact, humans have been trying to improve their focus and attention for thousands of years. And one of the most fruitful techniques we’ve discovered to do that is meditation.
Although it’s easy to dismiss meditation as woo-woo pseudoscience, that’s not a fair shake. In fact, research has shown that engaging in meditative practices can measurably improve working memory and executive functioning. And like exercise, getting into meditation takes only a few minutes per day, so the amount of time you put in is pretty low considering potential benefits.
Listen to Music
Here’s one option to improve focus that many readers may already try. If you’re one of the people that listens to music to increase mental focus, you’ll be pleased to know that yes, science does support the practice. If you’ve never tried, now’s your chance!
Research shows that listening to music can help improve cognition. In fact, listening to music appears to be especially helpful to those who suffer from disorders like ADHD. Listening to the right music can help you achieve a flow-like state, sharpening focus.
Note that music choice is a critical factor here! Classical music, ambient electronic beats, and nature sounds should be your go-tos. Try to avoid music with lyrics, since they can distract you from the task at hand.
Remember all those times our parents told us video games would rot our brain? We were lied to.
Well, not exactly. Although excessive video gaming is associated with several problems (including addiction), they’re not all bad. A 2018 study from the University of Arkansas shows that a single hour of gaming per day can actually improve cognition and focus.
Researchers split participants into two groups: gamers and non-gamers. Specifically, the study assessed participants’ visual selective attention. This term refers to the brain’s ability to process relevant data in a person’s visual field.
By the end of the study, researchers discovered that both avid gamers and non-gamers alike demonstrated increased visual selective attention abilities. What’s more, regular gamers also appeared to demonstrate higher visual attention abilities in general than non-gamers.
Just remember EVERYTHING in moderation!
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