6 Simple Steps To Improve Concentration and Studying Skills
About to start the exams? Want to get more productive at work? We are here with a few simple steps you can apply every day to improve your concentration. And all of it for free!
And here is another reason why you should stop using your smartphone so much
Almost everybody would be happy to improve the concentration skills, to get more productive or get better at studying. But the brain has its own desires. Fortunately, the brain can be sharpened. But don’t be mistaken. You will still require a fair amount of self-discipline, In other words: put the smartphone down.
1. Weaning Off Technology
“It may seem innocuous to look at the mailbox every 10 minutes, but these peeps steal your attention”
With so many beeps and alerts coming out of the cell phones and the computers, Being able to pay full attention to a given task is now harder than ever.
This situation is so severe that, according to Harvard medical professor Ed Hallowell, almost all of us now suffer from “cultural attention disorder”.
So what should we do? Learn to disconnect from technology, even if for a short time. In other words: put your smartphone on silent mode and turn off any chatting app. When you have a task to do, just do it. Georgetown University professor Cal Newport explains that whenever your attention is distracted by one or another digital alert, you get out of concentration and find it hard to go back and recruit him for your benefits. “It may seem innocuous to look at the mailbox every 10 minutes, but these peeps steal your attention”. He explains, “What’s more, whenever you receive a warning that you can not handle at the moment, you will return to your first tasks knowing that there are other tasks that have not been completed. It’s a terrible situation to be in if the goal is to concentrate on something. It’s like a professional athlete coming to most games when he’s hangover”.
2. Coffee and Chocolate? Recommended
We wrote here in the past that high consumption of coffee and other beverages containing sugar and caffeine (like energy drinks) are not recommended for those who want to maintain high energy levels. The reason is simple: Sugar and caffeine give an energetic boost, dissipate as fast as it comes, and makes you lose energy.
But turns out that combination of certain nutrients like caffeine and chocolate can actually improve brain function. The keyword in this context is a combination.
According to a study in 2010, the combination of coffee and glucose (one-sugar) also found in chocolate, that can improve brain functions and improve abilities such as concentration, learning, and verbal memory.
The researchers followed the brain function of experimental brain imaging (FMRI) and found that “the combination of these two components improves cognition, concentration, and memory by increasing the efficiency of brain regions responsible for these two functions. The improvement in the brain function was not demonstrated when each component was consumed separately.
However, excessive consumption of coffee and chocolate may be more harmful than helping. According to WebMD, when you must eat chocolate prefer dark chocolate over regular chocolate, “Which contains, besides caffeine-stimulating substances, essential body antioxidants”. The website said that the recommended combination for concentration is “nuts and dark chocolate”, and that “only once a day”.
3. Move Your Body
“People who lead an active life also accumulate more ‘cognitive reserve’, which may delay the decline of cognitive ability in old age”
Yes, a sport is a panacea that fits all. Yes, also for concentration purposes. The good news is that this activity can be very short and focused. And as always, we also have a research backing.
In a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine in 2013, 19 studies examined the association between physical activity in children, adolescent, and young adults (18-35) on brain function and concentration. They found that short, an even one-time exercise of about 10-49 minutes, improves the brain functions called “executive functions”. These include the ability to manage time, self-control, initiative, the flexibility of thought, and of course – High concentration. These functions are regulated by a region of the brain at the front that called the Prefrontal-Cortex. This part responsible, among other things, for concentration and attention.
The results of the study were so clear that the researchers recommended that sports be adopted as a strategy for treating young people with ADHD, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and autism. “Exercise,” they wrote, “is an effective way to improve management functions in young people. We see evidence that people who lead an active life also accumulate more ‘cognitive reserve’ which may delay cognitive decline in older age”.
4. Do not be afraid of some noise
Few people are able to be concentrated in a very noisy environment, but it turns out that background noise dull and consistent like the one that exists in cafes, for example, can actually encourage concentration and creative thinking. An American study from 2012 went out to find out what kind of noise is the best for the brain. The study included five experiments, that people were exposed to different intensities of noise. At the same time, they have undergone various cognitive tasks, such as raising associations for unconventional uses in a familiar object.
Researchers found that the environment a little noisy of 70 decibels increased the concentration of participants, compared to the quietest environment of 50 decibels. However, a fairly noisy environment (85 decibels) has already impaired the cognitive ability that has been tasted. “Instead of being buried in a quiet room, get out of your comfort zone and settle in a noisy environment,” The researchers wrote. “Such an environment may encourage brain the think abstractly and thus give rise to new ideas.”
5. Try To Meditate
If you find it difficult to concentrate, you should try meditation or any breathing exercises; Yes, even if you are not particularly spiritual. This is at least the conclusion of a 2010 study published in the journal Psychological Science.
The study compared the concentration of two experimental groups, each of which numbered 30 people. One practiced meditation every day for five hours for three months (yes, that’s a lot), and the second group did not undergo such a practice. Then, the experimenters participated in a “concentration test”: they were required to look at the series of lines that appeared on a computer screen and to point to the shortest line. The differences between the lines were deliberately minor, and therefore considerable concentration is required to identify a change in their length.
And the results? You must have guessed. The participants in the meditation group were more successful in the test than in the control group. It was also found that the meditative group improved its performance as the meditation exercises progressed. However, Its success was expressed results, and not in speed.
“The results join many studies that show that meditation exercises improve aspects of concentration,” the researches wrote. “We have also shown an improvement in cognitive functions such as short-term memory and non-verbal intelligence”. In total, they say, “we have seen that meditation can improve brain functions, which are necessary for every day.”
6. Keep “Eating for Thinking”
There are several nutrients essential to the proper functioning of the brain and also affect concentration. Among these components: Omega-3, Fatty acids, and Mineral zinc, Iron, and Magnesium. Omega-3 is made up of three fatty acids, one of which is DHA, essential for development and functioning of nervous system, the brain, and the retina,” explains Sigal Belzer-Eron, a certified clinical dietitian. “But the body can not produce omega-3 fatty acids, so the body must get them from dietary sources, such as sea fish, which come from cold and deep water, and from various vegetable sources”.
A diet rich in zinc and magnesium includes nuts, seed, olive oil, raw tahini, fruits and vegetables, eggs, turkey, poultry, meat, legumes and whole grain. Beltzer-Eron further emphasizes that trans fat – the Artificial fat found in snacks and processed food “Is known to have a negative effect on body systems in general and brain development in particular.”
And finally: breakfast. “Many studies have shown that breakfast is essential for brain functioning and learning, especially for children,” says Belzer-Eron. “Children who do not eat breakfast may suffer more from fatigue, concentration disorders, and learning difficulties.