9 tips to improve concentration (supported by science)
According to the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language, concentration it is "the action and effect of focusing intently on something".
For our daily life, it is important to learn to concentrate . Having a good capacity for concentration helps us enormously to be more effective when performing any task. The benefits of having a good concentration are many: they increase our memory, our effectiveness in making decisions, our precision and our agility in the challenge we have at hand.
Improving concentration with 9 simple techniques
Having a good concentration is very linked to being able to retain and remember much better . In this sense, concentration is a good virtue to have a fluid memory. If we manage to develop concentration, our memory will also improve.
The basic strategies to concentrate are linked to two fundamental aspects: avoid external distractors and, on the other hand, have a mental state with an adequate level of activation to be able to maintain the focus on the task for a certain time.
In order to clarify the aspects and circumstances that allow us to enhance targeting, in today's article we have compiled nine strategies and techniques that can help you improve these useful skills for daily life.You may be interested: "13 practical strategies to improve memory"
1. Rest enough hours
A basic point: to be able to concentrate well we need to be rested. Sleeping enough hours gives us the brain and cognitive recovery necessary to be able to perform perfectly the next day. Sleeping well gives us a state of lucidity in wakefulness.
It is a usual advice for students: the day before an exam, you have to sleep well . Because if you do not rest enough, at the time of the test we will be scattered and we will have less memory. During the hours in which we sleep, the brain performs a "reset" of certain functions, preparing us so that the next day we can process information and stimuli much better. In addition, sleeping eight hours is also very good for our long-term memory.
It is fundamental that we sleep the necessary hours, so that our mental state is sufficiently lucid to maintain attention. When we are tired or have slept badly, the brain suffers and the mental processes associated with memory and focusing can not yield 100%. In addition, lack of sleep can cause discomfort in the eyes and blurred vision transiently, which is a serious drawback. Therefore, as a basis of everything, a good rest .
2. Chewing gum
It may seem a bit strange, but chewing gum is good for our concentration. This is indicated by different scientific studies: chewing gum helps us remember information in the short term .
In addition, it can be an element that allows us to concentrate better on the task we must perform, especially in examinations and tests that require our auditory and visual memory.
3. Write with paper and pen
We are very used to writing things on the computer keyboard. It is an automatic writing method that allows us many positive things, but it is not the best for our concentration or our memory.
If we write by hand, our brain will make a superior effort to concentrate and will remember more easily the data and notes that come out of our own handwriting, according to Lizette Borreli for Medical Daily. A better concentration when we write the ideas will be a support for our long-term memory. that will be able to rescue that data days and even weeks later.
4. Manage stress
Are you very prone to stress? When we are in a state of tension we see our ability to focus on something very limited.
In order for our mind to perform a cognitively demanding activity for a while, we need to enjoy a mental state that is neither excessively relaxed (which would induce us to sleep and the scarce retention of data) nor excessively active (in which case we would be so nervous that we simply would not be able to focus on just one task).
Some tricks to manage stress are as simple as clenching a fist or an anti-stress ball for one minute. This act will release our tensions for a long time. But, if you suffer more permanent stress, the best thing is that you get down to work to solve the problem. It is also important that we have good physical health: stay well hydrated, play sports often ...
5. Play chess
If we talk about increasing our concentration, chess is the king sport . This game requires a great capacity for concentration to analyze each situation that occurs on the board, make sound decisions and anticipate the movements of the opponent. This was confirmed by a study published in Science Direct.
It is a perfect activity to develop both abilities, in addition to our ability for logical and strategic reasoning.
6. Avoid distractions and find a suitable place
Is it a bit obvious, right? When we try to concentrate on a task, It is a very good idea to try to avoid that external and unwanted stimuli distract us . For example, if you are studying, the ideal is that you do it in silence, with an adequate light, and of course without the television or another similar distraction in the background.
It has been shown that environmental noise affects our performance if we are performing a task that requires concentration (for example, an exam). The less noisy the environment, the more fit your cognitive skills will be.
If you want to focus 100% on a task, it's a good idea to find a comfortable space without distractors . It is also interesting that the temperature of the space in question is neither too cold nor too hot. About 20º-23º is a temperature in which almost everyone feels comfortable. As for noise, there are people who can maintain their concentration by being exposed to it, as long as it is not very loud and monotonous, but it is not usual.
7. Draw while you are in class
This advice is quite counterintuitive. When we are attending a lecture or a lecture, it is a good idea to draw small scribbles in a notebook or notebook. This is confirmed by a study published in Time magazine.
It is not necessary to draw concrete figures, anything is worth it. This will get us to fight boredom and retain better that says the teacher .
8. Background music: good or bad idea?
Listening to background music when we are focused on a task can be a good idea. But it depends on several factors.
Music has the ability to stimulate our brain and cognitive activity. It is quite positive that, just before starting to study, we listen to some music to stimulate the brain and start putting it in motion. However, during the course of the task, it is better to be silent, since music can distort the quality with which we retain the information. This negative effect of music on our attention and concentration capacity has been reported in several scientific studies.
9. Plan your routine
There is nothing that negatively affects concentration as a disorganized and chaotic routine . It is the ninth point of the list, but surely it is the most important.
You have to plan and order the day-to-day priorities. Without the necessary time to devote to each task, we will avoid the stress, haste and inconvenience that may arise, and we will be more able to devote an intelligent and productive effort to the task. If we know exactly what we have to do and how, the task becomes easier , and our targeting status is more appropriate when dealing with each subtask successfully.
Are these strategies for children and seniors?
Children, adults and the elderly: are the tricks for everyone the same? In a generic way, these strategies and tips to improve concentration can be applied to anyone of any age. While this is true , it is also true that each life stage entails certain elements to take into account .
The concentration in childhood
During childhood, our attention is more dispersed , so instead of emphasizing the aforementioned tips, it will be necessary to habituate children to acquire the habit (worth the redundancy) of attending, listening and thinking. This means that, as children they are, they maintain higher activation than adults, so it can be complicated to sit in front of a book or perform a cognitively demanding task for a considerable period of time.
Little by little, we must stimulate them with suggestive tasks so that their mind can adapt to these demands, without this entailing bad sensations (it can be very counterproductive for the child to feel "forced" or "forced" to concentrate on a task). To promote this capacity of attention in childhood, professionals such as educational psychologists, psycho-pedagogues or similar can design intervention programs, group or individual, to meet these needs.
Elderly: several specific tips to improve your care
As regards elderly people, in this case it should be noted that, Occasionally, there may be cases of senile dementia or cognitive impairment associated with some concentration problems , especially in regard to the ability to retain data. In these ages, memory is a faculty that begins to show weaknesses, so it is convenient to stimulate the elderly with games and playful activities that involve, in turn, exercise their attention and memory.
In this sense, the well-known game of dominoes, card games and the like are a highly recommended option . There are also specific programs designed for these people, with the specific objective of strengthening their cognitive abilities. In this case it will be necessary for a professional in psychogerontology or similar to design and accompany the grandparents in the therapeutic sessions.
Extra tips and conclusions
Our ability to focus on a single task is limited . However, there are people who are able to spend several hours concentrating without showing fatigue, while others, due to lack of training or for other reasons, can not be more than a few minutes maintaining a good level of attention. This ability is known as Service Interval, yada person has its own threshold.
Several studies show that, when we are working on a task or studying, we need to make periodic pauses, about 10 minutes, to clear the mind and re-"recharge" the batteries of our concentration. There is no single threshold, each person has their own abilities and it is up to them to determine what exactly is their maximum time that they can be focused on a task.
Regarding the organization of the task, It is important that we select few tasks and well defined , so that our brain is able to respond adequately to the demand. Avoiding multi-task and exercising the muscles every half hour can also keep us in an optimal activation state for longer.
Do you have other tricks to increase concentration? You can send them to us through the comments section or on our social networks.