We’re all prone to being distracted at times, but if you find it difficult to concentrate for long periods of time on a regular basis, know that there are certain habits to adopt that can help you stay focused. Here are six ways to improve your attention span.
Eat frequently. Studies have shown that having a low blood sugar level can negatively affect the speed at which information is processed by your brain, thereby shortening one’s attention span. Since skipping a meal can result in a low blood sugar level, it’s important that you maintain a healthy habit of eating meals at regular intervals.
Eat well. Avoid foods with artificial colourings, sweeteners, and preservatives, and instead make sure your diet contains essential vitamins and nutrients such as carbohydrates, protein, magnesium, B complex vitamins, omega 3 fatty acids, and zinc, all of which have been linked to sharpening one’s attention span.
Get proper rest. A lack of shuteye has been known to affect one’s ability to concentrate. When you’re tired, your brain is deprived of oxygen and therefore does not produce as much dopamine as necessary to maintain focus. Even one night of restlessness can lead to symptoms such as forgetfulness and difficulty in maintaining concentration. Be sure to get a good night’s sleep, and you’ll have a much easier time staying focused the next day.
Meditate. In addition to reducing stress and anxiety, research has also shown that meditation can help improve your attention span. You don’t need to have practiced meditation for years, or even months, to reap the benefits. Try a simple form of meditation such as sitting still in a quiet room, and focusing on an image or doing some breathing exercises to relax your body and mind.
Exercise regularly. Engaging in physical activity floods the brain with oxygen, activating chemicals such as dopamine, which thereby keeps the mind alert and at a high concentration level. So whether it’s going for a brisk walk, hitting the gym, or working out at home, be sure to incorporate exercise into your daily life to boost your brain power.
Strengthen personal relationships. A 2008 University of Michigan study revealed that spending just ten minutes per day talking to another person can better one’s cognitive functioning, resulting in improved memory and intellectual performance. And we don’t mean just instant messaging or texting a friend. If you want to sharpen your attention, pick up the phone to converse with your sister or meet up with a friend for a coffee and a good chat. Making those personal connections will not only leave you feeling happier, but also help you to focus better.