10 Effective tips to improve concentration

“Take up one idea, make that one idea your life. Think of it, dream of it, Live on that idea let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.”

Swami Vivekananda
Concentration works like magic

Concentration is a vital aspect of any major achievement, along with consistency and perseverance. Swami Vivekananda, a great patron of humanity, went to America to speak at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in 1893. There,  he met a couple of boys trying to shoot some egg shells blobbing on the river. The boys were unable to hit their targets because of the choppy water. Swami Vivekananda watched their game for a long time. The boys invited him to give it a try. Vivekananda took the air rifle, aimed at the eggshells and shot twelve eggs shells with twelve shots. The boys were amazed, and asked him if he was a professional. Vivekananda surprised them by saying that he had never shot before. He was able to do so because he concentrated, only on his shooting…such is the power of concentration.

Concentration is the ability to take the mind off from all distractions and focus it on a single thing. It helps in increasing the effectiveness and productivity of a person. Concentration increases with practice. Just as exercise builds up muscles of the body, similarly, practicing meditation and attention building techniques will help in improving concentration.

1) MEDITATION

“Meditation can turn fools in to sages but unfortunately fools never meditate.”

The best method to improve concentration is through meditation. Meditating for concentration involves closing the eyes and focusing on one single thing. It maybe your breath, a single sound, or focusing on the centre of the forehead without letting the mind wander. Meditation should be done initially for a few minutes and increased with practice.

2) PLACE FOR STUDY

The place for study should be without any audio/visual distractions. The area should be peaceful and calm. Digital equipments should not be kept in the study room; if they are required, notes regarding the same must be made and a separate time must be kept for referring through the digital media. This will ensure that time allotted for a particular topic is not wasted.

3) DURATION

Study plans must be made for 30 to 45 minutes time slots. Each time slot must be followed by a break time of 5 minutes. Some activity like a walk, a snack, listening to music, or simply taking rest will help in retaining concentration.

4) DIET

‘Our belly rules the mind.’

We are what we eat. To function efficiently the brain needs a nutritious diet. Drinking plenty of water, eating fresh fruits and vegetables, almonds,walnuts, green tea, dark chocolate, help in improving concentration.

5) EXERCISE

Good things follow when you sweat

‘In a healthy body, lives a healthy mind.’ For developing concentration, it is important that the brain receives adequate oxygen through blood circulation. Walking in nature for 30 minutes would ensure a stress free mind and a healthy body. Keeping in touch with nature helps in relieving tension and brings about calmness of mind.

6) SLEEP

“Let her sleep for when she awakes ,she will move mountains” – Shakespeare

In spite of a busy schedule and a packed time table, getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep is a must to increase efficiency and concentration. Sleep helps in restoring the memory and relaxing the mind. Sleep also helps in improving the immune system which is essential for performing well during exams.

7) PLAN

A detailed plan for every subject and topic is necessary to be able to focus on priority topics. The plan would help in knowing how much time is available for which topic. A regular routine and time would train the mind to increase concentration at that specific time.

8)TECHNIQUES

There are various techniques to increase concentration. Like putting a black dot on a paper and looking at it for 5 minutes at a stretch. Time slots may be increased with practice. Focusing on a gong or a single sound also helps in increasing concentration.

9) THE 5 MORE RULE

To increase concentration span the 5 more rule may be followed. Whenever you find that concentration is wavering and you cannot focus on studies use the five more rule. It means whatever you are studying or doing, do five more of it. Gradually the concentration span will increase and you will be able to do a little more of your work.

10) AVOID MULTITASKING

Multitasking leads to distraction. It is important to focus on a single task to get the maximum output. Whenever you feel like there is something else which is to be done, write it down in a sheet as a reminder, so that the work can be completed during the break time. That way the task on hand would be completed and the other work will also be remembered and completed at a later period.

Attention is like a muscle. The more you use it the better it gets. Training the mind to focus on a single thing helps in greater efficiency and effectiveness. It is better to focus on one thing at a time. To increase interest in a topic glancing through the chapter and the question answers at the end is advisable. You can also go through audio or video uploads of the topic to get an idea of the content. Reward yourself on completion of a task with something you like. Take power naps to boost your concentration and memory. Distractions will occur. Use spider web technique to avoid being distracted. If a spider’s web is stimulated it will attend to the stimuli to see whether an insect has been trapped. If the stimuli is continuous it will not pay attention. Similarly if you train your mind that there will be distractions, and you must ignore them, the mind will cease to be distracted and concentration will increase. Learn to say no to distractions and don’t try to please everyone. When you don’t feel like studying at all and are unable to concentrate, take a break and be kind to yourself, your mind will reward you with better concentration when you need it the most.

“Arise awake and stop not until the goal is achieved.”

Swami Vivekananda

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