Sound therapy for concentration

Introduction

We live in a fast-paced era. People wear multiple hats due to work, school, families, volunteer responsibilities, and social and personal relationships. With such constant demand, our minds become overloaded and sometimes we find it difficult to concentrate. Stress radically reduces our abilities to concentrate. Concentration has been defined as "the ability to direct one's thinking in whatever direction one would intend". Thus the word "concentration" is seen to mean literally, "the act or state of bringing to a fixed point or focus." More than 10,000 random thoughts and fleeting images zip though an average person's mind every day. They could include a snippet of a song, a momentary image of an old friend, or a fragment of a joke. In most cases, these intruders are quickly banished from the mind so you can concentrate on the task at hand. Poor concentration also can affect your memory. So if you're doing the laundry, for instance, you may forget all about a boiling tea kettle in the kitchen until the smoke alarm goes off.

Concentration

Concentration can be seen as an elusive state of mind. Why? Ironically the more you think or worry about concentration the less you're actually concentrating on the task at hand. That is why strategies to improve concentration usually approach it indirectly, by focusing on the elimination of distractions. Distraction is a major cause of poor concentration. There are two types of distractions: external and internal. External distractions are related to the physical environment and internal distractions are related to you: your body, your thoughts and your emotions. Music in the background is a popular strategy to reduce distractions as long as the music is not allowed to become a distraction. Studies show that listening to music can make people more likely to stick to a plan, activity or a fixed point or focus.

What is Concentration?
Concentration means to focus attention on one thing, and one thing only. The art or practice of concentration then, no matter if studying biology or playing pool, is to focus on the task at hand and eliminate distraction. Quite often it is our way of life that takes away our former ability to concentrate fully. For example, one's mind wanders from one thing to another, your worries distract you, outside distractions take you away before you know it, or what you are doing is boring, difficult, and/or not interesting to you or your thoughts are scattered. Small children are very skilled in concentration. Children can get much absorbed in their play; yet we all have the ability to concentrate. Think of the times when you were "lost" in something you enjoy: a sport, playing music, a good book, a good game, a movie. This is total concentration. When people say that they can't concentrate it usually means that they cannot stay focused on one thing for as long as they would like. Most of us experience lapses in concentration every day. We are not usually concerned about it; we may not even notice these lapses in concentration. They only become a problem when we find that we cannot get things done as quickly as we would like, or when they cause us to make mistakes.
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Factors That May Cause Poor Concentration
How Can You Learn to Concentrate Better?
Focus, focus, focus! You can improve your powers of concentration, say doctors. Everyone can be focused; it's not a gift given to just a lucky few. Here are seven methods to help improve concentration that can work for any age or situation.

Block Out Distractions

Shut the door, turn off the TV and take the phone off the hook, and you'll cut out a lot of distractions. If necessary, tell the people that you share space with that you would rather not be disturbed.

Do One Thing at a Time

It's difficult to focus on any one task if you're working on several simultaneously. You are bound to take longer or make more mistakes, because your mind simply can not be in two places at once. Instead, block out time for each task or project and tackle each in turn.

Take a Deep Breath

Anxiety can cloud your concentration. Deep breathing can help quiet the nagging inner voice that says, "Am I going to be able to finish this? Will it be good enough?" Take a deep breath and hold it for five seconds while pressing your hands and fingers together, palm to palm. Then slowly exhale through your lips while letting your hands relax. Do these five or six times until you relax.

Use Sound Machines

Some people have reported the use of sound machines to focus better and increase concentration. Experiment with background white noise/sounds. Go with whatever works for you to mask out sounds such as: street noise, television and stereos, tinnitus (ringing, buzzing in the ears, etc.), noisy appliances, barking dogs, noisy neighbors air traffic or conversation.

Surprise Your Brain

Activities that give your brain a workout such as reading books on subjects new to you, solving puzzles, learning new languages or instruments translate to sharper thinking, studies find.

After an Hour, Take a Break

Getting focused is one thing; staying focused is another. After a while your brain (and the rest of your body) needs a break. To refresh and refocus, take a quick walk around the block.

Have a Snack

Concentration wavers when your blood sugar levels fall, and frequent small meals keep levels steadiest, says Dr. Colsky. So if you're about to tackle a task that demands concentration, have a bite to eat: half a tuna sandwich, for example, or some other combination of protein and carbohydrate. Research suggests that a protein-carb combination keeps you more alert than protein or carbohydrate alone.
Concentration and Your Body
Older Adults Have Poor Concentration