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.