If you’ve been having trouble staying attentive at work or at home, rest assured that you are not alone. Studies show that the average attention span of individuals of all ages has steadily declined over the ages and this could be mainly because of an increase in the distractions we come across — from smartphones to tablets, computers and televisions.
Research shows that an average phone user looks at the phone at least 200 times a day. This means that we typically peek at our phones every five to six minutes when we are awake; how then do you think we can concentrate on the task at hand, studying for instance? Maybe we should try exercising our brains to increase its attention span.
Exercises to Improve Attention Span
One method, often employed to improve attention, is mindfulness techniques. These are supposed to help the brain focus on the present moment without giving in to external distractions, which can, in turn, improve our attention and concentration.
There is a definite benefit to improving our cognitive abilities too — a strong brain can help you perform better physically and mentally.
Here are some exercises for improving attention span:
- Choose exercises that focus on boosting concentration. For example, lie down and relax your muscles and focus on the beating of the heart. Practicing this will help you focus on the heart’s functioning, to a point where you can feel the flow of the blood. You could also simply sit on a chair and try to remain as still as possible. While it may seem difficult at first, over time, you’ll notice that you are able to sit without twitching for even as long as 15 minutes.
- Learn to listen actively. Being able to provide your complete attention to someone who is talking to you will not only improve your emotional connection with the person but will also boost your ability to focus.
- Try not to lose your sense of curiosity as you grow older. Children are naturally curious but as adults, we tend to lose this quality. Being constantly curious about everything around us might help enhance our concentration regardless of the activity.
- Try to read more. Studies show that only about 5 percent of online readers finish an article they start online and there has also been a steady decline in the number of people who read books. Reading in general, especially longer pieces, will help strengthen your concentration and build focus.
- As you start reading more, try to memorize a few lines every day, be it from your favorite author or poet or from an intriguing article that you come across.
- Be more mindful throughout the day. Assign a time slot for meditation and try to follow various mindfulness techniques like being aware of the present and eating mindfully to see how it can improve your attention span.
- List out your distractions and attend to them after your current task. Thoughts of everyday things like what to cook for dinner or what to wear for the party next Friday often distract us while in the middle of important tasks. It might help to write down these distracting thoughts and attend to them later. That way you don’t lose your train of thought for the task at hand and you don’t forget any action required for distractions either.
- Exercise regularly to boost physical and mental stamina. Regular routines, especially those that need you to follow instructions can help improve your attention span.
Are you ready to try these simple exercises to boost your attention span? Just remember to introduce them gradually and take baby steps to avoid getting burned out too soon.
McKay, K. (2018, August 31). 11 Exercises That Will Strengthen Your Attention and Concentration. Retrieved from https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/your-concentration-training-program-11-exercises-that-will-strengthen-your-attention/
McKay, K. (2018, July 05). Improve Concentration: 12 Exercises to Improve Your Concentration. Retrieved from https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/12-concentration-exercises-from-1918/