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9 Ways to Focus a Wandering Mind

gWays to Focus a Wandering Mind Most of us have had difficulty concentrating at one time or another. There's nothing quite as frustrating as knowing you need to focus yet being unable to stop your mind from wandering off-topic. We examine the reasons behind this phenomenon and offer some helpful tips to improve your focus. THE SCIENCE BEHIND WHY YOUR MIND WANDERS Research suggests that mind wandering may begin at a physical level, and the Neurogenetics Theory attempts to explain what triggers it.' GLG If they can't find it, they start functioning at reduced capacity and other parts of the brain call for attention. The brain's neurons The neurons look to need a consistent source of energy to continue working (focusing). two sources to provide this energy: glial cells and glycogen stores. With enough energy, our ability to focus can be called on throughout the day, as needed. But without sufficient energy, other excitable parts of your brain will get your attention – and that's when the mind begins to wander. So ultimately, it's a lack of energy in the brain that causes us to experience a deficit in our attention. But there are numerous techniques we can employ to train our brain and help manage the mind wandering. HOW TO STOP YOUR MIND FROM WANDERING Research on concentration has unearthed a number of interesting ways that we can prevent our minds from daydreaming when it's time to focus. ADD A DELIBERATE 1 DISTRACTION According to research from University College London, adding distractions reduces distractibility. Attention is a limited resource, so filling all the 'slots' in your mind leaves no room for other distractions.? PRO TIP Play music without lyrics, which adds background noise and has been shown to boost concentration. ALLOW YOUR MIND A 2 MOMENT TO DAYDREAM Harvard psychologist Paul Seli suggests that pausing occasionally to think about something unrelated can invigorate focus when you return to your task.? PRO TIP Make your short breaks count with Peak, a fun brain-training app that challenges your cognitive skills. 3 IDENTIFY AND ELIMINATE YOUR STRESSORS According to clinical psychologist and professor Joan Klagsbrun, stressors draw your attention away from productivity. She recommends "clearing a space" so you can focus on the task at hand. TRY IT Visualise putting each concern or problem at a distance, such as in a drawer in another on a boat while you imagine sitting on a beach. oom or A GRAB A CUP OF COFFEE A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease found a link between caffeine and cognition. Researchers noted that it increases physiological arousal, resulting in less tendency to be distracted. PRO TIP If you're not a fan of coffee, grab a square of dark chocolate for a small caffeine boost and a good dose of antioxidants. h TAKE 1 MINUTE TO DOODLE Although often associated with a lack of concentration, a University of Plymouth study found that doodling actually improves cognitive performance. It can improve focus and allow thoughts to come together. TRY IT Don't draw anything too complex that will snatch your focus up. Simple geometric shapes, patterns and designs tend to be most effective. 6 COUNT SLOWLY As YOU BREATHE 3. 2.. 1. Buddhist meditators laud the benefits of breath counting meditation, which is an exercise for the mind that cleanses distracting thoughts and builds concentration power. HOW TO 13. 11. 12. Exhale slowly Repeat to the count of 10. As you get better, increase Take a slow, deep inhale and pause. and count "one." the number of breaths. 7 TRY A NAAM YOGA HAND TRICK TO REDUCE STRESS Author Sharon Melnick suggests applying pressure to the space between your second and third knuckle (index and middle fingers).This activates a nerve near the heart and creates a sense of instant calm, allowing your brain to better control mind wandering." FF TRY IT 2. Up the ante by incorporating deep breathing, a critical part of an effective yoga practice. 8. MONITOR YOUR MIND-WANDERING AND BRING IT BACK ON TASK Author Daniel Goleman suggests that noticing when your mind starts to wander gives you the chance to think, "my mind has wandered off again," which activates brain circuits that help you get back on track. PRO TIP Pay attention to what triggers your mind wandering, and you'll find that you can start catching it sooner. Y TRY CHEWING GUM A study from Cardiff University found that chewing gum increases alertness and improves attention span, which can help prevent distraction when you're trying to focus on a task. TRY IT Opt for spearmint gum, as the menthol in spearmint has been shown to help relieve stress that can cause mind-wandering.10 SPEARMINT Did your mind wander as you were reading this? Hopefully not. But if it did, make note of a few of the techniques suggested here. Next time your mind starts to wander off task, try them out and see how your concentration and focus improves. SOURCES 'Baer, D. (2013) Why your mind keeps wandering. 2 Williams, C. (2017) 7 ways to tame your wandering mind and achieve better focus. 3 Martinuzzi, B. (2013) Stay Focused: 8 Ways to Boost Your Attention Span. 4 Vozza, S. (2015) 8 Ways To Improve Your Focus. * Shellenbarger, S. (2014) The Power of the Doodle: Improve Your Focus and Memory. * Bond, Annie, B. (2001) 8 Tips to Focus Your Mind. "Melnick, M. (2013) 20 Scientifically Backed Ways To De-Stress Right Now. * Goleman, D. (2015) Three Ways to Focus the Wandering Mind. ' The Globe and Mail. (2013) Can gum chewing really help students focus? 10 Organic Facts. (2017) 8 Surprising Benefits of Spearmint. This image is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License - Onward BY SA FIND YOUR STRIDE

9 Ways to Focus a Wandering Mind

shared by OnStrideFinancial on Mar 02
It’s probably no surprise that the human mind has a tendency to wander. Scientific research has discovered that this trait is almost ubiquitous among humans, and most of us experience it regularly. ...


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