Take Back Your Focus

  |   Health, Healthy Body, Healthy Life Style, Healthy Mind, Life In General, Problem Solving 101, Smart Living   |   No comment

Take Back Your Focus

You don’t have to be a victim of modern technology.

With so many things competing for our attention, it’s often difficult to focus on any single task over an extended period. Even when we intentionally remove electronic distractions, our minds wander; we yearn to check our inboxes. Our brains seem programmed to switch tasks frequently—whether we want to or not. Putting your phone out of reach and turning off email are useful first steps, but there are other tactics we can employ to improve our ability to focus.

Spanish researchers recently found that people who regularly exercise their bodies also have better sustained attention. Practice with focus appears to improve it, too, as indicated by a sustained-attention exercise that Harvard art and architecture history professor Jennifer Roberts assigns for her students. She recommends gazing at a piece of art for three hours, and explains that she was able to observe new aspects of a painting as she looked at it.

Researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara, recently found that two-week mindfulness training decreased mind wandering and improved cognitive ability. Tests showed participants who received mindfulness training had better reading comprehension and memory capacity. One reason may be that mindfulness exercises like concentrating on a taste or smell help participants understand how other thoughts intrude and ultimately interrupt their focus.

You don’t have to spend three hours looking at art or take mindfulness training to make progress; as little as 10 or 15 minutes watching nature or walking without an electronic device can improve your focus.


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