Concentration occurs when the brains prefrontal cortex, which controls high-level cognitive tasks, is awash with the right cocktail of neurotransmitters, hormones, and other body chemicals, particularly the “pleasure chemical” dopamine (you get a jolt of this when you eat delicious food, have sex, or encounter something new and exciting). When dopamine levels rise, you subconsciously want more of the good feeling it gives you, so you’re driven to concentrate on whatever you’re doing to keep getting it. But when your dopamine starts to falter, your dopamine levels drop and you start looking for a new, pleasurable distraction to replace that dopamine hit.
Below are 10 ways to help you regain your focus.
1. Get a good nights sleep. Lack of sleep creates fatigue and fatigue creates stress. Getting the right amount of sleep creates a better mood, a better attitude, and with less fatigue comes more energy.
2. Have a snack. If your running on fumes and about to head into a marathon meeting, drink a glass of water and eat a snack with a balance of carbohydrates, fat and protein, like an apple and a piece of cheese.
3. Start moving. A quick burst of aerobic exercise relieves stress and improves concentration by flooding the brain with oxygen and activating brain chemicals such as dopamine.
4. Think happy thoughts. Thinking of things that promote warmth, connection, and happiness reduces the hormones associated with stress, fear, and anger that can impede concentration.
5. Exercise your brain. Exercising your mental muscles will help preserve your ability to concentrate. Do crossword, and sudoku puzzles, or read challenging novels.
6. Limit multitasking. Trying to do two things at once can be disadvantageous even if the tasks are relatively simple. For more info read – Study says: leave the multitasking to your computer.
7. Take breaks. Our attention naturally falters after we’ve been doing something for a while, so taking breaks helps us recharge.
8. Find your optimal time to work. For most people the morning is the best time to get work done but for some it may be the afternoon or night.
9. Visualize what you want to achieve. Try this focusing tip when distracted, close your eyes for a few moments and imagine successfully completing the task at hand.
10. Alternate high-stimulation and low-stimulation tasks. When concentrating on something that requires a lot of mental effort, rekindle the brain power by doing something routine, it will help you return to your task with a greater level of concentration.