Concentration is the capacity to control your attention in such a way you can focus on 1 task, object or thought. Controlling your attention is important to prevent distraction. In the busy world of today we’re used to do all kinds of things at the same time and we process a lot of data during the day. This causes our brain to adapt and gets used to rapidly shifting your attention to different things. 

Maybe you recognize it that you want to study, but you also to respond to a message or you promised your grandma to call her. Because you’re spending time and attention to everything at the same time, you’re in fact way less efficient. 

If you have trouble concentrating, there’s a big chance you will quit doing your tasks faster. Because what’s the point if you just can’t concentrate? Luckily, concentration is a skill, which means you can improve it. 

Tips to learn to concentrate

Below you will find exercises that help you improve your concentration.

  1. Try focusing on a simple task. For example making a puzzle or color a picture. Try to do it for 10 minutes straight. Do you notice any distraction? Try to force you to finish those 10 minutes first. If you are able to complete simple tasks fully concentrated, you will notice you will get better at doing more complex tasks too.
  2. Play some music and practice shifting your attention by listening to the different elements in a song. Listen for example 10 seconds to the vocals first, then move to the drums and then listen to the melodies. If you think 10 seconds are easy, try adding 5 seconds each time.
  3. Count back from 100 to 0 in your head. If this is very easy for you, try skipping 3 numbers each time. So 100, 97, 94 and so on.
  4. You can practice your concentration while walking outside on the streets too! Try paying attention to your surroundings and count all the red cars you’re seeing for a few minutes. Done? Then switch to counting all the blue cars. If you feel this is becoming easier, you can try to count both the red and blue cars at the same time. Challenge yourself!
  5. Take 5 minutes to relax and sit down and focus on everything you sense. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you feel? What do you taste? What do you smell? If you notice your thoughts are wandering off, try to focus on your breathing. Or focus on a central point, for example a wall.

Do you notice that you are getting better with these exercises? Challenge yourself and make the exercise more difficult! Maybe you’ll discover you are able to visually concentrate very well, but sounds are still very distracting. Then you can aim your exercises to practice with sound. 

The exercises are mostly meant to be examples. Try applying them on your own creative way! If you notice you’re having a hard time, you can try to do a relaxation exercise first. That will always help!

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Wouter Schippers

Hey, I am Wouter. I'm a NiceDay coach and psychologist. I like to play football and to make electronic music.

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