Task concentration exercise

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Concentration is the capacity to control your attention so that you can focus on one task, object or thought. Being able to direct your attention is therefore important to be able to concentrate properly and prevent you from getting distracted too easily.

If you are dealing with social anxiety, you may have noticed that your attention is often focused on yourself and the surrounding environment rather than the task at hand. As a result, your task performance can deteriorate, which, in turn, can make you more insecure next time.

You can compare this, for example, to a basketball player who is not able to perform optimally when he/she puts too much focus on things in his/her environment. The goal is to play the ball into the basket and not to pay attention to the audience, how he/she looks, or how much stress he/she feels. If the basketball player pays too much attention to the environment, chances are that he/she will not be able to get the ball in the basket and, therefore, will not perform the task properly. As a result, they will feel more unsure about whether it will go well the next time.

 

Exercise

 

Concentration is a skill. This means that you can improve your concentration. You can do this by doing task concentration exercises.

In task concentration exercises, the goal is to learn to focus as much attention as possible on the task instead of on irrelevant things. During these exercises, you will deliberately divide your attention between the task, yourself and the environment.


Listening exercise 1: you and your professional cannot see each other

  1. The professional will tell a story.
  2. Try to concentrate on listening.
  3. Summarize the story.
  4. Give an indication (a percentage) of how concentrated you were on yourself, the task and the environment.
  5. Give an indication (a percentage) of how successful the summarization was.

 

Listening exercise 2: you and your professional can see each other

  1. Listen to the professional’s story again.
  2. Try to concentrate on listening.
  3. Summarize the story.
  4. Give an indication (a percentage) of how concentrated you were on yourself, the task and the environment.
  5. Give an indication (a percentage) of how successful the summarization was.

 

Listening exercise 3

  1. Listen to a new story told by the professional.
  2. Try to listen as best as you can and try to focus your attention on yourself and/or think about blushing, trembling or sweating.
  3. Summarize the story.
  4. Give an indication (a percentage) of how concentrated you were on yourself, the task and the environment.
  5. Give an indication (a percentage) of how successful the summarization was.

 

Listening exercise 4

  1. Listen to a new story told by the practitioner.
  2. Try to listen as best as you can and try to focus your attention on yourself, or think about blushing, trembling or sweating but continuously redirect your attention back to the task.
  3. Summarize the story.
  4. Give an indication (a percentage) of how concentrated you were on yourself, the task and the environment.
  5. Give an indication (a percentage) of how successful the summarization was.

 

Listening exercise 5

  1. Listen to a new story told by the practitioner. This story will include something about self-centeredness.
  2. Try to listen to as best as you can.
  3. Summarize the story.
  4. Give an indication (a percentage) of how concentrated you were on yourself, the task and the environment.
  5. Give an indication (a percentage) of how successful the summarization was.

 

Sources:

Keijsers, G. P. J., Van Minnen, A., Verbraak, M., Hoogduin, C. A. L. & Emmelkamp, P., (2017). Protocollaire behandelingen voor volwassenen met psychische klachten.

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