Practices for Concentration

The dog barks. Your phone rings. The Amazon driver drops off another package and rings the doorbell, your Apple watch buzzes with a notification, and BAM you lose your concentration –YET AGAIN. Your thoughts are immediately interrupted, there goes your focus. Distractions seem to take over our attention so easily every single day and sometimes minute by minute. When your mind wanders it can be nearly impossible to remember where you left off and what you were even thinking about. Here are a few tools to help you build your concentration and keep adding powerful practices to your life.  

Mindfulness. Mindfulness or Meditation is about focusing attention on the present moment, being aware of where you are and what you’re doing, and not being overly reactive or overwhelmed by what is going on around you.  Practicing mindfulness has been shown to rewire the brain so that attention is stronger in everyday life. Sitting still for a few minutes each day, closing your eyes, and focusing on your breathing, or the sounds and sensations around you can have a positive impact on your brain.   Mindfulness can even be done while you're driving by simply turning off the radio, driving in silence, and feeling your breath just move in and out. You can even take a walk outside, looking intently at all the things you see around you, maybe even touching what you see. It may be a good practice to sit as soon as you get out of bed. Set yourself up for success by just sitting for 2 minutes a day for 1 week, maybe try 5 min a day the next week, and keep going from there.  No matter how far we drift away, mindfulness is right there to snap us back to where we are and what we’re doing and feeling. Mindfulness is more than just practice. It brings awareness and caring into everything we do—and it cuts down needless stress. Even a little makes our lives better. 

Improve sleep 

Sleep deprivation can easily disrupt concentration, not to mention other cognitive functions, such as memory and attention. It can lead to brain fog. Both your body and your mind suffer when you don’t get enough sleep. In a world that’s constantly on the go, your body and your mind need a chance to rest and re-charge.  Experts recommend adults aim to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. A study conducted by the National Sleep Foundation found when people get an adequate amount of sleep, the centers of the brain that control speed and accuracy are more active than those who are sleep deprived.   

Staying well-nourished and hydrated 

A healthy diet plays a role in increasing your concentration.  What you are feeding your body, your brain, and how well you stay hydrated matter.  Your brain cells work better when your body isn’t distracting you.  Some foods can actually help keep you focused throughout the day.  The right “brain food” can support brain function and health.  

100 oz of water daily is recommended 

Fatty fish, including salmon, tuna, cod, and pollock, are among the most commonly known foods for concentration. Fatty fish contain omega-3 fatty acids and DHA, which are great for improving concentration and memory. 

Nuts have high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are vital for the brain's cognitive functions. They contain copper, manganese, zinc, and selenium. These nutrients are essential nutrients for healthy neurological function. Eating nuts has been linked with improved moods in some studies too! 

Avocados are high in lutein, a dietary component associated with cognitive benefit.  Eating them will boost your memory and concentration, but also your attention levels and processing speed.