- Mental Health
6 Ways To Improve Your Focus
Focus is the one thing that I do not think anyone ever loses, I hear people all the time mentioning that they have lost their focus, or that they just cannot seem to focus for long enough these days. Well to those people I say you have not lost your focus, you are more than likely just misguiding it.
This is simply because we are all focusing on something, for instance just by reading this article you are guiding your focus onto it, well at least I hope you are and you are not just skim reading! So I find that quite a vast majority are just focusing on the wrong things, this is not to say that you should solely focus on one thing and one thing only. But if you really want to focus on improving your health then your focus should not be on how fast you can make the Facebook news feed go up and down!
So here is the kicker, whilst these following 6 ways will help you to improve your focus, you must be willing to firstly align it with something that you want to do. Please do not improve your focus and let it go to waste as this would be such a shame.
I know these 6 tips work because I use them myself on a regular basis, as someone who suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder and an over analytical mind, I know all too well how quickly your focus can switch from one thing to another.
1. Practice Mindfulness
First of all we will start of with the definition of mindfulness so that you will have a better understanding of why this particular habit will help you to improve your focus;
Mindfulness is a mental state which can be achieved by focusing your awareness on the present moment, whilst at the same time acknowledging your emotions, sensations and your thoughts and their patterns. This means that mindfulness can be used as a therapeutic technique as well as a way of improving your brain's cognitive function.
Practising mindfulness will give you a whole host of other benefits as well as helping you to improve your focus, this is because mindfulness helps you to concentrate on the here and now, allowing your mind to cut out a lot of the distortion from the outside world and really gain clarity.
With this clarity you will then be able to visualise what you want to do or who you want to be, this clarity really allows you to pinpoint your focus when you are visualising.
The best way in which to begin your mindfulness journey is to meditate frequently, ideally this should be done at least once a day for 15 to 20 minutes, if you are able to make some time available in your schedule to allow for a second sitting of meditation then this will speed up your process substantially.
Can be a great way to begin your mindfulness journey
To meditate you simple have to pick a quiet space and get yourself comfortable. Once you are in position then the next step is to put on some meditation music or if this is too distracting for you then you can also meditate in silence. During your meditation it is usually advised (if you are new to meditation) that you focus on your breathing and the associated sensations that come with it. Do not worry if your mind begins to wonder, this is completely natural, just try to gently bring your mind back to your breathing.
If you are unsure on where to find meditation music, then I suggest downloading an app such as Headspace or alternatively searching for meditation music or even guided meditation on Youtube.
I will admit that meditation feels somewhat peculiar at first, in fact you may even get the giggles for your first session, however please just stick with it, this is one of the most powerful ways to improve your focus and overall mental well being.
Have You Ever Meditated?
2. Develop A Routine
A routine is something that is usually overlooked as we go about our daily lives, completing your day without a routine can leave plenty of room for chaos and distractions. These distractions can not only cost you a valuable amount of time, they can also really break up your concentration, making it very easy to feel like you are losing your focus.
Whilst developing a routine is a must, it can also be just as damaging as the chaos if you develop an unhealthy routine. Such as consistently watching TV for hours on end just because a certain program is on television during them times, so it is important that you spend time on looking at the best way to implement a routine, the most important factor to this is ensuring that it is sustainable. Your routine should be something that you can complete successfully everyday until it essentially becomes second nature, concreting it as a habit.
Creating A Routine
Will take roughly 30 days until it becomes habitual.
One of the best times to develop your routine is your evenings, as this can lead to being prepared for the next day leaving you extra room for your focus to be engaged efficiently the following morning. I have written an article with some pointers on how to do this here https://hubpages.com/health/4-Habits-To-Prepare-Your-Morning-The-Night-Before
Once you have prepared for the next day, then your evening routine should focus on getting you the best nights sleep as this will help to set you up for the following day correctly, meaning that you will be bright eyed and bushy tailed, ultimately making you ready to focus on your goals. If you are not quite sure how to develop a knockout evening routine then I have also written an article on how to do this here https://hubpages.com/health/How-To-Create-A-Knockout-Evening-Routin
3. Remove All The Clutter
Some people call it possessions, I like to call it clutter. There will be quite a few things that you own that you do not need or even worse do not want. Unfortunately these things can cause a negative effect on your focus, without you even realising it.
The reason behind this is the same reason why you would find it really hard to meditate in a crowded room of people, there is far too much noise and distraction for you to be able to concentrate or focus properly. In turn do I suggest bagging up all your possessions and slinging them out? No of course not, what I mean is that you should really look at what you own and begin to reduce them down, almost like trimming the fat. For instance do you really need 30 photo frames around the house or could you get all the photographs onto a digital format and placed onto one single digital photo frame?
Sell Your Clutter
You can sell your excess possessions online via ebay, amazon or an array of apps such as schpock and gumtree.
One of the best places to start removing clutter I have found is on your phone, we all have so many pointless apps, images and texts on our phone that we have probably not looked at, used or responded to in months, so why keep hold of them? If there is no reason to keep them then hit that delete button repeatedly, obviously if you have images that are of sentimental value then why not add them to the frame I was talking about earlier?
Once you have digitally de-cluttered then I would advise you to start working through your loft and your cupboards, anything that you haven’t used or even seen for more than a month is probably safe to remove. There are slight exceptions to this such as family heirlooms or things of great sentimental value.
Doing the above can not only help to free up some physical space as well as mental space, helping you to improve your focus. It can also feel quite liberating as you are take action in your life.
Have Ever Sold Any Unwanted Possessions?
4. Disconnect From The Digital World
This is something that I seem to do more and more as each day goes by, purely because there is a huge benefit to it. In today's current world we are bombarded with information every time we scroll, click or watch. All this information can get quite overwhelming for our brains, meaning that we begin to lose focus and notice things less and less.
Well, the best way to stop this decline is to simply switch off, you can do this in stages. In fact I recommend that for just one hour a night you switch the television off along with all the other computing devices, leave your phone on but out of sight just in case of emergencies. Once you are disconnected then do something that you love, such as painting, writing or drawing etc, pretty much anything that engages the creative side of your brain. If you have a family then this could be a great time to sit down and have some fun with the kids, maybe break out the playdoh and get messy! This will train your brain to be in the here and now, as you will have learnt from the meditation this ultimately helps your mind to improve your focus.
Disconnecting in this way will ensure that you do not feel like you are missing out, and will allow you to create memories as opposed to reading about them. During your down time I am certain that you will begin to feel healthier and happier! By me personally doing this I have been able to connect with the people I love more, as well as engaging my focus a lot clearer on the future I want to have.
5. Exercise Regularly
For those of you who have read any of my previous articles, then you will know that exercise is something that I am an advocate of. This is because it has a whole host of wonderful benefits not just for your mind but your overall health.
I am not saying that you should be doing a triathlon on a regular basis, however if you can then more power to you. But you should be aiming for at least 20 minutes to an hour of vigorous exercise, the kind that gets the heart rate up and the sweat juices flowing! To do this you do not have to pay for an expensive gym membership, you can always work out at home, steps make great tools for aerobic exercises and bags of sugar make powerful weights.
If you are unsure as to where to get started with exercise then there are a variety of videos on Youtube for beginners.
6. Eat A Nutritious Diet
For your brain to function and focus correctly it needs the right fuel, you wouldn’t expect your car to run on the wrong fuel, so why would you expect your brain to do the same? There are a number of foods which have been shown to improve brain functionality as well as a number of other benefits for your body, here are just a few below:
Blueberries - These can help to maintain brain function whilst improving your memory and focus, due to their antioxidant properties they help to reduce the rate of oxidative stress on your brain.
Fish - This is particularly aimed at those fish that are high in omega 3 such as salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel or anchovies, this is because omega 3 has been shown to slow down the brains ageing process whilst increasing cognitive function.
Nuts and Seeds - Now we are not talking about the salty bar snacks that you may find, more along the lines of walnuts, brazil nuts and cashews, as well as seeds such as chia seeds, flax seeds and linseeds, all these are high in omega 3.
Spinach and Kale - These two amongst other leafy greens are vital for improving your brain health and focus as they improve cognitive function and once again slow down the brain's natural ageing process.
If You Struggle To Eat Your Veggies
You can always try juicing them, just google juice master plus for inspiration
It is important that the your overall food must form part of a balanced nutrition and must be sustainable for you. There is no point in force feeding yourself walnuts if you do not like them just switch to another nut, possibly even unsalted peanuts or peanut butter? Please be careful though if you or anyone you know has allergies when handling or consuming nuts please research this and take it into consideration. Safety first, always!
If you are like me then you may struggle to consume enough leafy greens, I only struggled with this as I was trying to consume them in a raw format (which is best) as part of a salad. Now this lead me to wasting bags of spinach as I simply did not like to consume it that way and therefore it became unsustainable, however I now add a handful of spinach or kale to most of my dishes that I cook at home in the last few minutes. That way you do not really realise you are consuming them and do not get the slight bitter taste of them.
Do You Regularly Get Your 5 A Day?
Well there you have it there are my 6 ways to improve your focus. All of these will also benefit your overall happiness if not health as well, meaning that they will be a great thing for you to benefit from in your journey of self improvement.
If there are any ways in which you have improved your focus, that maybe I have missed then please let me know in the comments box below, alternatively if you have used or a using any of these tips to improve your focus then I would love to hear how you are getting on with them.
As always thank you for reading!