Five Strategies to Increase Focus and Attention
Many factors come into play when it comes to not being able to maintain focus. It could be a lack of sleep, stress, age, or any other component causing your attention span to be short. There are many lifestyle changes that you can make to improve your focus, retain information, and improve memory.
Eat a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet seems to be the answer to everything; however, if you’re having issues focusing, it might be worth the lifestyle change. Processed foods, too much sugar, and greasy/fatty foods all have a negative effect on cognitive functions and, in other words, don’t help when it comes to your attention span.
Omega 3s and Fats
Foods rich in omega-3, such as salmon, flax seeds, walnuts, and soybeans can be added to your diet to benefit focus and improve overall brain health over time. Blueberries, eggs, spinach, dark chocolate, are foods that also benefit focus.
Lion’s Mane mushroom is rich in antioxidants, as well as being anti-inflammatory. Countless studies have shown that this mushroom is beneficial for boosting focus as well as preventing cognitive decline.
On top of adding certain nutrients to your diet, being sure to stay hydrated is also a big factor that plays into concentration throughout the day, as well as eating a nutritious breakfast in the morning full of fiber and protein .
Getting Quality Sleep
Not getting enough sleep can truly affect your attention span and memory. Being overly tired can negatively impact the way you function on a daily basis.
It’s essential to aim towards 7 and 8 hours of sleep every night. Although you may fall asleep and wake up 7-8 hours later, this doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting good sleep.
To ensure you get a better night’s rest, you can:
- Stop screen time an hour before bed.
- Optimize your circadian rhythm (go to bed and wake up at the same time every night).
- Don’t drink caffeine after noon.
- Don’t eat for three hours before bed.
- Keep a cool temperature in your room (around 65 degrees fahrenheit) .
- Try supplements such as Stress Reset containing Chaga mushrooms to ensure your mind isn’t racing through the night.
Along with eating healthy, exercise is beneficial to everyone.
Studies have shown that daily physical activity could help improve focus after just four weeks . A year of physical activity can have fairly drastic effects, such as stopping or even reversing effects of memory loss that occurs with age .
Whether it’s lifting weights at the gym, riding a bike to work, or walking your dog, engaging in physical activity before doing something that requires focus can not only make a significant difference in concentration, but it can also help clear your mind to better prepare you for the day.
Research has shown that someone who meditates often can have a change in brain function (for the better, of course). Reason being that people who often engage in meditation have less worries and are less likely to be drowning in their own thoughts .
Meditating can be done in different ways, so choosing one that best suits you is vital. Some of these different styles are:
Mindfulness is a type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you're sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment. Spending too much time planning, problem-solving, daydreaming, or thinking negative or random thoughts can be draining. Practicing mindfulness exercises can help you direct your attention away from this kind of thinking .
Here is a great article that explains how to practice mindfulness.
Transcendental Meditation (TM)
Transcendental meditation is one of the most widely practiced meditation techniques. TM is usually done with the eyes closed while silently repeating a mantra for 15–20 minutes a day.
TM is different than any other form of meditation because of the mantra being repeated. Other forms of meditation use words, phrases, etc. during the practice, whilst in TM the mantra is a meaningless sounds to help the mind settle down. Keeping focus on your mantra helps achieve a state of stillness and consciousness .
Box breathing is a technique that used deep breathing to calm your nervous system, and decrease stress in your body. It is a simple but powerful relaxation technique that can help return your breathing pattern to a relaxed rhythm. It can clear and calm your mind, improving your focus .
Here is a great article that goes more in depth on how to properly do box breathing.
Caffeine can benefit your focus temporarily, hence why coffee is such a popular morning beverage.
If you have a long day ahead, or need a pick me up, coffee, energy drinks, or various teas containing caffeine are a good choice; however, if you prefer something other than a caffeinated beverage, dark chocolate will have similar effects .
Although caffeine can be a good pick me up, it can often cause mid-day crashes or even jitters. This can be avoided with options like matcha tea, or even Cordyceps mushrooms. Cordyceps is known for being a natural energy booster, while also skipping the crash and even addictions that come with caffeine.
Having little focus and concentration on a day to day basis can be frustrating. There are many options to choose from when it comes to improving attention span and retaining information, but it’s important to find the right thing that works for you.
1. Rodriguez, D., & Pat F. Bass III, M. (2010). ADHD Diet: Foods to Help You Focus - ADHD Center - Everyday Health. Retrieved 22 October 2021, from https://www.everydayhealth.com/add-adhd-pictures/what-to-eat-in-an-adhd-diet.aspx
2. How to Improve Concentration: 12 Science-Backed Tips, and More. (2021). Retrieved 22 October 2021, from https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/how-to-improve-concentration#sleep
3. Villines, Z. (2017). Chaga mushrooms: Benefits, tips, and risks. Retrieved 26 October 2021, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318527#Risks-of-chaga-mushrooms