4 Proven Ways to Increase Mental Focus
There’s no doubt that being a student in college comes with various distractions. Efforts constantly preoccupy your mind to complete both everyday and greater goals. On top of classes and exams, it jogs with the constant notion of fitting into social settings, understanding lessons and preparing for impending graduation dates. In fact, these days will likely be the most challenging ones of a person’s life. Mostly because studying is typically quite a bit more mentally demanding than the efforts that go into a full-time job. The process literally requires the cellular structure of your brain to accommodate and change for new knowledge. It’s exhausting and sometimes these challenges can make it difficult to focus.
To avoid having a scattered mind that produces scattered thoughts, here are 4 proven ways to improve your mental focus.
Ditch Coffee for Cardio
Those double shot espressos for late night study sessions aren’t just keeping you up, they’re also training to you rely on them for focus. Think about it, every time you down a triple latte in the name of sharper focus you’re telling your brain that it can’t operate on its own energy alone. Thus, your brain will start to function as though it needs caffeine. Not only can this frame of mind be a complete drain on your wallet, it can also prevent you from staying alert when you’re not hopped up coffee.
The next time you need help re-aligning your focus on your books, consider going out for a jog or doing some pushups. Exercise has proven repeatedly to be the bodies greatest stimulant because of its ability to release memory chemicals in the brain. To stimulate areas of the brain related to focus, consider a 15 to 20-minute aerobic exercise workout.
Keep Your Body Hydrated
That mid-afternoon slump you experience after your first or second class, might not just be because you went to bed late. Recent studies published in The Journal of Nutrition revealed that even the mildest cases of dehydration can cause a person to lose focus and attention. In fact, there’s quite a bit that gets put on the line when your body doesn’t have enough water. When your body is low on water, less blood circulation occurs in the brain which can cause a person to feel, fatigued, groggy or even dizzy. So, next time you’re headed to your favorite campus coffee shop, consider picking up a bottle of water instead of a coffee.
Start Catching More Z’s
Getting an optimal amount of sleep won’t just give you the energy you need to operate throughout a day it can also help you to perform better in school. Sleep improves a person’s ability to make more accurate decisions, cement what they’ve learned for that day and make fewer mistakes. The key is hitting those key sleep hours which can affect the way a person operates during their waking ones.
The inability to focus and stay concentrated often occurs because of a lack of delta sleep. Delta sleep is the slow-wave stage that comes before REM. During this phase of sleep, your brain powers down and certain cognitive functions undergo repair and gain back energy. Most students give themselves less than 7 hours of sleep during their school week to give themselves more time. But, cutting themselves off from sleep before the seven-hour mark, can cause them to miss out on all of the phases REM and Delta included needed for a fully charged brain. Think of your brain as a computer in reboot mode. Often, you’ll find that powering off and restarting it doesn’t work. Instead, you’ll find that it's better to power off, give it a moment and then restart. It’s the same for your brain. So, don’t rush yourself when it comes to sleep.
Turn Off the TV and Turn Up the Tunes
Practically all college students fall victim to the belief that they can study while they watch T.V. While studying and enjoying T.V. time isn’t always a bad idea (taking commercial breaks to review flashcards is a great way to be productive) it can also cause you to experience distractions and lead your mind to wander off in different directions. The next time you sit down to study, flip off the T.V and grab your headphones. The right tunes can help you to block out distractions and get your mind to refocus on tasks at hand. Find a middle ground that hits the sweet spot of proper study music. Go for songs that are rhythm but also slightly unpredictable. Most of today’s modern pop songs fall somewhere within this range.