Our brains are pretty amazing. So far, it has been responsible for all of our accomplishments, from getting us college degrees to finding cures for deadly diseases.
However, there is often the case of disturbed concentration. Everyone experiences this; one minute you’re writing an essay, and before you know it, you’re watching a funny cat video on YouTube.
It is difficult to get better attention. Some people find the solution in coffee, and even though it does enhance focus, it is not a healthy short attention span cure because of its addictive tendencies.
The good news is, meditation can help boost attention span and, thus, increase focus. Our lives depend on how well we can pay attention, and it would do us a world of good if we could concentrate on tasks for a sufficient amount of time.
In 2011, Dr. Anthony Zanesco, who was curious about the effect meditation has on the attention span, led an investigation. From the investigation he found that there was an increased ability to pay attention to tasks, in people who meditated consistently for over seven years (this is how long the experiment lasted).
Does Meditation Improve Attention Span?
1. Better Stress Management
Meditation does an excellent job of helping you manage stress. If you didn’t already know, stress is a significant player in causing short attention spans. The part of the brain that reacts to stress is known as the amygdala, and according to research, that area is quieter with meditation. As a result, one who meditates will not lose their attention to all the emotional triggers that result in or that are as a result of stress. This lets the attention span stay intact and not give in to stress.
2. Improved Ability to Manage Distractions
Distractions are an obvious recipe for a reduced attention span. However, what meditation does for you is that it helps you immediately shake off distractions and bounce back. Meditation exercises, like focused meditation, will train you to bring back your attention to your breathing quickly. Goleman notes that this practice strengthens the neural circuitry of the brain, improving focus. What this means is that, because of the discipline that has come from meditation, you easily identify when you get distracted and bounce off from it, to continue with your task. You could start with meditations at lunch break; your productivity at work will undoubtedly improve.
3. Helps with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)
Studies carried out in the past found that meditation was effective in handling depression and anxiety. As a result, researchers in Harlem carried out another survey and found that special needs students focused more when they carried out simple breathing exercises.
Meditation Techniques to Improve Attention Span
What then? If meditation can improve your average attention span or short attention span, then it’s worth trying. Below are a few ways to try out meditation for your attention span;
Pay Attention to Your Breathing
In meditation, the catch is to keep your focus on just one thing, while every other thought passes by. This could be arduous for some, if not most, people. Here’s an easier way to practice keeping your mind focused on one thing – pay attention to your breathing and breathe deeply. Pay attention to how the air travels through your system as you inhale and exhale. Ensure that you’re comfortably seated when you do this, and as the distractions come to your mind, refocus on your breathing. Start with five minutes a day and then increase as you improve.
This gives you power over your body. Find a comfortable position and stay still, ignoring all the tiny itches and tickles that typically attack you whenever you’re still. Don’t worry about your breath; let your focus be on your stillness instead. The focus will introduce calm to your mind and boost your attention and concentration.
Stretch & De-stress
Giving your body something to do, helps you pay attention to something else that isn’t the distracting thoughts that constantly flood your mind. As you stretch your muscles with different positions, let your mind stay on your breathing, the feel of your muscles as they stretch, and the strength you put into holding a position. This will boost your mental stamina and improve short attention span.
Be Consistent with Meditation!
There are different kinds of meditation; mindfulness, spiritual, mantra, and focused are a few kinds. If you’re consistent enough with one, you will experience a better attention span that will improve the quality of your life and productivity. An improved attention span will also boost your relationships. You can begin with five minutes, and then increase the time as you get better, no pressures.