Here’s a quick algebra lesson: C x T = P (Concentration multiplied by Time equals Progress). If concentration is decreased, more time will be needed to achieve progress. Just do the math. In this equation there is also an unknown, or X factor, that comes into play. And no, I am not referring to Simon Cowell’s now defunct talent music competition. The X factor is whether or not the quality of that progress stays the same when concentration is decreased. On second thought, should we call it the Q factor, for quality?
Concentration is the ability to think about absolutely nothing when it is absolutely necessary. But today’s technology; constant noise; and too busy lifestyles function as “weapons of mass distraction;” they prevent us from creating the void necessary to think clearly. This becomes worrisome if we believe that being unable to concentrate is “like opening one’s eyes without seeing anything.” Let’s explore key facts.
Dr. Nina’s What You Need to Know: To Concentrate and See Clearly When We Open Our Eyes (Note: This will require concentration)
Mental workout. The formula for success is simple: practice and concentration then more practice and more concentration. Let’s take that a step further and practice concentrating. It is possible to build our ability to concentrate like we would build muscle mass. Start off slow, maybe 5-6 minutes of concentrating and then take a break. With practice, we can gradually increase concentration time and decrease the breaks.
Give it a break. Our ability to concentrate is not endless. And if concentration is equal to zero, it does not matter how much time we put in because progress will be zero. Studies have shown that taking regular breaks from mental tasks improves productivity and creativity. Conversely, skipping breaks can lead to stress and exhaustion. We typically do not start a second rep of biceps curls without taking a break in between. By recognizing our limits, we will optimize our time. Consider stretching, taking a quick walk, checking email, playing a round of Candy Crush, or eating.
Sleep. “If you snooze you lose” does not necessarily apply to concentration. A lack of sleep can make our minds scattered and lethargic. The end result is that it takes more time to finish the task at hand (and don’t forget the X factor addressing quality). Still don’t believe me? Statistics have shown that drowsy driving can be just as fatal as driving drunk! Like alcohol, sleepiness slows reaction time, decreases awareness, impairs judgment and increases our risk of crashing.
Exercise. Raising our heart rate and breaking a sweat is one of the best ways to clear a distracted mind. In fact, some of my best studying during college and med school occurred while on the elliptical machine and treadmill. It’s like killing two birds with one stone. And a little secret…shhhhh….I write most of my articles while walking on the treadmill. In fact I am doing it now!
Location, location, location. Choose a place free of distractions. In other words, an office space or library is a more nurturing environment for concentrating than a shared living room with the television on. When at work, decrease distractions. Close down our email and cellular phone so the constant “dings” and alerts do not function like an alarm clock and disturb us from concentrating.
Middle of the road. After eating a heavy meal, blood flow gets diverted from the brain to the stomach to provide the energy to digest the meal. On the other hand, hunger pangs and a growling stomach can prevent us from concentrating. Choose healthy snacks such as nuts, fruit, low fat yogurt, or granola to provide an energy boost.
Spending the time to concentrate will equal progress. This means doing absolutely nothing when it is absolutely necessary. Let’s brush aside the haze that prevents us from seeing clearly when we open our eyes. Afterall, “Success in life is a matter not so much of talent as of concentration and perseverance.” C.W. Wendte.
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Notice: This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither Dr. Nina Radcliff or Kimberly Cecchini take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.
Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, including the use of natural or herbal remedies, you should be aware that many of these techniques have not been evaluated in scientific studies. Use of these remedies in connection with over the counter or prescription medications can cause severe adverse reactions. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness.