concentration techniques 5
The following list summarizes other techniques that have helped students concentrate. Try one or two at a time to see whether they are for you.
Positive Attitude. Try to look upon studying as an opportunity to learn, rather than as an unpleasant task to complete. Also, since you may be spending a great deal of time in your room, do not make it a prison; rather look to your room as a sanctuary. Remember that you are always free to take a well-earned break.
Why does attention shift so often? It is quite natural for your attention to shift frequently. Probably this is an inheritance from our caveman ancestors who had to be constantly aware of what was going on around them. There will be shifts in attention, but try to confine these shifts within the subject matter at hand. The spider technique. A vibrating tuning fork held close to a spider’s web will set up vibrations in the web itself. After the spider makes a few hurried but” flyless” investigations, it learns to ignore the vibrations. The next time that you are studying in the library and the door opens, don’t look up. Controlling your impulse to look up will disturb your concentration on your work for the first few times. But very soon, like the spider, you’ll learn to ignore these external disturbances.
Becoming annoyed by noise around you. There will always be some noise around us. Avoid disturbances if you can; but do your best to ignore the noise you cannot avoid. By all means do not let yourself become annoyed. The internal irritation that you create has a more devastating effect on concentration than the external noises themselves. Make sure you have everything. Before sitting down to study, make sure you have everything. Sharp pencils, fresh paper and cards, necessary books. Then stay in your chair until you have studied an hour or so. In that way, you’ll remain in the driver’s seat; that is, in control.
The no-room principle. Imagine that certain pathways of your mind are completely filled with thoughts about the subject in front of you. Then there will be no room for extraneous thoughts, and they will be turned away. The check-mark technique. Have a sheet of paper handy by your book; then when you catch yourself not concentrating, put a checkmark on the sheet. The mere act of checking will remind you to get back to work. Students report that when they first tried this system, they accumulated as many as twenty checkmarks per textbook page; but, after one or two weeks, they were down to one or two checkmarks per page.
Will power! Will power alone can’t make you concentrate. You will be breaking concentration whenever you remind yourself, “I must use will power to concentrate!”
Hunger. Hunger is such a basic and persistent state that there is no sense trying to overcome it. Give in! Feed yourself, then go back to work.
There is little doubt that our general health affects our brain, consequently, our ability to concentrate and learn. Our general health, it seems, depends mainly on the following three factors: diet, sleep, and exercise.
How’s Your Diet?
Nutrition experts remind us that “we are what we eat!” We often interpret this principle in physical terms, but the experts go beyond this. They say that nutrition determines whether we are grumpy or cheerful, radiant or dull, even young or old. And on the mental side, they say that nutrition determines the quality of thinking: whether it will be clear or confused. Nutrition, then, affects our whole being.
Breakfast is most important. There is nothing wrong with a doughnut and coffee as a snack, but it is hardly enough food to sustain you from last night’s dinner at about 6:00 until lunch today. The hours from dinner until lunch the next day add up to about 18 hours-and only a cup of coffee and a couple of doughnuts during that long span of time! Yes, I know, there probably was a midnight snack of pizza, a treat to the taste buds, but a gooey mass to the stomach.