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Much of what we read on the Internet are tips on how to concentrate, or what to do in order to stay focused. However, these tips tend to be counter-intuitive, due to the fact that they are working against the nature of the brain.
Through research, psychologists have used science to understand the way the brain works. To much surprise, behaviors we have always been told to not do, such as zone out, can actually make concentrating on a boring task a little more bearable. Our frontal cortex is responsible for staying concentrated and ignoring distraction. At some point, this region of the brain becomes over worked and requires a break in order to rejuvenate.
Zoning out is one of the most important processes in allowing your brain to refuel. There is deliberate and accidental mind wandering. Deliberate mind wandering allows you to take a break from your work task and clear your mind of something else. It is a way to distract your mind while still being productive. Another tip to staying focused is to muck about. Although funny videos on the Internet are often the best form of procrastination, watching a humorous video is a great way to replenish our brain. It has been proven that a "playful" environment encourages production more successfully than a "relaxed" environment.
Something we have all be taught is to eliminate all distractions. When taking a test in school we must clear off our desk, at work it is important to stay organized and pristine. On the contrary, having other distractions surrounding you allows your brain to concentrate on the most important one. This may be different for everyone, requiring some trial and error, but finding the perfect balance can keep your mind focused on what is important. Another important tip is to take a break. Sometimes you just want to get the task over with, but our brain can only work for so long. Exercise and meditation are two great ways to step aside from your project and let your brain rest. If these aren't possible at the time, looking out the window and treating yourself with some caffeine can do the trick as well. Finally, don't try too hard. When you rely on brain to focus only on one task for extended periods of time, your outcome won't be as successful as it could be. It is important to allow yourself plenty of time to complete the task, relax, and let your brain do it's work.
If your focus still has not improved enough to meet your goals, your brain may need some training. Neurofeedback can train your brain to regulate, stabilize and focus itself so you're able to concentrate better on your tasks or follow directions that are given to you.
Contact us for more information on how Neurofeedback can help you and your family find the focus you need to function at your best.
Reference: Williams, C. (2017). Five ways science can improve your focus. BBC.
~Written by Allison Parker and Tanya L. Hilber, PsyD