5 Proven Tips to Improve Concentration - Tiger Medical Institute

5 Proven Tips to Improve Concentration

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“The Deep Work Hypothesis: The ability to perform deep work is becoming increasingly rare at exactly the same time it is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy. As a consequence, the few who cultivate this skill, and then make it the core of their working life, will thrive” ~ Cal Newport, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

5 Proven Tips to Improve Concentration

Driven to Distraction

When it comes to focus and concentration, so many of us end up feeling that we’re falling short.

The ability to concentrate for long periods on mental work has long been a struggle for so many, while the ability has become increasingly more sought after.

In an exponentially more complex digital era, the struggle for focus and concentration has continued to increase for many.

For focus, there are biological components such as our overall health and vitality and brain health, as well as behavioral aspects influenced by our mindset, new information, and personal choices.

Outside of conditions like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, which has a significant genetic component, we all generally have more control over our ability to focus and engage in deep work than we may have believed.

Below are five proven tips to improve concentration from a biological and behavioral standpoint:

  1. Optimize sleep
  2. Manage Stress Levels
  3. Optimize Nutrition
  4. Create Rituals to Increase Focus
  5. Take Breaks

5 Proven Tips to Improve Concentration from a Biological and Behavioral Standpoint

1. Optimize Sleep

Lack of sleep or poor sleep quality can make it difficult to concentrate.

Make sure you get enough sleep each night. Ideally 7-9 hours is optimal for most adults.

Consider seeing a sleep specialist or getting a sleep study done if you suspect you’re not sleeping correctly or have daytime fatigue and concurrent trouble with focus.

If your sleep is okay, but you know it could be better, look into sleep hygiene principles like those in Matthew Walker’s book “Why We Sleep”.

Consider using a tracking device, such as an Oura ring, to monitor your Deep Sleep, REM Sleep, and factors that go into your total sleep and sleep quality.

Since sleep is a time when your brain repairs itself and memories are consolidated, it plays a critical role in focus, concentration, mood, and cognitive clarity, to name a few other benefits.

2. Manage Stress Levels

Stress can make it harder to concentrate, so finding ways to manage stress can help improve concentration.

Regular exercise, meditation, and deep breathing can all help reduce stress levels.

Managing stress can take several forms and looks different for other people.

Personal decision-making, prioritizing self-care, time in nature, and enjoying social connections and activities you want can all be part of your unique stress management protocol.

Self-awareness and reflection can be critical in prioritization, especially with highly driven individuals. Greg McKeown’s book Essentialism is an excellent resource for review on slowing down and high-yield prioritization.

3. Optimize Nutrition

Regarding focus as a cognitive function, our brain is an organ like any other. With that in mind, our brain cells need optimal nutrition and fuel to function at their best.

Having a low glycemic diet with minimal blood sugar spikes and valleys and choosing whole foods low in sugar, refined carbohydrates, and inflammatory oils can do wonders as a foundation for brain health.

On top of this, consider supplementing for brain health.

Supplements like Vitamin D, quality Omega 3 fatty acids from fish oil, iron, and probiotics can all benefit cognitive support, depending on the individual and their particular needs.

Regarding supplements, sourcing, quality, dosing, and individual differences all play a part in the proper protocol.

Talk to your healthcare provider about the best supplements to optimize your health overall, as well as your focus and concentration.

4. Create Rituals to Increase Your Focus

Research suggests that associations are helpful for the brain in learning and anticipation of different kinds of activities.

For example, your brain may learn to associate a clean desk with focus or a specific location with ‘getting in the zone’.

Rituals around time of day, location, length of work, and having a structure in place where you have all the materials you need can all be helpful to support the state of flow necessary for concentrated, deep work.

5. Take Breaks

According to some sources, attention spans can vary among individuals, with an average attention span of around 25 minutes.

The amount of breaks you need for optimal focus likely depends on the type of work you are doing and your personal attention span, which can be modified.

Memorizing could require more frequent breaks, and creative work may benefit from longer stretches to allow ideas to percolate and a buildup of time for getting in the zone.

25, 50, or 90-minute work sessions, followed by either five or 10-minute breaks, or a more extended break for a 90-minute session could all do the trick depending on your unique makeup and the task at hand.

Experiment with different lengths of work sessions to see what’s best for you.

Either way, taking breaks will optimize efficiency in work and generally minimize cognitive fatigue, often allowing you to work for longer overall if required.

Remember that most people can only manage a few hours of deep work per day, so set up a structure for yourself that can maximize the outputs in that time!

Next Steps to Improving Concentration

When it comes to focus and concentration, learning about brain health and how sleep, movement, stress management, and nutrition affect your cognitive function is key.

Understanding the behavioral psychology of concentration also helps when setting up structures and managing your mindset and expectations.

Working with a Functional ND or MD focusing on cognitive health or a life coach focusing on productivity are two ways to move the needle in your focus and concentration goals.

You have what it takes inside you to make a definite choice that will change the future trajectory of your health.

Our team at Tiger Medical has the experience, clinical skills, and coaching acumen to help you get your cognitive health and energy back.

To talk to one of our professionals, click here to schedule your call!

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