What are Concentration Problems?
Concentration is one of the most powerful mental tools at our disposal - and yet, so few people actually know how to use it to its full potential.
Essentially, concentration is the ability to focus attention on a task at hand, while blocking out other distracting or unrelated stimuli. This includes insignificant sounds, visual input, and most importantly, wandering or irrelevant thoughts.
When concentration is at optimal levels, we find our work is easier, more readily remembered, takes less time, and we tend to make fewer mistakes.
Generally, a good movie or a great novel is interesting, packed with visual and audio stimuli (which often drowns out surrounding sights and sounds), and requires little effort or skill to pay close attention.
Diagnosing Concentration Problems
Oftentimes, it is difficult to focus our attention when the material is uninteresting or complex, when there is some physical discomfort, when there is an emotional distraction like sadness or irritability, or when there are auditory or visual distractions.
Child concentration problems may also be early signs of learning disorders or disabilities, and if persistent or distracting from daily functioning, should be evaluated by a healthcare professional.
A person's sustainable level of concentration is dependent on a combination of the following factors:
- dedication or commitment to the task at hand
- interest in the task
- skill and ability to perform the task
- a content emotional and physical state
- an appropriate environment with few distractions
Once a these factors are carefully balanced, it becomes easier for the mind to focus its attention on a select few stimuli and block out unwanted or irrelevant thoughts.
While this process may not last very long at first, it can be possible to improve concentration problems. With practice and focusing techniques, concentration (like any other skill) can be enhanced.
What Causes Concentration Problems?
It is important to understand the difficulties that prevent concentration before we attempt to improve it.
Each individual is different; some things may hinder one person's ability to concentrate but not bother another. Nonetheless, concentration can be seriously reduced by the wide variety of distractions caused by both internal and external sources.
Internal Causes of Concentration Problems
- Irregular sleep patterns
- Unbalanced diet and hunger
- Lack of exercise
- Alcohol or drug abuse
Medical conditions such as physical illness, anxiety, depression, ADD, bipolar disorder and learning disorders such as dyslexia can also affect your concentration.
- Mental Burnout
- Lack of motivation
External Causes of Concentration Problems
- Telephone, internet, and email
- Poor lighting
- Visual stimulation
- Personal issues and interruption from other people such as family, spouse, friends, or colleagues
Help for Concentration Problems
Conventional prescription medications are often used to improve concentration in adults and children.
While there is a place for prescription medication in certain cases of hyperactivity, careful consideration and caution should be taken regarding possible side effects.
There are also alternative treatment options available for treating adults with hyperactivity. Making simple changes in diet, sleep, exercise, and routine can help. Even trying more involved approaches like incorporating relaxation therapies like guided imagery, meditation techniques, and yoga can be beneficial.
There are also many herbal and homeopathic remedies which can help maintain harmony, health, and systemic balance in the brain and nervous system without side effects or sedation. These products are known for their supportive function in maintaining brain, nervous system and circulatory health, and well-being.
More Information on Concentration
Tips to Improve Concentration While Studying
The following tips can help improve concentration and mental focus:
- Find a work area that is conducive to studying – well-lit, quiet, and comfortable.
- Set reachable goals by sticking to a routine study schedule.
- Focus on your objective and accomplish a set number of tasks per session.
- Be organized and create checklists.
- Create incentives to complete tasks.
- Change your study routine now and again by focusing on a different study task to break the monotony.
- Take a regular breaks, even if it is just to stretch for five minutes. This will improve your concentration.
- Reward yourself once you have completed studying and exams are over by going away on holiday, celebrating with friends, or having a massage.
- If you are a parent, learn to recognize any child concentration problems, and provide the necessary support
The Relationship Between Concentration & Fitness
Staying physically fit is an important component in overcoming concentration problems. Your level of fitness impacts your ability to concentrate, focus, and study.
If you ensure that your body is in tip-top shape, your mental performance will be even better.
Follow these useful tips:
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet.
- Eat small meals throughout the day, and avoid heavy meals that can cause sluggishness before studying.
- Include vitamin supplements into your diet.
- Drink plenty of water while you are studying and when you are feeling lethargic.
- Limit your caffeine and sugar intake, as they increase anxiety.
- Regular exercise not only improves your concentration but increases energy levels.
- Sufficient rest, regular sleeping patterns, and relaxation are necessary for memory and concentration.
- Check medications for side effects.
- To improve concentration and memory, herbal and homeopathic natural remedies such as Centella asiatica can help to support mental focus and ‘clear the cobwebs’.