Again, through social media and other means, we are in constant touch with everyone. Our children also similar lifestyles. I grew up in an environment where TV was a luxury, and rationed. Now, our kids have their lap tops, ipods, phones, games etc going on at the same time. For those who are also involved in trusteeships or non-xec directorships, once again, these institutions are becoming more and more global. Entertainment (Holywood and Bollywood), Television (hundreds of cable channels), Sports choices (should we follow baseball, basketball and football or cricket or EPL or tennis), extra-curricular activities choices are manyfold (Gym, sports, yoga, running etc.).
Our attention spans are getting shorter, our patience is getting more tested and our ability to prioritise is getting even more important.
How do we concentarte in this environment? How can we excel in a few things or should we choose to average in many things? How can we retain more in our little brain? How can we remember the scores of passwords for these cards and websites? I have discussed with many of my friends and colleagues, received great advice from Gurumaa and many experts on the web, and experienced many techmiques myself. It boils down to the following:
1. Yoga and Meditation
2. Master a few techniques
3. Create good habits and
4. Eat good food and natural supplements.
Yoga and meditation:
The best way to increase your concentartion is being doing Puja, Path, Japa , Yoga and Meditation, preferably every morning. Early morning is the best time for your brain, and you need to nourush your brain by having some quiet time for yourself. You can indulge in prayers (Puha/Japa) or just some self-contemplation time. You need to organize your thoughts, and if necessary make a list of things to do for that day or the week. Yoga definitely helps. Start with Pranayama exercise by focusing on your breathing. Listen to your breaths. Start breathing slowly. Inhale (counting 1 to 6), hold (counting 1 to 8) and exhale (counting 1 to 10) is the simplest breathing exercise you can do. The results are achieved best if you are in the 'Padmasana' posture, but you can do that even when you are relaxed sitting on the chair or in the train or in your car. Yoga postures which further help you in concentration are: Tree stand, Crane Pose, Seated Forward Bend, Camel Pose and Reclining Hero Pose. Head stand also helps in rushing blood to your brain, and improving your memory. I personlly go to Hot Yoga once a week which helps me immensely. Wish I could do it more times.
Master a few techniques:
I have come across many of my colleagues who do it much better than me. Some have mastered 'fast-reading', some focus only on a few insights (not more than three is a simple rule) and some assign a few hours of quiet time for themsleves at work to help them focus. I read an intersting article which gives the following FOCUS tips:
F or the FIVE more rule.
Push yourself to do five more - at work, read five more pages, at the gym, to run for 5 more minutes, when you are doing home work, let me do five more questions. Stretching yourself helps your attention span and builds mental endurance.
O or ONE think at a time.
Focus on one assignment or task at a time, and promise to get to the others only after you finish your ONE most important activity for the moment. List all your to-do's and prioritise them. I always have a list of things to-do for work, for VHI, for family, etc.
C or CONQUER procrastination.
Stop delaying. Just do it. Now. Train your mind not to procrastinate. Very soon, you will become more efficient.
U or USE your hands
I have not tried this yet. Cupyour hands around your eyes so that you have tunnel vision and look solely at your work or assignment. This will mentally or physically help you from wide-angle to tele-focus on one actiivity. Practice this often, and you will become a master.
S or SEE as if for the first
or last time.
Pay attention to the present moment, current activity or your most important priority. I saw my friend putting her child to sleep, but her mind was travelling elsewhere. She was not noticing her child at all. She was not enjoying that moment.
Create a few good habits:
1. Regular exercise
2. Socialize and learn to let go (without alcohol)
3. Recoqnise, respect and mange your stress
4. Keep your mind stimulated - by doing what you like doing best. I have just taken up painting again as it makes me happy. I play with colors, create good art and helps me channelise the right side of my brain.
5. I get bored easily, and so most students in subjects they are just not interested in. How can we motivate ourselves? Reward yourself for good behaviour. It works very well.
6. If you are too wired, then go for a run/swim or do some gym exercises (using your own body weight) to calm yourself before you do you studies or read your work papers.
7. Taking a power nap is very useful if you are dozing off anyway. But, a quick disciplined 20 minute power nap is all you need.
8. If you have too many things to do, then create a schedule for yourself - for the day, for the week and for the month. I alsways had a study schedule before every major exam, when I was a student. I still plan a list of activities for every week-end.
9. Sleep properly. Have a routine, a bed-time and a wake-up time. No television in the bedroom is very essential.
10. Play brain-games. Plenty of apps or websites have brain-games in many different interests or topics.
Food and natural supplements:
1. Have more of Antioxidants, which are very esssential in anti-ageing of brain cells. For example, pomegranate juice is very effective.
2. Have more of Omega-3 fatty acids. Vegetarians can have nuts, flaxseed or vegtarian supplements.
3. Ayurveda has many remedies too. Medicines like Brahmi, Ashwagandha helps memory. Drinking milk with a little bit og ginger on empty stomach also helps. Also, Ayurvedic medicines like Aravinda Asavam amd Saraswatharishtam twice ot thirce a day helps. Do consult your doctor before taking any supplements. Brahmi, in particular, has been found very beneficial in the treatment of anxiety, mental fatigue and to imrpove your memory and mental concentration.
4. Without having to mention, having natural fruits and vegetables is very important. Have high-protein foods.
5. Have almonds. Soak almonds in water overnight, and eat them in the morning.
So, it is a combination of above which will help you over a period of time. It will require focus and attention to help you get there!!