5 Simple Ways to Boost Your Focus

5 Simple Ways to Boost Your Focus

Are you finding it harder to pay attention these days? You’re not alone. A study by Microsoft found that the human attention span has dwindled to just 8 seconds. That’s less than the 9-second attention span of a goldfish!

In part, you can blame our fast-paced, digital society for the dramatic decrease. With our phones, laptops, tablets, and digital personal assistants pinging and buzzing constantly, it’s nearly impossible not to get distracted.

That’s bad news for anyone who wants to succeed in life. Whether you’re working on a big project at work, developing a new product line for your business, or taking a professional course, concentration is key.

What can you do to regain your mental focus in the face of distractions? The first step is optimizing your brain, especially a region called the prefrontal cortex that’s heavily involved in focus, planning, and follow-through.

With our phones, laptops, tablets, and digital personal assistants pinging and buzzing constantly, it’s nearly impossible not to get distracted. That’s bad news for anyone who wants to succeed in life. Click To Tweet

WHAT IS THE PREFRONTAL CORTEX?

The prefrontal cortex (PFC) is the most evolved part of the brain. As such, it is essential in helping you reach your goals. The PFC is responsible for executive functions, which are higher-level cognitive skills.

These brain functions include concentration, attention span, judgment, impulse control, organization, follow-through, empathy, and critical thinking. This brain region controls your ability to look at situations, organize your thoughts, plan what you want to do, and carry out your plans.

When the PFC is healthy, it makes it easier for you to carry out these functions. When your prefrontal cortex is low in activity, it’s more challenging.

Functional brain imaging with a technology called SPECT proves it. At Amen Clinics, which has built the world’s largest database of SPECT scans, the images from tens of thousands of patients show that blood flow and activity in the prefrontal cortex are critical for focus.

Low blood flow and activity in the PFC are associated with difficulty concentrating, poor impulse control, disorganization, poor judgment and more. It is also a common sign of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), also called attention-deficit disorder (ADD).

People with ADD/ADHD also have lower levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine. This is linked to decreased motivation and focus. The good news is that you can boost activity in the PFC and improve focus and attention with some simple lifestyle changes.

Here are 5 neuroscience-based tips to enhance prefrontal cortex function to help you have better focus.

5 LIFESTYLE STRATEGIES FOR BETTER FOCUS

  1. Eat a diet that’s higher in protein.

Nutritional intervention can be especially helpful for this part of the brain. Unfortunately, the standard American diet is filled with refined carbohydrates, which have a negative impact on dopamine levels in the brain and concentration.

Typical breakfasts consist of foods that are high in simple carbohydrates, such as frozen waffles, pancakes, Pop-Tarts, muffins, pastry, or cereal. This drains the brain and reduces the ability to pay attention to what’s most important in your life.

Focus Rx: Choose foods that are higher in protein and lower in simple carbohydrates. This is especially important for breakfast to start the day with better focus.

  1. Listen to classical music.

Music has been proven to reduce distractions and improve focus. One study found that listening to Mozart was helpful for people with ADD/ADHD.

Rosalie Rebollo Pratt and colleagues studied 19 individuals, ages 6 to 27, who had been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. They played recordings of Mozart for them three times a week during neurofeedback therapy sessions.

The group that listened to Mozart reduced their theta brain-wave activity (slow brain waves that are often excessive in ADD/ADHD) in exact rhythm to the underlying beat of the music. This group displayed better focus and mood control, diminished impulsivity, and improved social skill.

Focus Rx: While studying or doing other mentally taxing tasks, turn on classical music in the background.

  1. Meditate or pray daily.

Most people think meditation helps you turn your brain off. In reality, it heightens activity in the brain, especially in the prefrontal cortex. Research indicates that both meditation and prayer improve blood flow to the PFC, which increases focus and concentration.

Studies show that even short sessions of mindfulness meditation improve attention. And you don’t have to be an expert at meditation to reap the benefits. In this study, beginners who listened to a 10-minute meditation session performed better on attention tasks.

Focus Rx: Spend 10-20 minutes a day in prayer or meditation.

  1. Focus on what you love.

The prefrontal cortex is intimately involved with focus, concentration, and attention span. Where we focus our attention has a significant impact on how we feel and act day to day.

Many people with prefrontal cortex challenges, especially those with ADD/ADHD, tend to be conflict-driven as a way to stimulate activity in the PFC. They look for the negative, pick fights, and create drama to “turn on” their brain.

Unfortunately, this behavior has many negative side effects, especially on relationships and immune system functioning. When you’re struggling with your relationships or physical health, it makes it harder to stay focused on your goals.

Focus Rx: Focusing on what you like about your life and about others is a powerful way to keep your prefrontal cortex, relationships, and immune system healthy.

  1. Do your best to stay organized.

People who have PFC difficulties often have trouble with organization. This can impact your ability to succeed at work, in relationships, and at home.

You might miss deadlines at work because you can’t find your files on your computer. You may irritate your significant other because you space out and leave the dirty dishes in the sink. Or you might forget to pay your bills because they’re hidden under a stack of junk on your desk.

It’s time to learn how to get organized.

Focus Rx: Day planners and computer organizational programs can be lifesaving. If you need additional help, ask others to teach you organizational skills.

STAY FOCUSED ON YOUR ABILITY TO PAY ATTENTION

Focus and attention are so important in life. Make it a priority to keep an eye on your ability to concentrate. By implementing the strategies in this blog, you’ll be better able to stay on track to reach your goals.

If you find that after putting these tips into action, you’re still struggling, seek help from a mental health professional. Be sure to look for a provider who understands that the brain’s prefrontal cortex is the key to improving focus and attention and who provides brain-based treatment plans.

ADD/ADHD and other mental health issues can’t wait. At Amen Clinics, we’re here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, clinical evaluations, and therapy for adults, teens, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.

6 Comments »

  1. Thank you for the great tips.

    Comment by Joan Pennings — December 13, 2017 @ 4:37 AM

  2. My grandson is ADHD and addicted to drugs. He did okay growing up with some out of the normal behavior. He’s 32 years old now and addicted to drugs with very bad behavior. Can you help us? Is there anything close to us in Greenville, South Carolina 29640? Reply please. Thank you

    Comment by Mary Myers — May 26, 2018 @ 7:08 AM

  3. Atlanta’s Amen Clinic is excellent. It is the closest to you

    Comment by Dale Ash — July 9, 2018 @ 3:28 AM

  4. ,after A head injUry from a bad fall, my vision was shaken. The right side of my face was damaged.
    When I close my left eye I manage better, as it is difficult to close my right eye. My vision looking
    Up is doubled. The Dr. Waited a while to prescribe new glasses, but they do not solve the problem.

    Comment by MaryAnne Evans — July 9, 2018 @ 6:03 AM

  5. I have been suffering from A D D all my and still have not been abled too fond help I feel like I am looking my mind. Can you help me ?

    Comment by PETER — August 19, 2018 @ 5:31 PM

  6. Thank you for information. How can I be assessed in Canada?

    Comment by Mersedeh Behrouzi — January 4, 2024 @ 12:46 PM

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