We’ve all experienced that midday lull in concentration- rereading the same sentence three times while images of tonight’s dinner keeps meandering to the forefront of your mind; when focusing on the task at hand seems utterly insurmountable. But why does this happen? Can we improve this deficiency of focus?
Changes in focus throughout the day naturally occur due to physiological fluctuations. Chemical messengers such as acetylcholine and dopamine often play a role in varying concentration ability.
While fluctuations will occur, overall concentration can be improved through the following five methods:
1. Cognitive Exercises
Your mind is a muscle. Like all other muscles, in order to be strengthened and nourished it must be exercised. The prefrontal cortex in particular is primarily responsible for deciding which stimuli will receive attention. Therefore, when trying to improve concentration it’s imperative to activate the prefrontal cortex.
Luminosity and other applications offer trainings targeting the relevant regions, utilizing working memory and other challenging cognitive tasks. Regular practice with such programs has been linked to improved daily attention and memory.
2. Get Enough Sleep
The average amount of sleep needed for proper brain functioning is between 7 and 8.5 hours. With adequate sleep, your brain activity shows normal wavelength frequency and amplitude and can execute necessary processes.
When sleep deprived, your mind’s functioning is severely impaired. Brain wavelengths tend towards slower, infrequent waves, briefly mimicking sleep (1). In this phase, standard communication within your brain is disrupted, causing drowsiness, inattentiveness and other cognitive deficits.
3. Try These Foods
Certain foods have been identified to further improve concentration capabilities. Many of which contain the nutrient choline. Choline aids in the production of acetylcholine, an essential neurotransmitter involved in vital communications of the central nervous system. Choline additionally maintains structure of cell membranes, promoting cell survival.
Foods containing choline include: egg yolks, peanut butter, beef salmon and cauliflower. Additionally, other foods such as blueberries, avocados and turmeric have been determined to decrease cloudy thinking through antioxidants, promoting blood flow and protection from oxidative stress.
4. Try Citocoline
Citocoline is a naturally occurring compound transferred into a supplement. Upon ingestion, it raises levels of two essential neurotransmitters involved in attention: dopamine and acetylcholine.
Dopamine is correlated with reward and motivational processes. When activated, its release is associated with pleasure, and the behavior initiating it’s secretion is thusly reinforced. The prefrontal cortex responds to dopamine by focusing attention to stimuli triggering release of the transmitter.
Acetylcholine is implicated in learning and memory. Research has demonstrated that bursts of acetylcholine in the frontal lobe result in increased attention (2).
Citocoline heightens the activity of these two neurotransmitters, thereby enhancing attention.
5. Consume Moderate Doses of Caffeine
Caffeine is a stimulant that in small doses can have powerful, healthy effects. Found in sources including: coffee, green tea, black tea, and chocolate, caffeine mimics the actions of endogenous transmitters that activating your prefrontal cortex.
Numerous other valid methods for improving concentration currently exist beyond these 5. Incorporating one or more of these into your daily routine can yield powerful benefits and additionally prevent cognitive decline. Moreover, these 5 tips offer more advantages than increased focus alone.
Boost Mental Energy & Focus
Discover how just one glass a day of NeuroActiv6 can increase focus, clarity, and mental energy.Learn More >>