Daily habits for focus are how you can exercise the most important muscle in your body: your brain. Do you need help focusing? The following suggestions will help you learn how to focus and attain more clarity in your life.
Daily habits for focus
Reduce smart device distractions
Turn off your cellphone and smart devices, especially when working. Attention is a limited resource and smart devices take up an average of 2.1 hours a day. It also takes about 25 minutes to return to your original task after a distraction. Reducing smart device distractions is challenging to stick to because social media and other apps are highly addictive. So, if you can turn off your phone for a set amount of time per day, you may be able to increase your focus.
Spend more time meditating
And less time on streaming apps like Netflix, Hulu, HBO and STARS. These apps encourage binge-watching, watching episodes after episodes of programs over a short succession. According to a study by Deloitte Consulting LLP, over 70 percent of U.S. consumers and more than 80% of Millennials binge-watch TV shows with an average of five episodes per marathon session.
On the other hand, mindful meditation reduces the "fight or flight" part of the human brain – the amygdala. Reducing activity in the amygdala allows the prefrontal cortex to regain control, allowing people to focus their attention and manage emotional reactions.
Researchers at the University found that regular aerobic exercise appears to boost the hippocampus's size, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning. Increasing the size of the hippocampus improves memory and, thus, will help with focusing.
Drink plenty of water
According to Psychology Compass, your brain is 85% water, so it needs water for hydration. A water-deprived brain loses focus. Paying attention becomes difficult. Plus, it can cause headaches, sleep disturbances and even depression.
Eat brain-healthy foods
Eat foods rich in flavonoids such as blueberries, grapes and kale. Flavonoids activate an enzyme that stimulates blood and oxygen flow to the brain, helping your memory, which may help you gain more focus.
Put the fat back into your diet. Avocados are a great source of monounsaturated fats. These healthy fats aid in the production of acetylcholine, the chemical responsible for memory and learning. Avocados are also rich in Tyrosine, Vitamin K and Folate. These help you stay motivated and more focused, as well as allowing your memory to remain on point.
Don't forget the leafy greens. According to a recent study published in Neurology, these vegetables contain ingredients that accelerate the connection between neurons, improve your mood, slow down brain aging, and sharpen your memory.
Take a power nap
According to a study published in the American Geriatrics Society Journal, napping for 30 to 90 minutes promotes better memory recall. However, naps longer than 90 minutes can interfere with cognition. It's a great way to press your brain's reset button, allowing neurons to make new connections and helping you solve creative problems.
Reach out to your family and friends on the phone or with video conferencing tools like Zoom, Facetime or Skype. A 2017 study by researchers at the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease Center of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine found that individuals 80 and above with the mental agility of 50-year-olds all had one factor in common: a close-knit group of friends.
Laugh it up
If we all made it a habit to laugh more, the whole world would be a better place. Research at Loma Linda University in Southern California indicates that humor can improve short-term memory in older adults. Laughter increases endorphins production. It also changes brain wave activity, which enhances memory and recall.
Practice, practice, practice
Any good habit will take time to adopt. Practicing the development of your mental focus is no exception. Do you need help focusing on good habits? Try incorporating one or two new practices into your life at a time. It will challenge your brain, develop your ability to focus and concentrate and keep your brain healthy.
Frequently asked questions
Is focus a habit?
Focus is the accumulation of many habits built up over time. To be in the practice of focusing, you must first decide what you want to focus on. Try making a list of 25 goals you want to achieve. Then, narrow it down to five.
What can help with concentration and focus?
Mindfulness meditation has proven to be an effective way to help focus and concentrate because it forces you to focus your attention on the present moment. For example, researchers in Harlem found that a classroom of children with special needs, including Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), became calmer and more focused when they learned a simple breathing practice.
How to improve focus and concentration
Stop trying to multitask. It slows you down and makes you less productive. Instead, focus on one single task at a time, also known as "single-tasking." Once you finish one single job, take a meaningful break before starting the next task.
How can you maintain your focus?
Ditch the distractions. Turn off the cellphone and social media. Research has found that, on average, we switch between apps and websites more than 300 times a day and check email or chat every 6 minutes.
To sum it up
By implementing these simple daily habits for focus, you can help keep your brain young and healthy. If you still need help focusing, try focusing on something for just a few minutes, then take a short break. It can be something as simple as a breathing exercise. Lengthen the time of focus as you work on this new habit. Be sure to also drink plenty of water and eat brain-healthy foods. These crucial habits will further build your focus and concentration.