Boost your brain power from these exercises of Yoga
3 concentration-boosting tricks
One at a time
Long celebrated as an efficient time-saving skill, the latest research has revealed that multitasking can be quite the opposite. A recent study in theJournal of Experimental Psychologyfound juggling jobs can increase the time it takes to solve a difficult problem by as much as 40%. Far from speeding your work progress, then, flitting between different priorities can significantly slow you down. And it corrodes intellect, too. Researchers at London's Institute of Psychiatry found persistent interruption through emails and phone calls can reduce IQ by as much as 10 points the equivalent of losing a night's sleep. Learn to ignore distraction, build concentration and get the job done quicker using these simple drills.
What to do
At first, attempt the following concentration exercises when feeling alert and in a location with no possible distractions. Then, as you improve, try them while the radio's blaring or when feeling exhausted or stressed.
1. Eyes on the spot
Fix your eyes on a small object ideally a two-inch diameter black spot, which (unless, of course, you're melanophobic) should have no connotations your brain can be distracted by. Try to leave aside all other thoughts, focusing entirely on the spot. Doing this for just three minutes a day will start flexing your ability to concentrate. Should your girlfriend intrude, simply inform her you've created a black hole in the wall using solely the power of the mind. Tada! Distraction dismissed.
Progression:Develop the practice by drawing a square around the dot in your imagination. Concentrate on the space between the imaginary square and the dot at all times shunning any digressive thoughts.
Why do it?To triumph in tedious meetings.
"Like any exercise, physical or mental, this takes time to become familiar with and to get the most out of it," says Harriet Griffey, author ofThe Art of Concentration. "But it will ensure that when you do have to concentrate in a lengthy meeting, for example, when your thoughts tend to wander your ability to do so should improve."
Wait until the second hand of a clock reaches 12 and see how long you can follow its movement around the face before a distracting thought intervenes. Something as brief as three seconds is a very good start. Every time a mutinous synapse fires up stop and wait until the hand reaches 12. Then try again.
Progression:Once you are able to focus exclusively on the hand for 30 seconds, close your eyes (still concentrating on the hand in your mind) and only open them if a digressive thought arises. Greater awareness of the noise around you makes this more difficult but, through practice, you should steadily become more adept at filtering out any distractions your mind throws up.
Why do it?To stay sharp when moving on to your next task.
"This exercise provides a mental 'time out', as well as allowing you to improve focus," says Griffey. "It's much harder than it first appears irritatingly so but give it time because, once learnt, it's a useful way to quickly refresh your brain between tasks." Think of it as the F5 key of the mind.
3. The numbers game
Beginning with the number 1,000, count backwards in your head in sevens. You'll probably find this difficult and frustrating at first but should gradually improve.
Progression:Switch the number you're subtracting from sevens to, say, eights or elevens. This ensures you are actively doing the maths for every number rather than simply reciting from memory.
Why do it?To learn how you learn
"If you are a visual learner, you may find you need to actively 'see' the numbers in your head to do this," explains Griffey. "If you're an aural learner, you may find yourself saying the numbers out loud." Different concentration styles work in different ways. Find out what works for you then apply it to work tasks.
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