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Concentration strategies for students

Here's a wonderful tour de force on Concentration that's written for students and which includes tips on identifying distractions as well as a useful list of techniques for putting your attention where you want it to be and keeping it there.

A few I liked:

  • At the beginning of a study period, spend a few minutes to calm and relax your mind and body. (Try 'Focus on Your Breath' exercise, below.)...
  • Do not tell yourself off or tell yourself to concentrate. When you are thinking about not concentrating, you are not concentrating....
  • If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by all the things you have to do in your life, remember that you can only do one thing at a time...

We have lots more here on battling distraction, including this excellent essay on "good" distractions by Paul Ford.

susanpb's picture

"eerily" like meditation instruction

I'm a meditation teacher and the instructions in this article about how to concentrate are wildly similar to instructions for cultivating mindfulness. Sit, relax, bring attention to task (or, in meditation, breath), when attention wanders bring it back (gently), etc. No different than meditation instruction.

The steps are universal.

Sit + relax: allows energy to flow freely in the body; conjures sense of innate elegance--always a good start.

Bring attention to task/breath: synchronizes mind and body (which are usually going in two different directions. This synchronization = relaxation. Literally. Relaxation isn't spacing out. Absorption is a more accurate definition. No?

When the mind wanders bring it back: this simple instruction is the foundation of excellence. Seriously. The ability to focus and relax AT THE SAME TIME are what makes great athletes great, enables amazing musicians to rock deeply, and, for all of us, can provoke outside-the-box creativity.

Easy to say "just bring attention back," but not to easy to do. Takes practice. Hence meditation is known as a practice. Even just 5-10 mins/day is good.

If I blabbed on, excuse. This is my favorite topic.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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