With the advent of the internet, we have thousands of things to distract us on a daily basis. Phones give us full access to the internet at any time in our daily lives, from waiting in line for coffee to being stuck in traffic. There’s no room for peace and quiet in our busy lives, and it’s natural to find our attention span slipping as we deal with the deluge of information thrown our way. Thankfully, there are ways to combat that. Here are some we’ve found to be very effective in our own lives.
10 Ways To Increase Your Attention Span:
1. Turn off the phone.
This is going to be controversial, but bear with me. Don’t let your phone control your life. If you find yourself picking it up at your kid’s birthday party, at dinners with friends, or during a one on one conversation with your significant other, something might need to change. Turn it off or shut your notifications off and tune into life. Also if you’re seeing the world through your phone camera instead of actually seeing the world, you might need to reevaluate your phone usage.
2. Get plenty of sleep.
We know, you just wanted to watch one more episode. With artificial light, Netflix, computers, and games, it’s nearly impossible to get a good night’s rest. But sleeping is incredibly important for your mental health as well as your physical health. If you’re not catching enough Z’s focusing is going to prove really difficult. Make sure you turn off all lights in your house, and try not to stare at the phone or TV before sleeping for a more restful night.
3. Embrace the quiet.
We all love music, and the more extroverted of us need to hear something at all times to be happy. But a little bit of silence in your day can help you master your thoughts, reorganize your goals, and can contribute towards a healthier mental landscape. If you’ve ever had that feeling of chaos and jumbled thoughts in your head, you might need a few minutes of silence. Instead of listening to music on your drive home, try taking a few minutes of silence instead. Don’t worry, you can still drive while meditating.
4. Read a book.
Reading used to be one of my favorite things to do. I still love to read, but with more stimulating options out there like movies, shows, games, and short articles on the internet, I find myself going to novels less and less. This isn’t a good thing. Books force your mind to focus on a long and often complicated plot which your brain has to follow through to the very end for it to make sense. Nothing is better for enhancing your attention span. So next time you’re bored, try picking up a book instead of the phone.
5. Go on a walk.
Walking might not be the most strenuous exercise in the world, but it can still do wonders for your health, both mentally and physically. Try to focus on every sound on the walk, as well as every detail of your walk. Walking can be like a moving meditation for those of us that have issues staying still.
6. Actively listen.
If you’re a passive listener, chances are you don’t have a ton of people asking to talk to you. Passive listeners are kind of like talking to a brick wall, as you get no feedback from them. The bad thing is, most of us are becoming more and more passive. After all, scrolling through Twitter and Facebook is the most passive listening experience available. But we’re missing out on human connection when we listen passively. The next time you talk to a friend of loved one, really tune into everything they say, and work to contribute towards the conversation. Your attention span and your relationships will thank you.
7. Be bored.
It’s okay. Really. We know you want to whip out that phone in the line at Starbucks, but do you really need to? Sometimes being bored is part of life, and you’d be surprised at how quickly your imagination fills in the gaps of activity. If your imagination doesn’t turn on that quickly, then you need this boredom more than we thought.
8. Enjoy nature.
Nature was the world’s first TV, after all. Go on a hike or spend some time out in the park, and take mental note of every smell, sound, and sight you see. This has the added benefit of teaching you active listening if you go with a friend, or grabbing that coveted quiet time we all have such a hard time with. Killing multiple birds with one stone and all that. Except don’t kill birds maybe.
No, texting doesn’t count. Neither does a long post on Facebook about your political leanings. Take some time to write something in long form, whether it’s a blog post, a review, an opinion piece, or even fiction. Nothing quite forces your mind to focus for an extended period of time like writing, and your brain and imagination will thank you.
10. Be present.
Limit your screen time. Make sure you’re really ‘there’, whether that’s at work, school, home, or anywhere else. If you’re traveling, enjoy the sights through your eyes instead of your camera. Live in the moment instead of in your news feed.