The brains of human beings are questing, curious things, and it’s only natural that our minds wander from time to time.
Sticking to a task for an extended period of time isn’t something the neurons in our brains are good at doing, with recent studies showing that they can only function with their own energy for 12 seconds before needing to refuel, which leads to a loss of focus and competing demands for our attention.
However natural this might be, having a wandering mind still causes problems for us, and researchers have found that regularly losing concentration has a negative impact on mood.
Luckily, there are steps you can take to limit the times your mind wanders off on its own, so doing something like adding a deliberate distraction – like putting on some instrumental music in the background – can get rid of the space in your head for other distractions.
In the same way, giving yourself daydream breaks can also help you be more focused when you need to be, especially if you use the time to do something productive like using a brain-training app or even doodling.
A major cause of wandering minds can be the things that stress us out, so try to clear your mind of these things using visualization techniques, leaving you free to concentrate on what’s important.
Caffeine can be a useful tool for staying focused, as studies have shown that it increases physiological arousal, making you less likely to be distracted, though of course, making yourself frequent cups of coffee can be a distraction in itself. Chewing gum can work well too, especially spearmint flavor.
Breathing techniques and meditation are also good ways to exercise your mind by cleansing distracting thoughts, and you can add in a naam yoga hand practice to really increase your mind’s focus.
When these techniques fail and your mind does start to wander, be sure to notice that it is happening and try to identify common triggers for it, which will help you avoid it happening as much in the future. Just noticing it is normally enough to get your mind back on track.
Hopefully these will help you start to get control over your wandering mind and find the discipline that is currently lacking, and you can find out more from this infographic from On Stride Financial.
If you can stay focused long enough to take it all, of course.