OK, we’ve all experienced this problem before. We begin to do something and suddenly our mind goes blank, nothing, one big zero. Lack of focus is not unusual but for some people it can become a serious problem in their lives. There are many reasons that we sometimes have trouble concentrating including being tired, being bored with the task at hand or simply having too much on our plate at one time. The list is endless but regardless of the cause of our wandering minds there are a few simple tricks that we can try. As simple as they may seem, they actually work for most people.
A recent study performed at the University of Michigan revealed that simply taking a 50 minute walk and then returning to the task at hand can actually improve our ability to concentrate considerably. The most interesting point to note is that people that walked in “nature” actually showed a 200% improvement beyond those whom walked through a downtown area. The reason for this is actually quite simple. It’s all about “clearing the mind” by eliminating as many distractions as possible while removing yourself from your all too familiar surroundings. I’ll bet this is something that our grandparents knew long before any studies were done on the subject.
So what if you don’t have an hour to spend waltzing through the local park or there’s a blizzard outside? Believe it or not the same study actually revealed that even staring at pictures of nature for 10 minutes is more beneficial to regaining your focus than actually walking through a downtown area! By now many of you are probably thinking “Oh, come on Val, you can’t be serious!” Well I am serious and believe it or not, this does actually help.
The secret is simple really. By slowing down the thought process and making the mind as “blank” as possible for a period of time we are able to focus much better afterwards. There are a million ways to do this and we’ve all done them before without realizing that we were doing it. Haven’t you ever left a noisy area for a few minutes just to “collect your thoughts” or taken a trip to the water cooler to get away from your desk for a few minutes? This is no different really; it’s just a way to give your brain a break and a little time to “regroup”. Think of it as rebooting your computer when all else fails. Regardless of the technique, getting away from something for a while will give you new perspective when you come back to it and allow those creative juices to begin flowing again. Still not convinced? Try it!