12 years ago the average attention span was 15 seconds. What is it to today? 8 seconds! This is according to a study carried out by Microsoft. The ability to concentrate and focus is hugely important for learning and in our work life and it’s declining. How can we improve this? Take a read of our 15 concentration exercises for students that will help boost your focus and allow you to hold your concentration for longer periods of time.
15 Concentration Exercises For Students
1) Counting exercise
- Count backwards from 100 to 1 in your mind. You can increase this to 500 or even 1000.
- When you have mastered the first technique you can make it more challenging by doing the same again only, this time, skip every fourth number.
- Begin by getting a book. This can be any book you like; it does not have to be any book in particular. For example, a novel or textbook would be suitable. Begin by choosing a paragraph and then count the number of words in that paragraph. Then count the words in the paragraph to ensure you have counted them correctly.
- You can do this a few times before moving on to the next paragraph. When you find this too easy move on to counting the words on the entire page or even 2 pages. You must do the counting without pointing your finger at each word i.e. mentally, only using your eyes.
2) Drawing & Coloring
They might sound like activities for children, but research has shown that coloring is almost as effective as meditation in improving concentration. This seems to be growing in popularity as several of Amazon’s best-sellers are adult coloring books. Other creative activities such as sketching, painting, or creating pottery, are also great for improving your levels of concentration.
3) the Eye to Eye Concentration exercise
This exercise is a little different. Stand in front of a mirror and make two marks, level with your eyes, that represent a person looking back at you. Try to maintain focus by staring at these marks without blinking or moving your head. Also, empty your mind of thoughts and try to hold complete focus on the ‘eyes’ looking back at you.
Breathe deeply and keep your concentration. It will break easily at first, but after some practice, you will be able to do this with full concentration for minutes at a time.
4) Being Present To Boost your Concentration
This technique involves a physical object such as a piece of fruit or furniture. For example, you could choose to use an apple or a chair. It involves taking note of its characteristics and texture. If you decide to use a piece of fruit you can hold it in your hand while examining it. As you examine it, keep your full attention on it, examining its shape, smell, feel and taste.
The goal here is to avoid your attention being taken away by other irrelevant thoughts and straying away from what you are trying to give your full attention too.
Another useful technique which is quite similar to that of the above is to visualize the piece of fruit rather than physically holding the fruit in our hand. Begin by holding the actual fruit in your hand for a few minutes and observing its shape, feel, smell etc. just like you did in the previous technique.
To make this exercise more challenging, close your eyes and try to imagine the taste, smell etc. Do this by trying to create a clear image in your head of the fruit. If the image becomes blurred or you find it too difficult to create the image in your mind just open your eyes again. For a few minutes, examine the piece of fruit and then try it again.
6) The Stillness concentration exercise
This technique involves finding a chair, preferably one that you find comfortable. You begin by sitting on the chair and trying to remain completely still. It may sound easier but it actually can be quite difficult. The technique essentially involves you focusing your attention on remaining completely still and ensuring that you are not making any involuntary muscular movements.
With this exercise, it is best to start off with a target of 5 minutes and gradually increase the time to 15 minutes. This is a great way to relax the entire body.
7) Complete Relaxation
This exercise will allow you to fully relax, starting from within, and moving outwards. Lie down somewhere you will be comfortable and will find it easy to relax. Now focus on your heartbeat only, listening to it beating. Start to visualize your heart pumping the blood to all areas of your body. Imagine the blood entering your heart, moving through the chambers, before exiting to move around the entire body.
With practice, you will begin to feel the blood moving in the areas you are focusing on.
8) Inspiring Mantra
Another method for improving concentration involves finding a quiet area and then choosing an inspiring word or phrase and repeating it silently in your mind for a few minutes. You can set yourself targets of five minutes, to begin with. As it gets easier try to increase your target. The aim is to achieve a solid block of uninterrupted concentration.
9) The Shape Method
Draw a small triangle, square, or a circle on a piece of paper. This can be about three inches in size, and then color it any color you desire. Place this paper with the drawing in front of you, and concentrate your whole attention on the shape you have drawn without any distracting thoughts.
If this becomes less challenging for you, you can make it more difficult by closing your eyes and trying to visualize what you have drawn on the piece of paper. Again if you cannot see it clearly or it becomes blurry just open your eyes and concentrate on the image for a few minutes before trying again.
10) Still Waters concentration exercise
Take a glass and fill it with water. Then hold the glass out in front of you. Focus your eyes and attention on the glass while keeping your arm steady. Try to keep your arms so steady so that no movement becomes noticeable. You can try this for one minute on each arm and gradually increase the time as you improve.
Meditating is a good way to train your mind and enhance your attention. When meditating you watch your breath, by simply observing it rather than attempting to control it. Be aware of your body as you are breathing in and again as you exhale.
Meditation teaches you to focus your mind on one thing at a time and allows you to move into a more relaxed and peaceful state. Trying to learn when you are stressed is counterproductive thereby learning how to meditate can help ease you back into the right mind frame.
Your mind will become recharged and greatly enhances creativity.
It is a good habit to meditate at least once a day, even if this is only for 3 minutes. Your attention is like any other muscle the more you do it the stronger it will get and your ability to focus on other tasks will greatly enhance.
12) Emptying the Mind
The following technique involves sitting for a few minutes without any thoughts. You can begin initially by trying to achieve a period of five minutes and gradually increasing the period.
This exercise can be quite difficult and will require some getting used to. But with sufficient practice, it can be mastered and will become easier. It essentially involves silencing all thoughts and can be a great way to enhance concentration levels and train our brain to focus efficiently.
13) Focus Gazing
Get a chair and sit on it with your head up, chin out and shoulders back. Then raise your right arm up to the level of your shoulder, pointing to your right. Moving your head only look around and fix your gaze on your fingers. While doing this you should keep your arms still for one minute.
14) Sound Focus
Our lives are filled with different sounds and this exercise allows us to use them to increase our levels of concentration. Focus on a specific sound completely for 30 seconds. Then switch to a different sound and focus on that for another 30 seconds.
Continue switching sounds every 30 seconds and focus on it fully. This exercise allows you to train your mind to focus on one thing completely and to ignore other goings-on around you.
15) Calm Waters
Put a glass of water on the table. Then sit next to the table and observe the water in the glass and how calm it is. As you are doing this picture yourself becoming as calm as the water. The key to these concentration techniques is to practice them frequently. The more you practice them the easier they will become and your attention will get stronger and stronger.
Improving your concentration takes time. Practice these 15 concentration exercises for students daily and watch your focus improve and your ability to fight distractions strengthen.
If you liked these concentration exercises for students, check out our post on how to focus better, boost concentration and avoid distractions to really excel at rebuilding your memory muscle and succeed in your learning.