Improving Concentration and Focus Holistically
Concentration is the power to stay focused on one task at-hand and it’s the ability to stay in the present moment.
We often try to complete many tasks in one day and make our day very busy. When the list is long and we want to accomplish it all, we try to multitask. Multitasking is a great skill when used occasionally but nowadays we are constantly multitasking. This slowly takes away the ability of our mind to stay focused on one task.
Our mind gets used to doing one task while thinking about the other task that was supposed to be done and we jump back-and-forth between many thoughts. We might think multitasking helps us get things done quicker but in the long run it slows us down. We have more effective results by completing one task at a time.
What causes a lack of concentration?As we age it becomes more difficult to filter out stimuli that are not relevant to the task at hand," says Dr. Kirk Daffner (Daffner, 2020), a neurologist and director of the Center for Brain/Mind Medicine at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital. There are many causative factors to consider such as inflammation, high blood pressure, build-up of abnormal proteins, and naturally occurring brain shrinkage.
- Underlying conditions – depression, sleep disorders, vision, or hearing loss.
- Medication side effects – medications for incontinence, depression, or allergies can slow the brain’s processing speed and your ability to think clearly.
- Excessive alcohol - impairs thinking and causes interrupted sleep, which affects concentration.
- Information overload – constant information from media, texts, or emails creates an overload of incoming sensory stimuli.
Strategies that help improve concentration
- Mindfulness – focusing your attention on the present moment with meditation and breathing exercises.
- Cognitive training - cognitive training games help improve your response and attention span.
- Sleep - regular 8 hours of sleep helps reduces stress by reducing stress hormones and proteins that build up and are harmful to the brain.
- Exercise – regular exercise of at least 150 minutes per week reduces stress and improves overall circulation.
- Diet – foods that reduce inflammation support brain health, the Mediterranean-style diet is a good example.
What can I do to improve my concentration?
There are many simple things we can do throughout the day to improve the ability to concentrate and keep the mind focused and calm. Both breath work (pranayam) and an amazing ayurvedic herb called Brahmi can do exactly that.
Pranayam is a form of breath work that is found in the ancient yogic tradition from India. There are a few types of breath work that can be done for just about 3-5 minutes a day.
Brahmari, or bumblebee breath work, provides great results in improving focus. This can be done by anyone regardless of their age and is safe and effective. It is important to follow the guidelines if anyone has any health conditions under the supervision of an Ayurvedic doctor or an Ayurvedic practitioner. It is recommended to do this breath work up to seven times in one sitting and can be done two times a day. Once the breath work is completed it is very important to keep your eyes closed for a couple more minutes and let the mind and body absorb its full benefit.
What is the proper technique for Brahmari pranayam?
Learn all about Brahmi
In addition to doing breathe work, we can enhance our concentration by using an herb called Brahmi, also known as Bacopa monieri. It is a common herb used widely in Ayurveda and is known as a rasayana, which means it has anti-aging properties. It’s considered a brain tonic which helps improve brain functions such as memory, concentration, and cognition. There are many other benefits such as decreasing stress and anxiety.
Brahmi Oil can be applied before bed to the soles of the feet and the top of the scalp. (To avoid slippery feet or making a mess, it is important to wear socks for safety.) It is recommended to use the oil on regular basis for several weeks or longer for the best affect.
We recommend taking Brahmi Caps with milk to enhance the anti-aging properties. Brahmi with milk is a good combination, as they both offer cooling anti-aging properties. For pitta people who feel hot all the time, it is good to drink cold milk while taking Brahmi. For kapha or vata people who feel cooler, it is ideal to drink milk that is first boiled and then cooled to body temperature.
Another option for taking Brahmi includes Brahmi Ghritam (ghee) which offers an even greater rasayana or antiaging properties due to the higher fat content. Ghee is neither hot or cold and helps improve digestive strength for those who are weak.
Brahmi is a gentle herb and can safely be taken for one to two months, however, it is highly recommended if there are any health concerns or conditions to consult with your medical doctor before taking any supplements.
Daffner, D. K. (2020, October 1). Tips To Improve Concentration. Mind and Mood.
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Integrative Wellness Practitioner
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Kottakkal Ayurveda products and this information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease. If you have serious, acute, or chronic health problems, please consult a trained health professional. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained Ayurvedic practitioner or doctor, call (800) 215-9934 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will provide you with one of our affiliated Ayurvedic professionals. Check with your doctor before taking herbs when pregnant or nursing.