In this age of information and distractions, focus plays an important role.
The more focused you are the more productive you will be and you can get more things done in less time without getting tired.
The short answer to the question can mindfulness increase focus and concentration will be a Yes.
There are many studies to support this. Some of them even indicate an increase in the grey matter after mindfulness practice over a period of time this was seen through various brain scans.
But how does mindfulness help in increasing focus?
If you have ever practised mindfulness meditation you may have experienced sometimes after a session you feel very focused and in the present moment.
You can see very clearly through things.
If you have never practised mindfulness. It’s basically observing/seeing whatever is happening as it is without any pressure, judgment or reaction.
It’s an effortless, choiceless practice.
You can be mindful of your sounds, thoughts, feelings and sensations. You can practice it anytime. You can even practice walking mindfulness.
If your mind is agitated, lost in thoughts or you may feel lazy sometimes.
It’s like muddy water if you don’t do anything and just watch the water for some time the mud will settle down and water will be crystal clear.
The more effort you put to clean the water the more time it takes for the mud to settle down.
So simply be an observer and let it happen!
Here are a few points on how mindfulness helps in increasing focus
1. Increases your ability to come back to the present moment
Mindfulness can help you to be in the present moment. Even if you practice 5-10 minutes a day and most the time your mind drifts to thoughts, feelings or outside noise.
There are a few seconds in those 10 minutes when you are completely grounded in the present moment.
And as you practice mindfulness regularly
This time increases and eventually practising the right way it starts to change the habit pattern of your mind and you start to remain more in the present moment even when you are not practising sitting mindfulness.
2. Helps in reducing stress
Mindfulness can help a lot in reducing stress. Judgment and reaction to a situation thought belief can cause a lot of stress and a stressful mind is less focused.
The whole practice of mindfulness is to see things as they are and accept the reality as it is without adding anything to it or removing anything from it.
But seeing reality as it is can be really difficult sometimes but when you keep doing it makes your mental muscles strong.
Eventually helps you in reducing stress and letting go in your daily life. Which improves concentration and ability to focus.
3. Helps in Attention Deficit Disorder
Researchers in Harlem did experiment with children with special needs and found an interesting insight.
By just learning simple breathing technique the children were calmer and focused then they were before.
Mindfulness can help tremendously with attention deficit disorder and help you be more equanimous when worldly problems come your way.
4. Helps in de-cluttering your mind
Sometimes you may feel jumping from one thought to another and then another. Without having a sense of control.
Mindfulness gets that control back to you now when thought train arises you have a choice not to react but just see it like a flowing river.
Eventually, mud settles down and you have a clear mind.
Practising regularly can make this process automatic and you will start to get control whenever you drift away.
5. Helps Preserve the Aging Brain
According to a study from UCLA long term meditators had very well preserved brains when compared to non-meditators.
People who have been meditating for 20 years had more grey matter volume throughout the brain.
The younger your brain is the more focused you can be. Also, it can help with memory.
Now that we know mindfulness has such a profound impact on focus, concentration and memory.
How you can practice mindfulness to increase focus?
1. Sitting Mindfulness
You can sit in a comfortable posture and close your eyes.
Closing eyes reduces contact from outer world so it becomes easier when you are starting to be mindful.
After closing your eyes start to feel your breath.
Don’t worry if you are unable to feel your breath at all. You can take a few intentional breaths.
So that you start to feel your breath. And then let breathing happen naturally.
Be like a gatekeeper on your nostrils.
The breath has started coming in coming in and then stopped coming in now it starts moving out.
Notice the gaps between inhale and exhale.
Make sure you are breathing through your nose with mouth closed.
Also, feel the touch of the breath try to notice breath is coming from the right nostril or left nostril or both nostrils.
If your mind wanders away don’t worry. Just be mindful of it.
And then again start observing your breath as it is.
2. Walking mindfully
Walking mindfully can help you cultivate patience and reduce stress.
Which leads to an increase in focus and concentration. Here is a complete guide on how to practice walking mindfulness
3. Eat mindfully
Eating mindfully can help you be in the present moment also helps you enjoy your food better.
Just be mindful of food touching your hands, mouth, tongue and complete process of moving your mouth and eating food.
4. Mindfulness in daily life
Try to make mindfulness a part of your life it will give very good results in the long term.
Be mindful of your actions, thoughts, feelings and body whenever your can be.
Our goal is to be mindful always not just when we are sitting with closed eyes in a particular posture.
Mindfulness can help you improve your focus and concentration this is what various studies show. Also, you will start to experience it when you start to practice. The practice is the only way to get fruits from mindfulness. Keep trying and learning. Be happy! Be peaceful!