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The Art of Focus: How to Maintain Your Concentration in 2021
The Art of Focus: How to Maintain Your Concentration in 2021

The Art of Focus: How to Maintain Your Concentration in 2021

Do you stick to the same routine day in and day out? Maybe you wake up, eat breakfast, scroll through your social media feeds, go to work, eat lunch, answer emails, commute home, make dinner, veg. on the couch, and slide into bed with a new book.

Sometimes we can get so accustomed to our routine that we find ourselves easily distracted. Likewise, the same can be true when we’re overstimulated and bombarded with things to do and people to see. 

Before we know it, we’re staring off into space or browsing the web looking at pics of cats in bowties instead of preparing for the next day’s board meeting. Although you may not always be able to pin down what’s distracting you, there are a number of ways to improve and sustain your concentration, starting with nootropics.

The art and science of staying focused

What is concentration?

The American Psychological Association (APA) defines concentration as “the act of bringing together or focusing, as, for example, bringing one’s thought processes to bear on a central problem or subject.”

How many times have you tried to reply to an email or focus on a TV show, only to find yourself scrolling through your Twitter feed or shopping online for something you likely don’t need? 

Many of us are so busy every day that we’ve learned to multi-task rather than devote our attention and energy to a single task at any given time. Replacing our lack of focus and concentration with multitasking could, unfortunately, lead to a lack of motivation, burnout, and fatigue.

Some of the most common symptoms of being unable to concentrate include:

  1. Unable to make a decision
  2. “Brain fog” or difficulty thinking clearly
  3. Mental and/or physical exhaustion
  4. Lack of focus
  5. Unable to sit still in one place for a designated time frame.
  6. Unable to complete a task you intended on completing
  7. Lack of follow-through on a task
  8. Short-term memory disruption

Why am I so distracted?

Countless physical, mental/psychological, social, or environmental issues could derail your focus and ability to concentrate short-term or long-term, depending on the issue. Here are a few examples of the different types of issues that could disrupt your concentration:

  • Psychological: Depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue; chronic or acute stress; excessive worrying; ADHD; dementia, Alzheimer’s disease
  • Medical/physical: Insomnia or other sleep disorders; physical illness, such as the cold, flu, COVID, etc.; migraines; gastrointestinal problems; epilepsy 
  • Social: Your partner/significant other is acting distant; you consumed too much alcohol; your best friend betrayed you.
  • Environmental: The temperature in the room is too hot or cold; a neighbour is blasting their music; the AC or heater is buzzing/humming; the sweater you’re wearing is itchy; you had a bad dream/nightmare.

Nootropics for better concentration

What are nootropics?

Whether or not you’ve heard of these “cognitive enhancers” or “smart pills,” you’re more than likely already familiar with them. A nootropic is a natural, synthetic, or prescription-controlled substance that may have a positive impact on your cognitive functioning, mood, and overall stress levels.

If you feel you can’t function mentally or physically without your morning cup of coffee or tea, for example, that’s because the nootropic – caffeine – helps you feel alert, focused, and could even motivate you to tackle your plans for the day.

Research shows that nootropics not only can boost your concentration, but they can also help tackle several underlying issues that are contributing to your lack of focus: insomnia, anxiety, depression, etc.

What else can I do to improve my concentration?

Any number of internal or external factors can interfere with your ability to concentrate. In addition to incorporating a nootropic into your health regimen, here are a few lifestyle changes you could make that may keep you focused and on task, among other benefits:

  • Practising mindfulness will help you retrain your thought process to focus on the present moment or task at hand.
  • Try to get six to eight hours of sleep every night.
  • Limit your alcohol intake, as it can disrupt your sleep cycle and negatively impact your ability to concentrate.
  • Stay hydrated. Dehydration can cause sleepiness, fatigue, etc.
  • Engage in physical activity for 30 minutes to one hour daily. 

Top 3 nootropics to improve focus and concentration

Bacopa Monnieri

    Sourced from the Bacopa plant that grows in tropical climates throughout India, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, and southern Africa, Bacopa monnieri (Brahmi) has been used in ancient Ayurvedic medicine for centuries to improve mental clarity and focus. Available in capsule, tablet, liquid extract, powder, and tea form. 

    Will it help me focus?

    Bacopa monnieri may improve our working memory, duration of focus, and overall cognitive functioning. It could even reduce symptoms of ADHD, such as impulsive behaviour and inattention, especially in children.

    One study indicates that Bacopa monnieri may improve cognitive performance, including mental clarity in healthy, elderly patients.

    Dosage and safety recommendations

    There is no official recommended dosage. On the other hand, the average effective dose can range from 200mg to 900mg daily.
    If you’re pregnant or nursing, note there isn’t enough research to determine if this is safe for the woman, fetus, or infant. Also, if you suffer from a thyroid condition, consult your doctor before taking Bacopa monnieri because it may increase your level of thyroid hormones.
    L-Theanine
    An amino acid comes from the Camellia sinensis plant and exists naturally in green tea, black tea, and several varieties of mushrooms. You can take L-Theanine in the form of a capsule or dried tea leaves steeped in hot water for a cuppa.

    Will it help me focus? 

    L-Theanine is unique because it can help your mind and body relax without making you feel sleepy. It may also reduce the symptoms of anxiety, help you sleep better, and it could play a role in attentional tasks.

    Dosage and safety recommendations

    Doses of 200 mg to 450mg daily are standard, whilst doses up to 900 mg for up to 8 weeks can be safe. If you are currently taking stimulants, be sure to consult your doctor before taking L-Theanine. 

    Also, if you plan to drink your L-Theanine as a tea, be mindful of consuming too much caffeine (any amount over 400mg daily).

    Vitamin B-12

    Found in many common foods, such as eggs, dairy products, fish, red meat, and nutritional yeast. Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) – is critical to multiple areas of our health, including the production and health of our red blood cells and bone marrow.

    Will it help me focus?

    Vitamin B12 has been shown to help prevent anaemia, boost energy levels, fight fatigue, stabilize your mood—among other issues that can interfere with your ability to focus or concentrate.

    One study reports that patients deficient in vitamin B12 may experience issues with concentration, “poorer learning ability,” memory issues, and overall cognitive functioning.

    Dosage and safety recommendations

    According to the Mayo Clinic, the recommended daily amount of B12 for adults is 2.4mcg. For vegetarians, vegans, and individuals older than 60, B12 deficiency may be more likely, so taking an oral supplement could help. 

    Certain medications for diabetes, digestion issues, gout, or even Vitamin C supplements could interfere with the absorption of Vitamin B12, so be sure to consult your doctor regarding any possible interactions before taking this supplement.

    Want to focus on feeling less distracted?

    Unfortunately, there are real-world consequences for getting distracted and losing our focus. We could fall behind at work, forget about a special occasion at home, or drop the ball on any number of obligations. 

    Even after making key lifestyle changes and assessing our home and work environment for obvious triggers, however, we may still feel as if our concentration is lacking, or worse, non-existent. 

    Earths Secret’s Calm Complex is an all-natural, GMO-free, and vegan-friendly supplement made of a combination of five natural nootropics and adaptogens: KSM-66 Ashwagandha, Holy Basil Leaf, Rhodiola Rosea, L-Theanine, and Black Pepper. 

    Devoid of preservatives and fillers, this complex can improve your focus and concentration while lowering your stress levels, and balancing your mood, allowing you to stay on track to pursue your goals.

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