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tips-for-teachersOriginally posted on educatedrooster.com.

We encourage you to share these tips with your colleagues and students.

Improve Your Memory and Concentration: Sit in Silence or Strike a Pose

In today’s world people are inundated with different activities that promote multi-tasking. When our brain is forced to complete multiple demanding tasks simultaneously, the results may not be as productive as we expect; poor performance, reduced productivity, increased errors, which cause stress and anxiety are just a few examples of negative effects of multi-tasking.

When we force ourselves to constantly switch gears while multi-tasking, it limits our ability to concentrate and retain memory because the brain has cognitive limitations.1 The brain performs better when it works in a sequential manner. Completing one task at a time and keeping tabs on where you stopped before starting a new task are good examples of doing things in a methodical way.

Breaking the habit of multi-tasking can prevent us from slowing down, losing focus, and placing unnecessary stress on our brain.

There are different avenues that one can choose to improve the ability to retain information, and improve focus and concentration. High on the list are yoga and meditation.

Meditation is the practice of putting oneself in a state of silence to achieve calm and peace. This technique directs our attention to one thing at a time and help to stop the mind from straying.

Meditation trains the mind to effortlessly go back to your thoughts when it starts to wander. Therefore, with meditation, you learn to control your thoughts and ignore distractions. An effective method is to close your eyes while focusing on your breathing or repeating a mantra. Gazing at a focal point is another helpful technique; for example, a flower, a candle or a rock.

Try this:

Sit in a chair or on the floor with your legs crossed
Maintain your posture
Close your eyes and breathe normally
Concentrate on your breathing
When your minds starts to wander
Go back to your breathing and concentrate on it
Start meditating for 10 minutes
Gradually extend the length as you get used to it
Practice meditation preferably in the morning or at night
Choose what time is best for you

Moreover, yoga is an excellent form of exercise that helps improve memory and concentration. Classic yoga postures such as the Tree Pose and Warrior III, for example, require one to maintain mental focus and total concentration to be able to perform the exercise; otherwise, you lose focus and balance.

Try this:

Stand straight with your feet together
Let your hands hang on your sides
Inhale
Slowly place both palms of your hands together at chest level
Bend your right leg
Place your foot on your inner thigh or side of your knee
Hold the pose for 15- 30 seconds while gazing at an object
Return to starting position
Repeat the pose on the left leg

Breaking a habit takes time and so does learning a new skill. Practice Meditation or Yoga for 15 minutes every day and build up from there. You’ll be amazed to find improvements on your memory and concentration. Try it yourself and see.

1Women’s Health Magazine; 2011

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