Posts published on May 7, 2018
By Kari Oakley
Studying means have focused attention for the task, but it seems that distractions abound to divert our concentration. Knowing a final exam is coming up, but finding your attention and focus diverted because of social media, random thoughts, stress, anxiety, or even daydreaming, can be frustrating. Here are some hacks to help sharpen your focus and get your studying done.
1. Proper Nutrition
There are many foods available which enhance concentrations. Some studies show that snacking on walnuts may bring your grade up. Walnuts are also credited with improved information processing, concentration, and memory.
Another food that will help improve cognitive skills are avocados. A higher level of lutein levels in the brain due to avocado consumption assist with focus, information processing ability, and fact retention.
Some other focus-friendly foods are eggs, flax seeds, fish, leafy green vegetables such as spinach, blueberries, and thankfully, dark chocolate.
Besides targeting cognitive skills with specific foods, it is also helpful to maintain a healthy overall diet. Eating as clean as possible is advised. Watch labels carefully for what is put in your food. Search out food that is not processed and has healthy additives. For example, using a food that has carrageenan is a healthy choice because it is used to enhance your food without any negative impacts on your health. Bad additives, such as hydrogenated oils, which are linked to heart disease, can have an adverse effect on your overall health.
2. Get Up and Move
Studies have shown that good physical health can improve your mental acuity. Exercising can improve your concentration and focus.
Try working out for 20 minutes to a half out before you enter into an intense study session. Improving blood flow to your brain will promote better concentration and retention. Exercise also releases endorphins which calm your brain of anxiety. This will help you to be less stressed, and able to focus on studying.
You don’t have to engage in a high impact exercise to reap the benefits. There are many enjoyable activities to engage in before studying such as biking, walking, yoga, or swimming. Low impact exercises done for 20 to 30 minutes reap the same boost in attention, focus, and cognitive abilities while studying.
Another exercise, or movement to do every so often is to wiggle your toes. In this day and age of constant updates on our devices from work or social media, our brains and bodies are used to a certain level of excitement. To help promote that without the distraction of the internet, frantically wiggle your toes to help refocus your brain when your mind starts to wander.
3. Tailor Your Environment
Depending on where you are, you may have full or partial control over your study environment. Even with partial control, there are steps you can take to make your study space conducive to focus and retention.
One aspect of your environment you can control is what you are listening to. Research shows that studying while listening to classical music may boost your productivity. It can also boost your mood, and may even improve accuracy and efficiency.
Another focus-friendly sound is the sound of nature. If classical music puts you to sleep instead of sharpening your focus, try some natural sounds. Studies have shown that these sounds also help with concentration and cognitive abilities.
On the theme of nature, it doesn’t hurt to add some greenery to your study area. Some studies have shown that having plants in a study and workspaces have enriched attitudes, which in turn, increased cognitive abilities, focus, and efficiency.
Finding a place for study can sometimes be a challenge. Maybe you study best in a quiet library. Or perhaps you study better in a coffee shop where your brain processes the din of customers chatting as white noise. Wherever you study, make sure it is optimal for promoting focus and concentration.
ari Oakley is a fitness trainer from Kenosha Wisconsin. She now lives in downtown Chicago, and loves to get out. She is a big fan of anything adventure, and loves getting a workout in the outdoors.
Kari Oakley is a fitness trainer from Kenosha Wisconsin. She now lives in downtown Chicago, and loves to get out. She is a big fan of anything adventure, and loves getting a workout in the outdoors.
BY KATE LARSON
Procrastination is the bane of many students. Whether it’s social media or our friends, there’s always something lurking around the corner waiting to distract us from our studies.
In light of this, we’ve come up with a simple guide on how to overcome five of the most common interferences.
Stick with these solutions and you’ll spend less time scrolling through your phone and more time achieving the grades you deserve.
1) Study Buddies
The idea of a study buddy comes with good intentions. After all, it’s nice to have someone to drag you along to the library when you least feel like it.
Unfortunately, a study buddy is very often a friend, which means a living, breathing distraction is likely to be sitting directly beside you.
One way to overcome this issue is to set group goals before you start a study session. If you’re both clear on exactly what you want to achieve, you’ll find you’re less likely to “play up” before you’ve reached your goals.
It’s also wise to reward yourselves for reaching a target. It’s up to you to decide what bonus you’ll receive for your hard work but even something as silly as a small candy can help to do the trick.
Being in a relationship during university has its benefits when it comes to studying. A partner, for example, is likely to have a far more positive influence on your final grades than, say, a party-loving best friend.
On the flip side, a relationship is never going to be plain sailing. You can read all the relationship advice in the world but there is always going to be a few bumps in the road that will distract from your studies.
Learn each other’s timetables. If your partner, for example, has a full day of classes on a Monday, then it’s entirely logical to put aside the Sunday evening as your “study night” (and no, that’s not a euphemism).
Likewise, if you both have a day or two during the week when you’re not so busy, make sure you spend that time together.
3) Social Media
It’s hard to imagine life before social media. It’s arguably now the biggest distraction college students face on a day to day basis.
Whether it’s scrolling through endless photos on Instagram or going on a liking spree on Facebook, it’s easy to become hooked without even realizing.
Delete all of the social media apps on your phone a week before a big exam or deadline. Yes, it’s a drastic step to take, but going teetotal is the only realistic way of removing yourself from temptation.
Once you’ve completed your exam or handed in your work, simply re-download the apps and log back into the online world.
4) Nights Out
There aren’t many worse feelings as a student than sitting in the library at ten o clock at night knowing full well that your friends are out partying.
“What am I missing out on?” is the first thought that comes to mind, and it’s a hard one to shake. That’s not good if you need to give your full concentration to a textbook.
Always have your long-term goals written down somewhere so that you can re-read them in times of social despair. Remind yourself of why you’re at college/university in the first place, and think about how much of a positive benefit your decision to study could have on your future.
It’s also imperative to make sure you turn off your phone. If your friends are anything like mine, they’ll be ringing/texting continually to try and persuade you to come out, so try to remove that temptation from the equation.
You’ve probably heard of the likes of Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, and The Walking Dead, right? These absorbing shows have us hanging onto the edge of our seats with every plot twist and character death.
Nearly every episode finishes on a gripping cliff-hanger, making it almost impossible to turn off. Unfortunately, cliffhanging endings and studying are a recipe for disaster.
Common sense prevails here, folks. Never start watching a TV series when you have a deadline approaching. Doing so is like choosing to carry a sofa across a frozen lake; it’s going to end badly.
If you have a Netflix subscription, try cancelling it for a month when you have a particularly heavy workload. Fewer distractions mean you’re more likely to spend your spare time revising.
Kate Larson is a college student and aspiring blogger, who has a strong interest in the environment and personal well-being. She enjoys travelling and reading, as well as writing novels.