Sunday, 22 May 2016

Concentration - The key to a perfect memory

How concentration can lead to an enviable memory

We often hear people complaining that they cannot concentrate. Concentration is indeed a very important part of our lives. However, we often misinterpret it. So I will dedicate this issue to what concentration is and how it can be perfected so as to result in a perfect memory.

Concentration means focusing, when you fix your entire mind and attention on any particular subject. Though it is true that today the mind is constantly getting distracted all the time, yet it is also a fact that we all possess concentration. In fact poor concentration is a myth. This will be clear if you analyse this example.

Hasn’t it happened with you that someone was busy telling you something but you were too busy in thoughts of your own and you did not hear even one word? This is concentration and you have to agree that you have a strong one or else how could you have not heard when a person was sitting in front of you and speaking to you. But as I said we do get distracted at times and concentrate on things that are not to be given importance to at that moment.

I will provide a checklist that will help to keep your concentration focused. It is quite easy. The answer to perfect concentration is the acronym ‘ANSWER’, in which each letter signifies an aspect of perfect concentration.

‘A’ stands for “Asking the right question”. We often drift and lose concentration when we fail to ask the right question to our brain.

I am sure that it has often happened with you that you have been disturbed while studying because someone has turned on the television in the next room. At such times you fail to concentrate. But if you study the situation, you will find that you are actually distracted by the questions you ask yourself about the sound. You ask, “Who is so stupid to turn on the TV while I am studying? Doesn’t he know that I have a test tomorrow? Should I ask him to turn off the TV?”

It is only when you ask these kinds of questions that your concentration fails you. Try to ask questions related to your study at such times like, “How many questions have I memorised? Should I write down the main points from memory once, and so on?” You will find that your mind will not deviate.

‘N’ stands for “No to worries”. Remember that the biggest enemy of concentration is worry, and a worried person can never concentrate. But how does one avoid worries? They come naturally. Well, worries too can be controlled if we check certain attributes:

i) Eyes - If we are worried our eyes tend to look downwards. So when you feel that you are worried, immediately look up. Do not let your eyes look down and worries can never capture you.

ii) Voice – A worried person always speaks in a sad lifeless voice as if he is burdened with all the miseries of the world. So if you feel worries overwhelming you, just check your voice tone. Turn it into a jovial one or you may even sing a song to lift your mood.

iii) Eating – When the mind is worried, a person has a tendency of skipping food, as he knows that food will energise him and drive away his worries. So if you feel worried, munch something and see it drive your worries away.

iv) Movement – Remember that worries always breed inside a stationary bodies. So if you want to drive away the worry, immediately engage in some physical activity like going for a brisk walk, physical exercise or even dancing.

v) Breathing – Breathing always becomes shallow when one is worried. So to avoid worries, take a deep breath every time you feel worried and it will disappear. Thus if we check our worries we can check loss of concentration.

‘S’ stands for ‘State of the mind’. Concentration has a very direct link with the state of our mind. I will explain this with an example. Suppose there is a particular lady in your neighbourhood whom you do not like. One day your cricket ball enters her garden and when you go to collect it, she scolds you very rudely and throws a bucket of water on you. A lot of people see you and you feel very insulted.

Now when you go back home in the evening will you be able to concentrate? Definitely not. You will run and rerun the insult in your brain and get increasingly disturbed. Naturally your concentration will fly out of the window. What to do? If I advise you to forget it, that will be wrong because our brain is not capable of deleting. We can however always replace.

So if you wish to get back your concentration you have to edit the video that you are running in your mind. You can see that as soon as your ball enters her garden, the lady jumps out of her window like a monkey and comes in front of you.

As she scolds you her tail waves behind her back. Her nose changes colour like a rainbow and her teeth fall out one by one. Then she puts her tail inside the house and brings out a bucket. But when she throws it on you, lots of chocolates fall out of it instead of water. Once you have edited your video, see it twice. Will you feel disturbed now? Of course not, you will enjoy it and you will find that your lost concentration will return.

In this way we can control our state of mind and consequently our concentration also.

‘W’ stands for ‘Water intake’. If there is one thing that can be called the elixir for the brain as well as the body, it is water. Water refreshes and recharges our brain. So we should drink plenty of water. In fact, while studying, drinking water at an interval of 50 minutes recharges the brain. Similarly, two glasses of water at the beginning of the day charges us up. However, we have to keep in mind that water should be taken either one hour prior to or one hour after a meal, for it otherwise dilutes the digestive juices and hampers digestion.
‘E’: stands for ‘Eating habits’. As far as food is concerned the best food that can boost the brain and provide concentration is glucose. This can be obtained from fruits as they contain fructose. So make it a point to have at least one serving of fresh fruit in a day. However, remember that fruits always get digested in the small intestine while other foods get digested in the stomach. So if we eat fruits with other food it will get trapped and by the time it reaches the small intestine it will get spoilt. So, when you eat fruits, take nothing with it and nothing one hour before or after it. This will help you to extract maximum nutrition from the fruit consumed.

‘R’: stands for ‘Revision’. However hard we study and whatever memory techniques we apply, we have to revise. But revision too has a scientific process. The first revision should always be after 24 hours, the second after seven days, and the third after one month.

Once done, it will ensure a perfect memory and release you of the tension and worry that we normally face when exams are round the corner and that act as enemies of our concentration.

So now I have provided you with a checklist that will help to improve concentration and in turn help you to possess that superb memory that will be your pride and the envy of … you know who!
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