Can This Ancient Art Teach Us How To Improve Concentration?

How to Improve Concentration…  Learn Mindfulness.

Mindfulness Exercises and IQSince I started using mindfulness exercises, I’ve personally noticed a few changes in my ability to grasp new concepts and learn new things, and hold my attention, or concentrate on subjects for far longer than I could previously. Certain things that were difficult have become easier. For example, in high school, algebra gave me cluster headaches… well, not really, but those classes certainly made my life hell. Granted, I never really learned the order or operators, and that screwed me up, but I just couldn’t focus for long enough periods of time. I wasn’t attention deficit, but it was just completely frustrating.

Fast-forward to now, and I can do algebra pretty easily. Not only that, but I find relatively difficult concepts come easier to me these days. It’s strange, but cool. If I have trouble understanding something, I can practice certain mindfulness exercises for a few minutes, then hit it again. Nine times out of ten I’ll make good progress in understanding it. Freaky…

A Study on Mindfulness and Music Appreciation

I came across an article today that lends credence to my experience. Apparently, mindfulness practice has been found to enhance musical appreciation by enhancing attention and focus. This is one study, but it’s pretty cool…

…In a study appearing online ahead of publication in the journal Psychology of Music, he (researcher Frank Diaz) reports a rise of focused engagement for student participants who listened to a 10-minute excerpt of Giacomo Puccini’s opera “La Boheme” after listening to a 15-minute recording of a segment produced by the Duke University Center for Mindfulness Research….In this case, listeners were reminded to focus on physical sensations or their breathing if their attention drifted….

…The study, he said, has potential ramifications for music education. “Attention can be modified,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be done chemically or by changing the environment. Human beings have the capacity to learn to self-regulate their attention, and when you do that it increases the quality of typical, everyday experiences… We really found significant increases in the participants’ aesthetic and flow experience…

[Source]

This is a seriously interesting study with some enlightening ramifications. While focused on music appreciation, this study shines light on the potential use of mindfulness in learning and education.  If practicing mindfulness can enhance focus and increase attention, it can have the potential to revolutionize education.  I encourage you to read the full article.

I’ve definitely witnessed first hand how mindfulness techniques have improved my own concentration and focus.  It’s been profound at times. Learning how to improve concentration doesn’t have to be some clinical and sterile activity.  We can learn mindfulness and reap the benefits of improved concentration as an added bonus to other benefits.

I often wonder what this practice could do for kids if taught early on.  I wonder how different the world could be?  

Maybe like this:

I get ahead of myself and mindfully bring myself back to the present… Let’s practice mindfulness and learn how to improve concentration as an indirect result, among many other benefits.

If you want guided all-day active mindfulness, check out this very inexpensive course on Udemy. I bought it and have been through it, and it's good.

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