Are you aware of the Wanderlust of Mind? Attending too many things at a time does give pseudo-accomplishment, but largely affects the concentration span of your mind. I call this Sporadic Attention. And prime Scintillating factors are none other than our Mobile Phones, Laptops, iPads and plethora of Digital devices we encounter.
Instant gratification, Virtual ease of access- studded the mind with too much information and a false sense of accomplishment. Scrolling, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, all the way down, in a sense of getting a reward (In terms of Photo, video etc.) and ended empty handed, is what experience every day.
A recent study by Microsoft Corporation has found this digital lifestyle has made it difficult for us to stay focused, with the human attention span shortening from 12 seconds to 8 seconds in more than a decade.
Researchers in Canada surveyed 2,000 participants and studied the brain activity of 112 others using electroencephalograms (EEGs). Microsoft found that since the year 2000 (or about when the mobile revolution began) the average attention span dropped from 12 seconds to eight seconds. This is even less than notoriously ill-focused Goldfish, which is 9 secs.
The digital age is an age of distraction, and distraction causes stress and weakens concentration. Concentration, as the philosopher William James argued in his classic 1890 work Principles of Psychology, is the most fundamental element of intellectual development. He wrote:
The faculty of voluntarily bringing back a wandering attention over and over again, is the very root of judgment, character, and will. An education which should improve this faculty would be the education par excellence.
In the digital age, it seems the ability to stay focus is now a superpower. A weaker attention span could be the side effect of the brain having to adapt and change over time in the presence of technology. However, there are ways to improve our attention span amid the ongoing texts, tweets, and other interruptions.
1. Drink More Fluids
A 2012 study published in The Journal of Nutrition found mild dehydration can cause you to lose concentration. It is imperative to stay hydrated even when you don’t feel thirsty. Men should drink 13 cups of total beverages a day while women should drink nine cups, according to the Mayo Clinic.
A 2013 study published in the journal PLOS ONE found increasing your fitness level can do wonders for your attention span. Men who were part of a Spanish cycling team responded seven percent much faster than the less fit group in a computerized task. Exercising the body is exercising the brain.
3. Avoid Electronic Devices
A 2013 study found an office worker gets only 11 minutes between each interruption, while it takes an average of 25 minutes to return to the original task after an interruption. It’s better to give a task a dedicated time slot to solely focus on your work and ignore the irrelevant. Technological devices that are within reach can easily lure you into decrease your attention span.
And now congratulate yourself for concentrating long enough to make it through this article.
And In the Last…
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