Concentration Exercises for Training and Focusing the Mind

Concentration Exercises

Concentration exercises sharpen the mind and improve the ability to concentrate.

In this article, you will learn a few concentration exercises. These mental exercises will strengthen your mind’s power and improve your focus and attention.

The Power of Concentration

Sharpening the needle of concentration requires practice, like everything else in life.

Do you go to the gym? If you do, how many times a week and for how long?

Have you studied a foreign language? If you did, how long did you practice until you had a basic knowledge of the language?

It is the same with developing your concentration. You need training and practice. Even practicing concentration exercises for ten minutes a day will do you good.

Your mind does not like discipline and will resist your efforts to discipline it. It loves its freedom more than anything else and won’t let you master it.

It will make you forget to practice the exercises, tempt you to postpone performing them, or make you feel too lazy. Your mind will find many tricks to occupy your attention with something else.

The choice is yours, to be mastered by the mind and its whims or to be its master.

Practicing Concentration Exercise Helps You Realize You Are Not Your Mind

What is concentration? It is sustained attention, The ability to command your mind and mental focus.

Oxford Learners Dictionaries define it as: “The ability to direct all your effort and attention on one thing, without thinking of other things.”

Below are a few simple concentration exercises. By practicing these mental exercises, you train the mind, learn to master it, and put it in its proper place as your servant rather than your boss and master.

The following statement might seem strange: You are not the mind or thoughts that pass through it.

Though it might be hard to accept this idea, the mind is not you, the real you, but only a tool you use. It is a valuable instrument, but it has to be taught to obey you.

Most people believe they are their minds and erroneously believe that controlling the mind means holding themselves back and denying their freedom. They feel that controlling their mind is not natural and that it is some sort of repression. These beliefs are not correct.

The proof that we are not the mind comes with training. Accept the idea in theory, and as your control over your thoughts grows, you will know it as a fact.

In reality, you, the real you, are the one mastering your mind. It is not the mind mastering itself.

Advice for Practicing the Concentration Exercises

How to improve concentration?

  1. Find a place where you can be alone and undisturbed. If you wish, you may sit cross-legged on the floor, but most people would find it more comfortable to sit on a chair. Sit with your spine erect.
  2. Take a few calm, deep breaths, and then relax your body by directing your attention to it and relaxing each muscle from head to toe.
  3. Start with the first exercise. Devote to it 5 minutes each day. After one week of training, you may lengthen the time to 10 minutes.
  4. Practice only one exercise until you can do it without getting distracted or forgetting it and without thinking about anything else while practicing it. This might take days, weeks, and even more.
  5. Don’t be impatient; you do not need to become frustrated if you cannot focus. Just continue, and gradually, your ability will improve. You don’t have to be perfect; even partial success is a great achievement.
  6. Proceed to the next exercise only after you are convinced you have practiced it correctly and with a good or reasonable degree of concentration.

More Concentration Advice and Guidance

There is no set timetable since proceeding according to a timetable could be frustrating.

If, for example, I tell you to practice a particular exercise for a specific number of days, two things might happen. You might get disappointed, if you cannot get the desired concentration within the allotted time period. Or you might also proceed to the next exercise, without practicing correctly the previous one.

Mastering the exercises successfully can take days, weeks, months, or even more.

  1. Put your whole attention into the exercises, and do not think about anything else.
  2. Be careful not to fall asleep, daydream, or think about other matters.
  3. The moment you find yourself thinking about something else, stop the exercise and start again.
  4. After you become proficient, lengthen the time by a few more minutes, and if possible, include another session in the afternoon.
  5. Do not attempt too much at the beginning, and don’t try to practice everything you find here all at once. Go slowly, without overdoing anything or tensing your brain.

If you find it too difficult or discover that thoughts distract your attention and make you think about other matters, don’t despair. Everyone encounters difficulties along the way.

If you persevere and never give up, despite difficulties and disturbances, success will crown your efforts.

Remember, even those with powerful concentration had to exercise their minds initially.

It does not matter if your concentration is weak now. You can develop and strengthen it like any other skill through training.

In time, you will discover that you can concentrate on anything, anywhere, anytime, no matter where you are. You will be able to focus your mind, think, and function under the most trying circumstances while remaining calm, relaxed, and collected. The reward is worth the effort a thousandfold.

Now, let’s start with the exercises. After you are convinced that you are practicing each exercise correctly and with full attention, you should practice each exercise for one additional week for the full benefit.

Concentration Exercises

How to focus better? how to improve focus and concentration?

Exercise 1
Take a book, any book, and count the words in any one paragraph. Then, count them again to ensure you have counted them correctly.

After a few times, do so with two paragraphs.

When this becomes easy, count the words of a whole page. Do the counting mentally and only with your eyes, without pointing your finger at each word.

Exercise 2
Count backward in your mind, from one hundred to one.

Exercise 3
Count in your mind from one hundred to one, skipping each three numbers: 100, 97, 94, etc.

Exercise 4
Choose an inspiring word or phrase or just a simple sound, and repeat it silently in your mind for five minutes. When your mind can concentrate more easily, try to reach ten minutes of uninterrupted concentration.

Exercise 5
Take a fruit, an apple, orange, banana, or any other fruit, and hold it in your hands.

Examine the fruit from all sides while keeping your attention focused on it. Do not let yourself be carried away by irrelevant thoughts that might arise or thoughts about the grocery where you bought the fruit, how and where it was grown, its nutritional value, etc. Stay calm, ignore, and show no interest in other thoughts.

Just look at the fruit, focus your attention on it without thinking about anything else, and examine its shape, smell, taste, and the sensation it gives you when you touch it.

Exercise 6
This is the same as exercise number 5, only that you visualize the fruit this time instead of looking at it.

Start by looking at the fruit and examining it for about 2 minutes, just as you did in exercise number 5. Then, close your eyes and try to see, smell, taste, and touch the fruit in your imagination. Try to see a clear and well-defined image. If the image becomes blurred, open your eyes, look at the fruit briefly, and then close your eyes and continue the exercise.

You may imagine holding the fruit in your hands, as in the previous exercise, or imagine it standing on a table.

Next 5 Concentration Exercises

Exercise 7
Take a small, simple object such as a spoon, a fork, or a glass. Concentrate on one of these objects. Watch the object from all sides without any verbalization, with no words in your mind. Just watch the object without thinking with words about it.

Exercise 8
You can try this exercise after becoming proficient with the exercises mentioned above.

Draw a small triangle, square, or circle about three inches in size on a piece of paper and paint it any color you wish.

Put the paper with the drawing in front of you, and concentrate your whole attention on the shape you have drawn. For now, only the drawing exists for you, with no unrelated thoughts or distractions.

Keep your attention on the drawing and avoid thinking about anything else. Do not strain your eyes.

Exercise 9
Start the same as number 8, but after looking at the drawing for a moment, close your eyes and visualize it with them closed. If you forget how the drawing looks, open your eyes for a few seconds, look at it, and then close your eyes and continue with the exercise.

Exercise 10
The same as number 9, but now visualize with your eyes open.

Exercise 11

This is the last focusing exercise in this article.

Try to stay without thoughts for at least five minutes. Do this exercise only after you have successfully practiced all the previous ones. If you practice the preceding exercises correctly, you will be able to impose silence on your thoughts, even if this is, at first, just for a short while.

Mental Practice Is the Secret of Success

The more time you devote to the exercises, the faster you progress, but you should do it gradually. Start with five minutes, and increase the time as the exercises become easier and your ability to concentrate improves.

When you start seeing results, you will begin to love the exercises. You will be able to concentrate on anything you want to concentrate on easily and effortlessly.

  • Do you jog, exercise at the gym, or study a foreign language?
  • How difficult it was when you first started?
  • How many times have you wanted to quit?

Despite the difficulties, you started to like what you were doing after a while. It became a habit and did not require special effort. So it is with developing the power of concentration.

After some practice, concentrating and focusing will be easier, and your mind will learn to be calm and relaxed. People, circumstances, and events that used to agitate and anger you will not disturb you, and you will experience happiness and contentment.

The concentration exercise will also help you gain self-confidence and inner strength, and to be able to cope more easily and efficiently with the outer world.

You will feel a new form of consciousness growing in you, bringing you peace of mind. At first, you will experience it sporadically and briefly, but it will grow and fill you in time. You will be able to make the mind work for you efficiently and silence it when you want.

After your concentration gets stronger, your attitude and reactions to events and people will change. You will become more calm and confident and discover many things about the mind, how it functions, and how to use it efficiently.

Resources on How to Improve Concentration

More information:
The Power of Concentration

The Power of Concentration Book:
Focus Your Attention – By Remez Sasson

Related Articles:
Concentration and Multitasking
Concentration – What Is It?
The Importance of the Power of Attention

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