In this blog, we will take a look at the importance of focus and attention span for students, the obstacles they face, along with meditation benefits for students, and how it can help them improve their focus and powers of concentration.
Challenges for the Modern Student
Student life in the modern world can be difficult to navigate. Children are often judged severely for their academic performance, and a highly competitive environment only amplifies the constant pressure to perform. And in 2020, the pandemic has presented students with a whole new set of challenges.
UNICEF data estimates that nearly 463 million students worldwide lack the necessary technology for remote learning, and that around 1 billion students are at risk of falling behind due to school closures. Meanwhile, a survey of American university students found elevated levels of stress and anxiety among 71% of respondents.
And then there’s the biggest challenge of all – focus. The aforementioned study of American students also found that 89% of them had faced trouble concentrating on their studies. Coupled with the mind’s natural tendency to wander, it’s perhaps unsurprising that this is proving to be a significant challenge for so many.
When attempting to battle all the hundreds of constant distractions in the world around them, and improve their focus and concentration, students are encouraged to look towards meditation and other similar concentration tips to help them cope.
What are the different meditation benefits for students?
There is already plenty of research that highlights the impact that meditation for focus can have on our attention spans. This makes it an especially effective tool, and can provide a number of benefits for students to help boost their focus and powers of concentration:
The effect of breathing on neurophysiology
Our powers of focus and alertness are regulated by a neurotransmitter called noradrenaline. It is essentially a chemical release that occurs when we feel curious, focused, or emotionally excited. If produced at the right amount, this chemical can help produce new neural connections in the brain.
A study conducted at the Trinity College of Neuroscience found that our attention spans are directly influenced by our respiratory cycles. Researchers believe that by controlling our breathing patterns better through meditation for focus or rhythmic exercises, we can control the amount of noradrenaline in our brain, that can help to optimise our concentration, improve focus, and boost overall brain health.
Meditation for focus and Concentration
Studies have shown that meditation for focus and concentration, specifically techniques like Mindfulness and Breathwork, can help improve focus and increase powers of concentration, even in novices. Participants in the study, who had never meditated before, were made to listen to a 10-minute audio meditation, and subsequent tasks found measurable improvements in their accuracy and reaction times. This makes meditation for students a highly suitable option to improve focus, even if they have no prior experience with the practice.
Many students also operate on very tight schedules, with their days often packed with numerous activities, whether they’re studying from home or attending classes at their college. This makes the short time spans of effective techniques that much more useful. The numerous meditation benefits for students can be reaped with as little as 10 minutes each day, and they can find a way to make the time for a quick session, even in the busiest of schedules.
Combined with yoga for stress relief
Another significant challenge that faces students is the stress and anxiety that arise from an intensely competitive environment. Research has shown that a combination of yoga and meditation can play a significant role in helping to alleviate these symptoms of stress and anxiety among students. This combination of meditation and yoga can also help to enhance students’ mindfulness scores, further helping to boost concentration and improve focus.
Various yoga poses are also designed to help shake off feelings of lethargy that may accumulate in people, especially as a result of sitting in the same place for most of the day. This makes it an effective supplement to meditation for students, to help them fully reinvigorate both the body and mind.
Meditation for focus prevents mind-wandering
One of the most significant meditation benefits for students is its ability to increase stability in the ventral posteromedial cortex – the portion of the brain linked to mind-wandering. The human mind has a natural tendency to wander and lose focus at the slightest hint of external sound or stimulus. Researchers believe this is rooted in evolution. When our ancestors were hunting, they had to develop a keen sense of hearing, to listen for any potential dangers around them, and this appears to have carried forward to the present day.
In the modern age, with no end to the external stimuli, particularly from various digital channels all around us, it’s only natural that our attention spans can waver very easily at the sound of a notification or a phone ringing. A well-regulated routine of meditation for focus and concentration can help students prevent their “monkey mind” from wandering, and enable them to stay more focused on the task at hand.
Useful Concentration Tips for Students
While meditation for students should undoubtedly be made a part of a regular routine, there are also a few handy concentration tips that can supplement this, and provide a sense of relief throughout the day.
- Put electronic devices away – While this will undoubtedly be a challenge when attending classes from home, they should try and keep phones away as far as possible while studying, to limit distractions.
- Pick a quiet spot – Noises outside the house can lead to a frequent loss of focus. Finding a quiet spot, preferably in a room with plenty of natural light, can help keep students more awake and alert during their revision.
- Stick to a routine – Habit-building is a big part of getting better at anything. By sticking to a regular routine, students can train their body and mind to get accustomed to studying at a particular time each day.
- Take breaks when you need them – Ultimately, it is impossible for anyone to study uninterrupted for hours on end. It can help to take short breaks when feeling overwhelmed, to go for a short walk, or listen to some music, before returning to the books.
While students undoubtedly face many challenges in the present academic environment, most of them out of their control, there are certainly steps they can take to make things a little easier. A well-structured routine which maximizes the meditation benefits for students can not only help improve focus and concentration significantly, but also help enhance their overall mental and emotional well-being.