How to improve YOUR attention span: Psychologist shares six simple tips, from turning off notifications to taking an hour-long screen break – and says you should NEVER multi-task
- London psychologist Aaron Surtees shares how to improve your attention span
- He says short attention spans can be improved by ditching daily distractions
- These include avoiding multitasking and turning off unneeded notifications
Want to improve your attention span? Then avoid multitasking, turn off unneeded notifications and ditch any technology for an hour, says a psychologist.
London-based psychologist and hypnotherapist Aaron Surtees has told FEMAIL the simple steps that will help Britons improve their alertness.
Instead of reaching for the coffee, he says short attention spans can be improved by ditching daily distractions.
‘Today there is a lot going on in people’s lives and it is in our mind’s nature to flutter from different thoughts, which can lead us to becoming unsettled. We can get bored very easily and struggle to stay focused,’ explains Aaron.
‘Our minds have become more distracted in recent years with studies showing our attention spans have fallen dramatically. The average human attention span now almost matches that of a goldfish.
‘A switch in a person’s mindset can help to slow down thoughts and instil focus and clarity. There are several practical tips you can enforce immediately.’ Here, he reveals his top six…
Want to improve your attention span? Then avoid multitasking, turn off unneeded notifications and ditch any technology for an hour, says a psychologist (stock photo)
Turn off unneeded notifications
Aaron, head of clinic at www.cityhypnosis.com and founder of Subconciously.com app, says: ‘Firstly, our phones are one of the biggest distractions, so do something about it by managing the device to get it to work for you, and not the other way around.
‘Turn off as many notifications as possible. You may feel you need to check every alert notification that pops up, but you don’t. The constant distractions will only make you will feel restless and fatigued.
‘It will also excel your stress levels because you are not focused on your current task leading to a poor attention span and anxiety.’
Self-hypnosis at home to calm your mind
The expert says: ‘Achieve calmness in your mind with hypnotherapy and meditation. You can try this at home by using proven self-hypnosis techniques to re-wire your subconscious mind with a simple technique:
‘Try by dedicating 10 to 20 minutes every morning to slow breathing exercises. Sit on the end of your bed each day and close your eyes. Breathe deeply and calmly, in through your nose and out through your mouth, and focus on slowing down your mind. Imagine stillness and calmness.
‘Imagine the feeling that is concerning you as a cloud in your mind and with your breathing pull it down into your heart, into your chest and then into your stomach. Then focus on pushing it back around into your arms.
‘Once in your arms use your breathing to pull the cloud down to your hands and then push the cloud out of your hands as though you are pushing the feelings away and letting go of the feeling.
‘Even brief meditation and self hypnosis can have great value in improving your attention span.’
Ditch all your technology for an hour each day
‘Don’t go over the top but for one hour every day you should have “me time” where your phone, laptop, iPad or TV is out of sight,’ suggested the expert.
‘Simply move away from the area and enjoy life without any distractions around. This can be as simple as cooking dinner and being social in the kitchen, reading a book or going for a walk.
‘You will boost your attention span and your mental well-being instantly’.
Quit social media for three days during every holiday
‘This is the minimum amount of time that you will feel any form of benefit,’ insisted the psychologist.
‘Feelings of envy, body hang-ups and FOMO can shorten your attention span as you worry and stress over one thing after another, especially if content is triggering on any level.
‘Constant scrolling can sharply reduce our attention spans and make us feel fatigued and low in energy.
‘Try this simple yet highly effective technique on a weekend especially bank holidays when you might be off work for the full three days and notice how your attention span has increased post the detox.’
‘We may be proud that we can master a number of tasks at once but you are not doing your attention span any favours,’ says Aaron.
‘Multitasking and switching between different tasks will actually make you confused and open to errors as your brain is slowing down to try and work out the tasks in front of you.
‘If you focus on one task you will finish the task quicker and more often, correctly. You might think it is a good to multitask but it can play havoc on your attention and make the situation worse.’
Set your alarm to take regular computer breaks and look outside
‘Spend less time on your computer and mobile phone. It is very important to take a break from your PC every hour,’ says Aaron.
‘A good tip is to set your alarm when you are working away, as it is easy to get carried away and spend all day without moving. Every hour set your alarm for a 15-minute break.
‘Step outside, stretch your legs and look around at your surroundings. You will be calmer, think with more clarity and be more focused and less stressed.