How to Use Meditation to Boost Your Focus and Concentration
"Pay attention." It's a reminder we've all heard countless times, from teachers, colleagues, family members, and friends. Some of us even say it to ourselves.
That's because attention naturally drifts, especially when you're stressed or tired. And that can make true concentration feel elusive, like an ability you have to wait around for.
But meditation can help you learn to direct your attention where you want it to go in any situation. And the more you practice training your attention during meditation, the more you'll be able to achieve mental clarity and focus when you need it most.
In fact, research has shown that regular meditation is key to improved focus and concentration. And if that’s got your attention, keep reading to discover why that's the case and to explore the best meditation techniques to help you improve your ability to concentrate.
How to Get Started with Meditation
Before you can meditate specifically for focus and concentration, you need to understand the basics of how to meditate more generally.
Determine and Schedule Your Meditation Routine
- Set aside a specific time each day for your meditation practice. The benefits of meditation are more dependent on consistency than duration, so even just five minutes is enough.
- Keep an open mind. Meditation can feel a little weird at first, but do your best to stick with it.
Create a Peaceful Environment
- Ideally, you can find a quiet and comfortable space to meditate in. But know that meditation can be done anywhere, including noisy environments.
- Use soft lighting and comfortable seating to help you relax more deeply, if possible. But again, don't stress if that's not an option for you.
- If you want, you can also consider using aromatherapy or soothing music to create a more peaceful environment.
Focus on Your Breath
- Use your breath as a tool to promote relaxation and focus.
- Focus on how your breath feels, paying attention to the sensation of the air as it enters and leaves your nose or mouth.
- If you'd like, you can think to yourself "in" each time you inhale, and "out" each time you exhale.
Seek Expert Meditation Guidance and Mentorship
- To grow your meditation practice, you'll likely want to find an expert meditation coach.
- You can go to an in-person meditation studio to find it.
- Or, you can download a high-quality meditation app.
Above all, remember that meditation is a personal practice, and it may take some time to find what works best for you. Be patient, and with consistent effort, you will experience the benefits of improved focus and concentration through meditation.
The 6 Best Meditation Techniques for Improved Focus and Concentration
Meditation is a powerful tool that comes in countless different forms. Here are some of the meditation techniques that are particularly beneficial for helping you improve your focus and concentration:
- Body Scan Meditation for Focus and Concentration
A body scan is a form of meditation that involves mentally scanning your body from head to toe, paying special attention to any sensations or areas of tension. It's a great way to improve body awareness and focus your mind on what you're experiencing in the present moment.
- Breath Counting Meditation for Focus and Concentration
Breath counting meditation involves breathing naturally and counting each of your exhales. The goal is to count up to a certain number, such as five, and then start over again. So on your first exhale, you think to yourself “one.” On the exhale after that, you think to yourself “two." Then "three" and “four," and when you reach "five," you start all over again with "one" on the following exhale. This technique helps train your mind to focus on your breath and stay present in the moment.
- Visualization Meditation for Focus and Concentration
Visualization meditation involves using mental imagery to promote relaxation and focus. It can be an effective tool for improving focus and concentration by providing a visual anchor for your mind.
Want to try visualization meditation for yourself? Follow these steps:
- Choose a calming setting, such as a peaceful beach or a serene forest.
- Close your eyes and imagine yourself in this environment.
- Focus on the sensory details of the scene, such as the sound of the waves or the rustling of the leaves.
- Allow yourself to become fully immersed in this mental imagery, using it as a tool to promote relaxation and focus.
- Mantra Meditation for Focus and Concentration
Mantra meditation involves repeating a word or phrase, like an affirmation, to promote relaxation and focus. It can be an effective tool for improving focus and concentration by providing a mental anchor for the mind. Here's how to choose—and use—a mantra:
- Choose a word or phrase that has personal significance to you, such as "peace" or “I’ve got this.”
- Find a quiet and comfortable place that’s free from distractions.
- Repeat the word or phrase silently to yourself, in pattern with your breath. For example, you might think to yourself "peace" each time you exhale.
- Allow yourself to become fully immersed in the mantra, using it as a tool to promote relaxation and focus in the moment and throughout your day.
- Loving-Kindness Meditation for Focus and Concentration
Loving-kindness is a form of meditation that involves focusing on feelings of love, compassion, and kindness towards yourself and others. Since feelings of anger and frustration can be significant sources of distraction, this technique can help improve focus and concentration by cultivating positive emotions and reducing negative ones.
- Walking Meditation for Focus and Concentration
Walking meditation involves walking slowly and mindfully, noticing your surroundings and using your senses to fully tune in to each sound, sight, and scent. It's a great way to improve focus and concentration while also getting some physical exercise.
Making Meditation a Regular Part of Your Daily Routine
To get the most out of your meditation practice, it's important to make it a regular part of your daily routine. Here are some tips for building a consistent meditation practice:
- Set a goal for when and how often you want to meditate, such as every morning before you begin working or studying.
- Find a meditation app you like to help keep things accessible and interesting.
- Use reminders, such as alarms or calendar notifications, to help you stay on track.
- Find a meditation buddy or join a meditation group to help you stay motivated and accountable. (And don’t forget to celebrate your successes.)
- Be patient and kind to yourself, especially if you’re new to meditation.
Start Using Meditation to Boost Your Focus and Concentration Today
When your mind is calm and relaxed, it can become easier to focus on the task at hand without being distracted by racing thoughts or something in your environment. And meditation is one of the best ways to calm and relax your mind. By incorporating meditation into your daily routine and experimenting with different meditation techniques, you can not only calm your mind, but you can also train it to stay present and focused on the task at hand.
If you’re ready to get started with meditation to improve your focus and concentration, take the first step now by downloading the Balance meditation app on iOS or Android. It includes a whole library of research-backed guided meditations and clinically proven focus music, and it’s completely free for your entire first year. So why not give it a try? Your concentration will thank you.