A Simple Exercise to Improve Your Concentration

Hereís an exercise you can do virtually any time or anywhere to improve your concentration and focused attention.

Begin by closing your eyes for a moment. Clear your mind by concentrating on the flow or the rhythm of your breathing.

Then open your eyes and, with definite intention, scan everything in sight for things that are moving.

As soon as you see something in motion, leave it and look for something else thatís moving. Give your complete attention to one object at a time, but donít linger on any one thing.

When youíve exhausted the field of moving objects, close your eyes again and return to mindfulness of your breath for a moment.

Now, when you open your eyes again, scan for things that are motionless. Calmly but swiftly, focus your attention to seek out as many motionless objects as you can find. Then close your eyes again and focus on your breath.

Next, open your eyes and scan for straight lines...

Close your eyes and return to your breath flow...

Open your eyes and scan for different colors...

Finally, go back to mindful breathing for a few moments.

* * *

As you practice this exercise to improve your concentration, youíll learn four important skills:

  • Youíll build power and clarity of purposeful concentration.
  • Through the focused power of your attention, youíll discover many new elements and dimensions of the world around you.
  • Youíll strengthen the focus, flow and flexibility of your attention.
  • By becoming more mindful and purposeful in the focus of your attention, youíll bring the functions of your mind more under your conscious control and awareness.

This simple exercise will help you greatly improve your concentration. Try it in a beautiful spot in nature -- or even at your desk while you're at work. It only takes a couple minutes, and the powers of improved concentration you will gain will noticeably improve the quality of your life.

[Adapted from the booklet "Awareness Training: Exercises for Mindful Attention" by Joel and Michelle Levey]

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