A hundred years ago, it must have been easier to focus. Today is a different story- just walk down a city street and your attention can be pulled in 500 directions. Bright LCD billboards, advertisements in every store window, brand names and symbols on every car, t-shirt and pair of shoes all vie for your attention. Not to mention the smartphones that keep silence out of our lives with texts, phone calls, and emails following us literally everywhere we go. We can hardly have a complete conversation with someone face to face without a cell phone interrupting. Want a list of more common distractions? Recently, something in an article about meditation jumped out at me. It said that regular meditation, even for just 2 months, already helps the brain out. It actually makes the memory center of the brain - called the hippocampus - bigger! Chronic stress, on the other hand, actually makes the hippocampus smaller. Tips to help you focus: Get enough sleep Exercise regularly Take breaks regularly Try meditating Try using airplane mode on your phone for a set amount of time Choose a place where you will not be interrupted Set priorities (what is really the most important?) and manage your time so that you can be 100% present in what you are doing. The most important things will plague your mind all day, so take care of those first. Communicate to your friends and loved ones when you will be able to respond to their call or texts; you don't have to do it right away (unless it is a work phone and part of your job). Jot down nagging thoughts that won't leave your mind alone & deal with them later. Have more ideas on how to focus? Please comment below! :)
If organs made New Year's resolutions, here's how our guts will strive for improvement in 2015.
How fast can you read? Fast enough to be successful? An average adult reads ~250-300 words per minute; check your speed here. Some cool cats over at Spritz have designed a speed reading app! If you flash one word at a time - in the same spot - it can save you time from moving your eyes around a page. You can even choose different speeds (350, 500, 600, etc). See if you can read faster now.
How healthy are your lungs? Now you can test how efficient your lungs are, right from your own smartphone! An app called SpiroSmart acts like a spirometer, and even comes quite close to the accuracy of medical spirometers. All you do is take a deep breath and breathe toward your phone, which analyzes the reverberation of your lips. Have you ever used this app, or a spirometer before? I would love to hear your stories below.