So, with a lot going on around us all the time, especially on our mobile phone screens and social media, how should one maintain the required focus? This issue becomes even more complicated as you age because the studies have shown that the focus or concentration span of youngsters and aged persons alike are reduced to an alarming level. The real culprit is the fast information exchange and the nature of “instant” messages, “instant” feedback, “instant” response, “instance updates”, instant everything!
The youngsters have drastically shown signs of lesser levels of interest to engage in an activity and frequent thoughts and actions of abandonment and pursuing something else simultaneously. If young minds are not spared by the technology, imagine how the old will be able to cope up.
Factors for losing focus with age
According to neuroscience, some factors are responsible for lowering the concentration span as the brain and body age. They include:
- Weaknesses in the neurons and sensory receptors affect different organs which can affect hearing, vision, tasting, and movement. Due to such weaknesses and limitations of the body, the mind receives less information and is therefore left with little to focus on. Gradually, the practice or “passion” for focusing on a goal, for instance, decreases with age.
- Another reason is mental illnesses like Alzheimer’s or Dementia which negatively affect memory. That is why old people find it difficult to focus and remember things for long.
- According to the cognitive theory, naturally Crystalline Intelligence remains intact while Fluid Intelligence gradually declines. That is why an old person may remember their childhood events but forget about what happened yesterday!
Crystalline Intelligence is the knowledge and practice of things learned through conscious acquisition such as learning to drive or cook, etc. Through practice, the mind remembers the knowledge even when you are not paying attention to the task.
While Fluid Intelligence is the natural ability or capacity of a person to comprehend, judge, evaluate, reason, etc, without prior knowledge or training.
Here’s how the different capabilities of the mind are affected with age:
Tips to maintain focus as you age
Unless a degenerative illness takes hold of your brain, you should be practicing focus from an early age. In fact, this practice will also reduce the chances of acquiring such illnesses.
Some of the methods to maintain focus with the passing age can be:
- Researchers have shown the link between meditation, yoga, mindfulness activities, and an overall healthy lifestyle at a young age with a maintained and balanced focus in old age. People with sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy practices like drugs or alcohol consumption tend to lose focus in their mid-40s earlier than those who live a healthy life.
- Indulging in resistance training and running/cardio for 3 times a week from an early age can help in smooth blood flow in the body and brain. This will keep the brain working for many years, thus, maintaining crystallized as well as fluid intelligence.
- There are daily practices along with proper professional classes for focus training methods. Being a part of these from your 20s can highly impact long-term memory and brain function in a positive way.
- Avoid stressful encounters, news, emotions, moods, discussions, even thoughts. These trigger a cycle of unending thoughts and the resultant anxiety which burden the brain neurons with unnecessary pressure. Maintain a calm and patient attitude in life and make it a habit.
Age is something that can neither be avoided nor ignored. However, one must prepare for old age with healthy routines and a balanced mind from a young age to maintain focus and memory in the later years.
After all, without focus, everything is just hocus-pocus!