5 Activities to Improve Attention and Concentration

Updated on August 11, 2023
 by — reviewed by Jason Williams, PhD (Contributor: George Collins / Editor: Yoko Hill)

5 POWERFUL activities to improve attention and concentration!

Keeping our full attention on one thing for hours on end is something that everyone struggles with from time to time, no matter how dedicated we are to the task at hand. Your attention can often scatter, or disappear entirely as you drift off - leading to a pile of unmet deadlines.

Does this sound familiar? 

If so, then don't worry. There are multiple fun and effective activities that can be used to improve your concentration skills and give you sharper focus!

With a clearer cognitive awareness, you can tackle your day-to-day tasks without dealing with a drumming band of unwanted and distracting thoughts. 

In this article, we will share powerful ways to improve your focus and concentration so you can stay on track and boost your productivity!

Understanding the Concept of Concentration 

Concentration is the ability to direct one's focus and attention on a particular task or stimulus. It plays a significant role in various aspects of daily life, including productivity and mental health.

By harnessing the power of concentration, individuals can optimize their cognitive function, enhance their mental stamina, and achieve greater productivity and overall well-being.

Concentration involves aligning one's attention with a specific goal or subject, excluding non-relevant distractions. It enables individuals to filter out unnecessary information and hone in on what truly matters. By sharpening their focus, individuals can improve their ability to absorb and retain information, solve problems efficiently, and make sound decisions.

In terms of productivity, concentration is indispensable.

The ability to concentrate enables individuals to complete tasks more quickly and accurately. By reducing mental clutter and enhancing mental stamina, concentration allows individuals to stay engaged in their work for longer periods. As a result, they can accomplish more in less time, leading to increased efficiency and productivity.

Moreover, concentration plays a crucial role in maintaining good mental health. In today's fast-paced world, there are numerous distractions that constantly demand attention, making it challenging to concentrate on a single task.

This constant fragmentation of attention can lead to increased stress levels, reduced mental clarity, and diminished cognitive performance.

By practicing concentration techniques, individuals can train their minds to tune out distractions and sustain attention to a specific task or activity.

This helps to develop resilience against external disturbances, leading to improved focus, reduced stress, and enhanced mental well-being. Additionally, concentration exercises, such as mindfulness meditation, have been shown to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety.

The Role of Dopamine in Concentration

Dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain, is an essential part of what influences concentration and focus. It is commonly associated with the brain's reward system and motivation.

Dopamine is released when we anticipate something important or rewarding is about to happen, which stimulates our brain and promotes concentration.

This means that the brain's reward system, which involves the release of dopamine, is responsible for reinforcing behaviors that are beneficial or pleasurable. When dopamine is released in response to a rewarding experience, it creates a sense of motivation and supports our ability to concentrate on the task at hand.

This is something like getting taken out for ice cream after winning your middle-school soccer match.

Now, this is where it gets interesting. 

Research has shown that individuals with higher levels of dopamine in specific brain regions, such as the striatum and prefrontal cortex, tend to have better attention spans and are more motivated to work hard.

On the other hand, low levels of dopamine can make individuals less likely to engage in tasks and have difficulty maintaining focus.

Dopamine also influences concentration by influencing the activity of various neural pathways in the brain. It interacts with different receptors, neurons, and pathways, which can promote or inhibit attention and focus.(1)

For example, dopamine spikes in the nucleus accumbens, which is part of the brain's reward circuit, can trigger a feedback loop that predicts rewards and enhances concentration.(2)

Moreover, dopamine can be harnessed to improve concentration and productivity. By creating a dopamine-rich environment through positive reinforcement and rewarding experiences, individuals can train their brains to become more focused and motivated. This can be achieved through strategies such as setting achievable goals, tracking progress, and celebrating small wins.

No wonder we often struggle to focus on daily chores or procrastinate that long list of 'to-do's. Your brain just isn't giving you the dopamine you need to focus and stay on track.(3)

So what next?

Find ways to increase your dopamine release so you can more easily get tasks done. By creating a daily routine that promotes the release of dopamine through brain training activities, individuals can optimize their brain's ability to increase concentration and productivity.

5 Practical Activities to Improve Concentration

Concentration is a vital mental skill that allows us to focus our attention and cognitive resources on a specific task or stimulus. It plays a crucial role in our daily lives, contributing to productivity, mental stamina, and overall mental well-being.

Let's explore some practical activities that can help improve concentration and enhance the bran's ability to maintain focus and attention.

1. Practice Mindfulness and Meditation

Mindfulness and meditation practices have gained significant popularity in recent years for their numerous benefits, including improved concentration.

Mindfulness involves paying attention to the present moment with non-judgmental awareness, while meditation typically involves focusing on a specific object or the breath.

Engaging in regular mindfulness and meditation exercises can help train the brain to be more focused and less susceptible to distractions. Research has shown that these practices can strengthen the prefrontal cortex, the brain region responsible for concentration and self-control.(4)

Here are some simple mindfulness and meditation exercises you can try:

  • Mindful Breathing: Sit comfortably, close your eyes, and bring your attention to your breath. Observe the sensation of each inhale and exhale, allowing any distracting thoughts to pass without judgment.
  • Body Scan Meditation: Begin at the top of your head and gradually move your attention down through each part of your body, directing awareness to any sensations you notice along the way. Focus on your breath as you meditate. 
  • Guided Meditation: Use audio guides or smartphone apps that provide guided meditation sessions. These can help you stay focused and provide helpful instructions for beginners.

2. Partake in Regular Physical Exercise

Physical activity not only benefits our physical health but also has a positive impact on our mental well-being, including concentration. Daily exercise increases blood flow to the brain, delivering oxygen and nutrients essential for optimal cognitive function.(5)

Engaging in regular aerobic exercises such as running, cycling, or swimming has been shown to enhance concentration and improve overall cognitive performance.

One of the most popular exercises to help you increase your concentration are yoga and tai chi. These powerful activities combine physical movement with mindfulness and help to boost concentration and give you a longer attention span, as well as promote overall well-being.

Try incorporating regular exercise into your routine. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week, and include activities that you enjoy and find motivating.

3. Play Brain Games and Puzzles

Playing brain training games and solving puzzles can be an enjoyable way to sharpen your cognitive skills, including concentration.(6) These activities challenge your brain, forcing you to focus and engage in problem-solving.

There are numerous brain training activities and puzzles available online or as smartphone apps that target specific cognitive skills, such as memory, attention, and concentration. Sudoku, crossword puzzles, a jigsaw,  and brain-training apps like Lumosity and Elevate are popular choices.

Make time for these brain games and puzzles regularly, and gradually increase the difficulty level as you become more proficient. Additionally, engaging in activities that require sustained mental effort, such as reading complex books, learning a new skill, or even playing challenging video games, can also help increase concentration.

4. Eat a Healthy Diet

Eating a balanced diet that includes nutrient-rich foods can play a significant role in supporting concentration and cognitive function. Certain nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins B and E, have been linked to improved brain health and focus.

Incorporate the following foods and nutrients into your diet for optimal brain function:

  • Fatty fish, such as salmon and sardines, for omega-3 fatty acids
  • Blueberries and other berries rich in antioxidants
  • Leafy greens and vegetables for vitamins and minerals
  • Nuts and seeds for healthy fats and vitamin E
  • Whole grains for sustained energy release

Avoid excessive consumption of processed foods, sugary snacks, and beverages containing high amounts of caffeine, as they can negatively impact concentration and mental clarity. The same goes for too much alcohol. These are substances that are responsible for cognitive decline when used excessively. 

5. Create a Distraction-Free Environment

Removing distractions in your environment can significantly reduce concentration difficulties and help maintain focus on your tasks. It's been proven that a relaxing and pleasurable workspace will positively affect concentration as well as work satisfaction. It makes it easier for you to be motivated and focused on your given tasks.(7) 

Here are some tips for creating a distraction-free environment to boost your concentration:

  • Find a quiet place to work or study where you are less likely to be interrupted.
  • Minimize distracting visual stimuli by organizing your workspace and keeping it clutter-free.
  • Use noise-canceling headphones or soft background music to mask distracting noises.
  • Turn off notifications on your electronic devices to avoid being tempted by constant alerts.
  • Designate specific times for focused work and communicate with others about your need for uninterrupted concentration.
  • Use plants in office spaces to increase concentration by promoting work satisfaction

By implementing these practical activities and lifestyle changes, you can strengthen your concentration abilities and enhance your overall cognitive function. Remember that improving concentration is a gradual process, so be patient and consistent in your efforts.


By improving focus, attention, cognitive function, concentration, and memory, you can achieve higher levels of productivity, make better decisions, and enhance your overall well-being.

Whether in professional or personal contexts, developing concentration skills will lead you to live a more fulfilled and successful life!

Remember, improving concentration is not an overnight process, but with consistent practice and implementing these techniques, you can gradually strengthen your ability to concentrate.

If you want to take your concentration a level deeper, then consider using safe and effective nootropics to improve your cognitive abilities. There are a variety of different nootropics, so choose the one that suits your needs and that will support your goal to be better focused.

This, in combination with the 5 powerful exercises that we listed to help you concentrate, will provide a powerful combination to stimulate your brain to work at its best!