Have you caught yourself staring off into space while seemingly enjoying a good book? Or perhaps you’ve picked up your phone and started scrolling social media, worse even, you don’t even know it’s occurring until several minutes in. Many have been there, but few understand the sheer frustration of having it happen several times in a span of 10 minutes. This can have a variety of reasons behind it, some are medical, others are simple. Whatever your reasons behind the clouds that hover below your chin, here are some handy tips to help remedy this!
- Find the Cause: Whatever your intentions may be, it is important to take into account the underlying reason. Some people do suffer from some form of ADD or ADHD. That can be helped with either medication or therapy depending on the severity of it. If you are in a crowded place or even outdoors, sometimes that may not be a kind of reading environment that you personally need if you’re continuing to get distracted. Everyone is different in this. Anxiety, stress, or depression for some people can also be a killer in reading focus. Sometimes taking your book into a bath or with a relaxing tea can help set the mood just right for reading peacefully. But, if you are frequently picking up your phone or looking at the tv this leads us to the second point!
- Kill the Electronic Distractions: The phone can be a bad habit to break. Without thinking about it you pick it up, unlock it, scroll, rinse, repeat. This is an especially common thing to happen while you’re reading and getting distracted. The best remedy to this is to simply put your phone as far away from you as humanly possible. It may be difficult at first, but you may also find a nice break away from any device is just what you need in this day and age!
- Find the One: I have found some books to be worth my time, but not one that I get sucked into for large spans of time and come out asking what year it is. With that said, I have found that if I just can’t seem to stay focused and find myself sighing and pining for a better book, it’s time to close it. So, if you’re becoming too distracted while reading and not even lack of environmental distractions can aid in your focus, maybe it’s time to find a better book.
- Pause and Think: This one may sound counterintuitive, but I can promise it works. Simply, stop reading for a few seconds and allow some processing to happen in your mind before it does it on its own. Sometimes the act of reading large paragraphs or simply reading for a long period of time can lead to wandering. Take pauses in between paragraphs or pages and think about the book, the characters, the setting, or whatever your interest is about the book you are reading. Those little pauses and breaks in addition to the focusing on the story can help your mind to hold its attention longer as you read. (It also may lead to some good insights about the book!)
- Keep Reading: Reading has been proven to aid in a better attention span. Smart phones and computers have killed our attention spans. Between messaging, social media, news sites, and the like, we are constantly barraged by fast paced information in and out of our sight without even a chance for our brains to process thoroughly and reset. Don’t be surprised if you are a heavy phone or computer user and you find the environment of reading to be an adjustment to your brain as you settle into the more quiet stream of stimuli. But, no worries. Your brain will thank you!