Do you find it tricky to settle down and focus your mental effort on something? If so, you are not alone. The struggle is more common than you realise and there are many factors that can affect your ability, or lack of, to focus. Some of us just have a harder time tuning out distractions – but with some practice, it can be done.  Here are five helpful hints and tips to help you through your studies:


  1. Set the scene

Your environment plays a vital role in creating enough space in your brain to allow you to concentrate. A clean, tidy, de-cluttered home and especially desk, creates a clean, tidy, de-cluttered mind. Student living can often involve sharing with others who might not have the same cleaning goals as you. Don’t worry – as long as your own bedroom has received a little shimmer and shine, this will be enough.

If you create an environment you love, you will be in a better frame of mind to focus on the task in hand. Well known for its enhancement of brain function, try adding some rosemary essential oil to a diffuser and breathe in your new alignment. You could play nature sounds or some gentle white noise as this has also been known to lead to greater mental clarity and focus.


  1. Get into nature

Just being in nature could actually increase your ability to concentrate. Taking a break from your studies by going for a quick walk outside and spending time in a green space continues to help you, even when you are back at your desk.

You could plan to meet a friend for lunch in a park or go for a run together. Believe it or not, simply bringing lots of plants inside to your workspace and glancing at them can also improve your focus and feeling of wellbeing.


  1. Take a break

Taking a break from your studies can be directly proportional to your productivity levels. After a few hours at work, your brain naturally starts to lose focus and that inner dialogue begins. This is where an official break works wonders. If you stay at your desk and tell yourself you have to keep going, all you do is increase your frustration and further lose focus.

Taking a break doesn’t just mean from your desk, it also includes your phone. Switch off all notifications – emails, messages and social media to enjoy a complete mental break from the outside world. When you return you will feel refreshed, motivated and ready to start again.


  1. Improve your sleep

Getting enough sleep is so important for student mental health. A lack of sleep will not fail to disturb your concentration, happiness levels and potentially even your grades. There are so many factors that could affect your sleep and stop you from hitting the recommended 7-8-hour target for adults.

Luckily you can help yourself get a good, restful sleep by choosing your bedtime routine carefully. Quit all screens at least one hour before you try to go to sleep, and yes that includes your phone. Try picking up a book instead (not a text book) or listening to a guided meditation. Meditation will not only help you drift off, it also has been shown to improve concentration during your waking hours so is a great option. A lovely warm bath with some calming music and your favourite essential oil is also a great way to calm your mind down and get ready for sleep. Try not to do anything stimulating before you sleep, regular exercise is great, but nothing too energetic right before bed. A short, relaxing yoga practise would be perfect.


  1. Make time for exercise

Regular exercise has endless benefits, one of which is an improvement in concentration. Daily physical activity could change your focus and attention in as little as 4 weeks, and in older adults it can stop or actually reverse memory loss. You don’t need a strict exercise regime, just getting out for a walk and moving your body is enough. It won’t fail to boost your mood and increase your blood flow, importantly to your brain. Get your heart rate up by walking to the shop instead of driving.

Don’t forget that sometimes, underlying health issues can have an impact on concentration levels, so if you are really struggling, then make an appointment to see your local GP. Equally, if you feel you might be suffering from depression or anxiety, it’s important to talk to someone and seek some help, as these conditions could also affect your ability to focus.


When it comes to boosting your concentration, there is not a single solution for all – it is best to try a whole range of approaches to improve your concentration and find one that works for you.