For all the books lovers out there, reading is one of the best ways to spend their free time and explore new worlds. This is why experiencing trouble concentrating while reading can be particularly worrisome. Luckily, with the right strategies, maintaining a strong focus while reading is within your reach!
Read on to find out how to focus on reading a book and delve into the world of literature like you used to.
Discover your Prime Reading Time
One of the first remedies for difficulty concentrating while reading is selecting the best time of the day to read. Everyone is different; some of us are most absorbent in the early hours of the day, while others find their mind to be the most recipient later on in the day. If you have a habit of reading at bedtime, but can't concentrate on reading anymore, try sitting down with your book a little earlier when your mind is not in sleep mode.
Choose a Good Book
It might seem obvious, but choosing the right book to read is key to staying focused and beating difficulty concentrating while reading. Many people who think they can't focus when reading are simply reading the wrong type of book. When reading for pleasure, select books that are of your true interest. If you have something that you need to read that bores you, try reading it in small segments to prolong your attention and make it more manageable.
Another effective strategy for those having trouble concentrating while reading is creating a focus-inducing reading environment. Most people find it hard to stay concentrated on a book with background noise the television, radio, or other people's conversations. Find a quiet, comfortable, and well-lit place to read and experiment with setting the right mood with some instrumental music or headphones if you need more tranquility.
Use Your Finger
A good idea to stay focused on the text is by using your finger or a bookmark to follow the words. This is especially helpful if your attention tends to wander forward in the text impatiently, trying to find out what happens next. It also helps in cases when difficulty concentrating while reading leads you to re-read the same lines multiple times. Using a finger or a bookmark adds a physical reminder of where you are and what you should be focusing on
For difficulty concentrating when reading, it is also crucial to take small, 2-3 minute breaks every 45 minutes as this will allow the brain to refresh and absorb the information.1 However, keep in mind that overly checking your phone or engaging in an ongoing chat might actually further distract you. Instead, take those few minutes to stand up and stretch, close your eyes and take several deep breaths, or summarize what you just read.
Give Meditation a Try
Living in our times, it seems almost inevitable to experience stress. Among its many harmful effects is trouble concentrating while reading.2 Luckily, one of the best ways to help the body lower stress hormone levels, improve cognition, and boost attention span is by having a daily meditation practice.3 You can find numerous free materials online, such as guided, focused attention meditations, to select one that suits your needs.
While trouble concentrating while reading is a common complaint of women of all ages, those passing through the menopausal transition might be hit with difficulty concentrating particularly hard, including while doing other daily tasks besides reading. Luckily, there are a number of natural and effective ways to battle the hormonal imbalance at fault and regain your ability to stay concentrated and feeling yourself again.
- PLOS. (2008). “Thinking about Not-Thinking”: Neural Correlates of Conceptual Processing during Zen Mediation. Retrieved December 9, 2019 from https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0003083
- Universal Journal of Educational Research. (2017). The Relationship between Good Readers' Attention, Reading Fluency and Reading Comprehension. Retrieved December 9, 2019 from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1134476.pdf
- University of New Hampshire. (2012). The Brain Break: How to Study Smarter. Retrieved December 9, 2019 from https://www.unh.edu/healthyunh/blog/2012/01/brain-break-how-study-smarter
- Advances in Physiology Education. (2016). Attention span during lectures: 8 seconds, 10 minutes, or more? Retrieved December 9, 2019 from https://www.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/advan.00109.2016
- Harvard Medical School. (2018). Protect your brain from stress. Retrieved December 9, 2019 from https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/protect-your-brain-from-stress
- Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. (2018). Brief Mindfulness Meditation Improves Attention in Novices: Evidence from ERPs and Moderation by Neuroticism. Retrieved December 9, 2019 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6088366/