“Concentration is the root of all the higher abilities in man.”
– Bruce Lee, martial arts legend
If you wanna crack UPSC Civil Services Exam, you need to prepare properly for at least one year. Every year, lakhs of aspirants appear in the exam but only a few of them make their dreams come true. One of the most important factors for one’s success is concentration. Concentration is the ability to focus your mind on only one thing and remove all other things (distractions) from your mind.UPSC Syllabus is so vast that you need to do long hours of study. For making this possible, you should be able to concentrate for long hours. Thus it is very important to learn techniques of improving concentration if you wanna be successful.
Benefits of learning concentration techniques
- Improved concentration means you can increase your study efficiency. You would be able to understand and internalise more concepts in less time if you are steadfastly focusing on your work.
- If you improve concentration, your memory becomes sharp. You are able to remember what you study for longer.
- Cracking UPSC Civil Services exam will not be easier if you focus on your work properly. You will also be mentally healthier in the process.
Ways to Improve your concentration
Love what you do
If you have an interest in the subject you are studying, you will be able to keep its contents in mind. Boredom and distraction stay away if you have a genuine interest in what you study. Remind yourself of your ultimate UPSC goal and tell yourself, ‘I love this topic and I will study this today.’ Keep telling yourself this and see the difference. You don’t have to ‘try’ to concentrate on a cricket match, do you? Same is the case with studies as well. You don’t have to push yourself to study something if you are interested in it.
If your mind and body both are in a tired state, you cannot study properly. You need a calm mind to concentrate. A mind without adequate rest cannot be calm, is always distracted. Sleep for 6-7 hours a day. But too much of anything is not good. Sleeping more than the prescribed number of hours will make you lazy and upset your system and your IAS plans as well.
In order to avoid distractions, you should stay in the right place where there is the least disturbance. It is very important to choose a proper place for UPSC preparation. Your private study room is the best place to achieve better concentration.
Avoid continuous sensory input
If you really want to crack IAS exam, you should avoid multitasking. Do not sit in front of the TV while studying. Keep off all other electronic gadgets. Avoid loud noises. Don’t check your phones frequently.
Meditation is the most powerful tool to improve concentration. Try to develop a habit of meditating for 10 minutes on a daily basis. This will definitely boost your ability to focus. Renowned meditation teacher, Bhanumathi Narasimhan says, “Meditation makes a wandering mind into a wondering mind!”
If you wanna increase your concentration to a greater level, you should practise yoga. Do Surya Namaskar and Sarvangasana (shoulder stand) daily. Blood circulation is increased to the brain. This helps you to increase alertness. Also, practice Pranayama. This will certainly improve your retention power as well as concentration.
A healthy mind resides in a healthy body. Your body should be fit and without any ailments. Do regular exercises that will improve your physical health which is a precursor to mental health. If your mind is healthy, then only you can concentrate on your studies.
Taking a balanced diet is necessary if you want to have a healthy body and thus a healthy mind. You should green vegetable, fruits and nuts. Junk food should be avoided. If you eat healthy, you remain active and thus you are able to concentrate well. Do not overeat as it causes a load on your body to digest the meal. This will make you sleepy and leave you tired and unable to concentrate.
Studying for long hours can make your mind tired. Take short breaks in between and feel rejuvenated. You can pursue your hobbies or you can go for a short walk or talk with a positive person for sometime and thus rejuvenate your mind.
You must always remember that practise makes a man perfect. Don’t worry if your initial attempts at these exercises and meditation fail. It takes just a few days’ practices to master the art of concentration. And once you have achieved that, your UPSC civil services preparation will be much easier and stress-free.
You will greatly up your chances of clearing and getting a good rank in the civil services if you inculcate certain habits and make minor changes in your lifestyle. It is not just hard work that will lead you to success. It is smart work. Practice, concentrate and achieve!