The following exercises should help you develop concentration skills. You have to teach your mind to concentrate according to your will. The exercises that follow may seem tedious and monotonous, but they are useful. If you persist in doing them you should find them valuable, as they increase your powers of concentration.
Select some thought and see how long you can hold your mind on it. It is nice to have a clock at first and keep track of the time.
Suppose you decide to think about health, think of health as being a great blessing in the world. Don’t let any other thought drift in. Just the moment one starts to obtrude, make it go away. Make it a daily habit of concentrating on this thought for, maybe ten minutes. Practice doing this until you can hold it to the exclusion of everything else. You might have to do this exercise regularly for 10 days or more in order to sharpen your concentration skills.
Sit in a comfortable chair and see how still you can keep. This is not as easy as it seems. You will have to center your attention on sitting still. Watch and see that you are not making any involuntary muscular movements. By a little practice you will find you are able to sit still without a movement of the muscles for fifteen minutes. At first I advise sitting in a relaxed position for five minutes. After you are able to keep perfectly still, increase the time to ten minutes and then to fifteen. This is as long as it is necessary. But never strain yourself to keep still. You must be relaxed completely. You will find this habit of relaxing is very good. Sitting still can help you avoid unnecessary bodily movements thus improving your concentration.
Watch yourself during the day and see that your muscles do not become tense or strained. See how easy and relaxed you can keep yourself. See how poised you can be at all times. Cultivate a
self-poised manner, instead of a nervous, strained appearance. This mental feeling will improve your carriage and demeanor. Stop all useless gestures and movements of the body. These mean that you have not proper control over your body. After you have acquired this control, notice how “ill-at-ease” people are that have not gained this control.
Watch people and see how many of them make unnecessary movements and lack poise. Get rid of any habit you have of twitching or jerking any part of your body. You will find you make many involuntary movements. You can quickly stop any of these by merely centering your attention on the thought, “I will not.”
The purpose of the above exercises is to gain control over the involuntary muscular movement, making your actions entirely voluntary.
When You Read. No one can think without first concentrating his thoughts on the subject on hand. Every man and woman should train himself to think clearly. An excellent exercise is to read an article in a newspaper, and see in how few words you can express it. Reading an article to get only the essentials requires the closest concentration. If you are unable to write out what you read, you will know you are weak in concentration. Instead of writing it out you can express it orally if you wish. Go to your room and deliver it as if you were talking to some one. You will
find exercises like this of the greatest value in developing concentration and learning to think.
After you have practiced a number of these simple exercises read a book for twenty minutes and then write down what you have read. The chances are that at first you will not remember very many details, but with a little practice you will be able to write a very good account of what you have read. The closer the concentration the more accurate the account will be.
It is a good idea when time is limited to read only a short sentence and then try to write it down word for word. When you are able to do this, read two or more sentences and treat similarly.
The practice will produce very good results if you keep it up until the habit is fixed.
If you will just utilize your spare time in practicing exercises like those suggested you can gain wonderful powers of concentration. You will find that in order to remember every word in a sentence you must keep out every thought but that which you wish to remember, and this power of inhibition alone will more than compensate for the trouble of the exercise. Of course, success in all of the above depends largely upon cultivating, through the closest concentration, the power to image or picture what you read;
Concentrate on the Within. Lie down and thoroughly relax your muscles. Concentrate on the beating of your heart. Do not pay any attention to anything else. Think how this great organ is pumping the blood to every part of the body; try to actually picture the blood leaving the great reservoir and going in one stream right down to the toes. Picture another going down the arms to the tips of the fingers. After a little practice you can actually feel the blood passing through your system.
If, at any time, you feel weak in any part of the body, will that an extra supply of blood shall go there. For instance, if your eyes feel tired, picture the blood coming from the heart, passing up
through the head and out to the eyes.
Watch Concentration. Sit in a chair and place a clock with a second hand on the table. Follow the second hand with your eyes as it goes around. Keep this up for five minutes, thinking of nothing else but the second hand, This is a very good exercise when you only have a few minutes to spare, if you are able to keep every other thought in the stream of consciousness subordinate to it. As there is little that is particularly interesting about the second hand, it is hard to do this, but in the extra effort of will power required to make it successful lies its value. Always try to keep as still as possible during these exercises.
(Received from very long back from the unknown source)