Study: Enjoying Simple Pleasures Can Boost Focus

When you really need to stay focused on work throughout the day, what helps keep you going? While many of us count on caffeine to do the trick, new research suggests a simple way to boost concentration. Not only can it help you tackle your most important tasks, it makes them more enjoyable, too.

According to a new study from New York University, doing pleasurable activities - like listening to music and smelling perfume - while doing mentally challenging tasks can help improve cognitive performance.

  • Researchers had participants do a working memory test while wearing a MINDWATCH device. It’s a noninvasive wearable that measures electrodermal activity (EDA), blood pressure, body temperature, brain activity, and other physical measures of focus.
  • Participants did the test with different pleasurable stimulants (music, coffee and perfume) and without.
  • The MINDWATCH determined the stimulants increased “beta band” brain waves, a state that’s associated with peak cognitive performance.
  • Researchers found that music had the biggest effect, followed by caffeine, then perfume.
  • They tested three types of music - energetic, relaxing and AI-generated tones based on participants’ preferences - and found energetic music had the greatest effect.

So, while we may think we need to deprive our senses to get things done efficiently, this research shows surrounding yourself with simple pleasures, like your favorite scents and upbeat music, can help you focus while completing a task.

Source: Mind Body Green

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