Reading Concentration Problems
  • For as long as I can remember I've never been a huge fan of reading books for fun, or even education.

    I found a comfortable spot in the grass near a lake yesterday to sit down and read Food of the Gods. My mind continuously drifted onto random nonsense and I would find myself suddenly noticing "How did I just read two paragraphs and not remember any of it?". This happened on numerous occasions, to the point I eventually got frustrated and listened to a podcast on my phone instead.

    Does anyone have any recommendations to really jam mind deep into a book?
    25 / M / Southern NH - Video Editor / MMA / Provider of Euphoria
  • You could try reading out loud.
  • Read out loud. A quiet mind also helps... meditation works for that
  • I have two friends who both got into reading after borrowing Walking Dead comics from me. Maybe try Batman, instead of Mckenna.
    Post edited by thatdude21601 at 2012-04-20 17:03:31
  • creamyhole, great name btw, this happens to me too my attention span is shrinking as I age. if you don't read often try reading shorter and more interesting things. also, it doesn't hurt to take notes if what you're reading is complicated or confusing
  • @dhizzo I'm a fairly active person

    @hamsterfist I make sure to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night

    @cuppycake Thank you :)

    I can read short stuff like the forums for hours, but a long novel... rough. Perhaps I'll try a highlighter and review those at the end of each paragraph. I'm now starting to understand why we had to write papers on books in college, it really forces you to understand what you've read.
    25 / M / Southern NH - Video Editor / MMA / Provider of Euphoria
  • @creamyhole I meant exercise your reading muscles i.e. brain.

    Finding a book that really interests you would be a good start.
  • @creamyhole I had the same problem for a long time. Throughout most of my school experience I didn't read a book at full length because they couldn't keep my attention.

    What I did instead is jumped to audiobooks. Listen to them while driving or playing video games or showering or whatever! It's more entertaining and it gave me a greater attention span and an appreciation for reading voice and style. Now I read every day!

    Maybe that could work for you
    Is truth meaningless when only words describe what words are?
  • I think with reading you need to get into a flow with it, so start with something that is interesting and really easy to read. Then you can move onto more heavy stuff. Duncan said something along these lines a few months ago on a podcast and it totally worked for me. I started off reading an Agatha Christie novel and soon I was chewing through books like you wouldn't believe.
  • @dhizzo
    yeah i've been smoking daily for years and being high doesn't usually effect my ability to focus or complete tasks except in the case of reading in book format. I end up doing the same thing creamyhole mentioned where you read a paragraph or two and then realize you don't remember anything you just read. wierd.
  • @Creamyhole I just finished How To Read a Book because I've had trouble with concentrating and comprehending what I'm reading. It breaks down the different levels of reading and explains how to read for UNDERSTANDING instead of just reading to soak up information. Being well read means you read well!
  • You're just used to the constant onslaught of stimulation, visual stimulation. When you sit and read a book, your mind is freaking out, and rightly so, after years of not reading, its almost a foreign thing to most people.

    Its definitely a muscle and it would be best to start with light weights and get the form down, move onto harder moves and heavier weight.
  • I get this problem too, but instead of not remembering what I just read after 2 paragraphs my mind instead lingers to other thoughts while my eyes are still skimming the text. Funny. It sounds simple enough, but I usually just have to eliminate all distractions and take care of whatever things that are on my mind at the time before even diving into a book for a long reading session. Everyone else is pretty right on with the working out, sleep routine, and other alterations.
  • I had this problem as well. I would suggest quick meditation. Breathe deeply and concentrate on your breathing for about 10 min to get you to relax and empty all the pesky thoughts in your head. When reading each paragraph form a visual picture in your mind about what the text is about and compare the information with your own personal values. If none of that helps beat off as a last resort....just sayin.
  • Interesting that you are reading Food of the Gods because this book and others like it actually brought me to pose this theory. Maybe you cannot focus on whatever is in front of you because it is not captivating you. Trying to focus on something that is not coming naturally with patience is futile. Shift your attention in a different direction, be it away from reading or just a different book. I say this because I have generally had the attitude of disliking reading for most of my life. But sometimes I find a topic interesting, most recently Food of the Gods and The Psilocybin Solution, and cannot help but continue reading, with no loss of focus for hours. Normally I do not enjoy reading for more than 20-30 minutes. It's all about attraction!
  • First, it isn't a problem!

    second, maybe you're just not that interested in reading that book?

    the last book I read where instead of going "how long until this chapter is over and I can put the book down?" I was going "just one more chapter" over and over until I was literally too tired to continue reading was Stephen Kings 11/22/63

    so my suggestion is go read that book because I really want people to talk about it with

    edit: and it will add the word "jimla" (as in, "you're such a fucking jimla") to your vocabulary.
    Post edited by Harshaw at 2012-09-01 11:16:20
  • as an experiment try reading hunger games or something like that- easy to read. i bet you'll have more success.
  • I completely agree with all of you mentioning that you must be interested in what you are reading. Luckily for me I love reading and it has been a life long passion for me. I used to steal books from the bookstore when I was younger. Super dork but yeah if you aren't interested in the subject or the type of novel you have picked up, try something else. I have gotten to the point where if I notice I am not enjoying a book by the frist couple chapters I put it down for a week or two, try again and see how it goes. If it still sucks then i scrap it. Lucky for me I live in Portland where there is a plethora of used books stores to buy many books and not feel bad when I dislike them. So if I were you I would get a library card, try different catagories of books ie: fiction, nonfiction, autobiographies, short story collections and the like to get a better understanding of what appeals to you. Good luck but believe me the joy of reading is one of the greatest parts of being alive.
  • 1. Find a quiet spot, bring no distractions with you (phone, ipod).
    2. schedule at least 30 minutes to an hour of free time.
    3. Commit to what you are reading. If you aren't all that interested in something and can't make a commitment to it, you'll give up.
    4. Subvocalize (say each word conscientiously in your head).
    5. After a difficult concept or paragraph, reread what you just read.
    6. If possible take notes.

    Just a couple of things that helped me in the past. The more I read websites/forums/etc the worse my book reading gets, FYI (why I don't really post here except on weekends).
    Also, I didn't have this problem but sometimes shit like McKenna can get dry as fuck.
  • The only thing worth doing is that which I can do by will alone... everything else is just passing time. (*)
  • Here's what I've been told works: Every time you lose concentration, cut yourself. You soon pay attention!

    (edit: this is a joke. please don't cut yourself. Unless it's part of your curriculum.)
    Post edited by Steve_I_am at 2012-09-26 02:57:28
  • image
    (Q) Have I gone mad?

    (A) I'm afraid so. You're entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret. All the best people are. - Alice in Wonderland
  • I honestly often read out loud or at least whisper when im by myself...when im around others I subvocalize.... I'm sure it looks strange because my lips are probably moving, but I don't give a fuck. Anyways, if you notice most people are constantly having a conversation with themselves all of the time in their head and do the same thing.....When you ask people if they talk to themselves constantly they act as if you found out their big secret and get all uncomfortable.... it's like a glitch in the matrix occurs or the movie "they live". anyways.... I also always take notes...even if it seems to be a frivolous endeavor in the moment.... I find I retain info much more lucidly...even if I never look at the notes ever again wonka wonka wonka.

  • The only thing worth doing is that which I can do by will alone... everything else is just passing time. (*)
  • orgoneorgone
    I'm a Troll. Don't Feed Me.
    At least you posted Gamma without me tearing my hair out. Alpha ain't the right one for reading, it's probably better for things like driving.
  • Whatever works for you.
    The only thing worth doing is that which I can do by will alone... everything else is just passing time. (*)

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