Techniques to Enhance Attention


  • Peter Juriga Comenius University Bratislava


Techniques to enhance attention can assist individuals in improving their attention and self-control. In our contemporary, fast-paced environment, many people encounter challenges in maintaining self-control. The abundance of attention-grabbing stimuli, including various forms of digital media, provides us with a 24/7 supply of dopamine-releasing experiences. These readily accessible rewards prompt our brains to seek out quick and easy gratification. This tendency can lead to difficulties in achieving challenging, tedious, and delayed rewards. As Mischel asserted, for an individual to function effectively, they must be able to postpone instant gratification and persist in goal-directed behaviour. Those who are able to do this as children are more likely to be cognitively and socially competent adolescents [1].

The objective of this theoretical research was to identify and examine various techniques that may assist individuals in enhancing self-control and attention, while also providing a foundation for further research. The researcher conducted a thorough self-examination of numerous techniques, focusing on those that are straightforward to implement and serve as self-help methods. Two particular techniques were evaluated as the most suitable: mindfulness and slow breathing patterns.

It was determined that meditation practice might be challenging for beginners and alternative options were sought. Through self-examination, the concept of utilising the non-dominant hand for fine motor control as a means of forced attention and mindfulness was identified. Friese demonstrated that the utilisation of the non-dominant hand significantly enhances self-control by overriding the individual’s dominant responses [2].

Slow breathing patterns, such as coherent breathing, have been shown to improve attention. This claim is also supported by the research of Mitsea, which revealed that every time respiration loses stability, attention fluctuates. It can be observed that when respiration is stabilized, attention also finds steadiness [3].

Future research aims to investigate whether these two self-help techniques can enhance attention. Participants will be divided into three groups: the non-dominant hand group (NDH), the breathing group (BG), and the control group (CG). NDH and BG participants will receive two introductory sessions prior to the main study. The training will span 8 weeks, with participants practising for 15 minutes each day. The BG group will follow a slow breathing pattern with an average respiratory rate of 4 breaths per minute. The NDH group will engage in fine motor activities using their non-dominant hand (such as drawing, using cutlery, toothbrushing, etc.). The CG will not participate in any specific training. All participants will complete pre- and post-tests to assess sustained attention and affect. The Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) and the Number Cancellation Test (NCT) will be applied. Additionally, saliva samples will be collected to measure cortisol concentration, enabling an evaluation of whether the training resulted in significant improvements in attention.


[1] Mischel, W., Shoda, Y., & Rodriguez, M. L. (1989). Delay of gratification in children. Science, 244(4907), 933-938.

[2] Friese, M., Frankenbach, J., Job, V., & Loschelder, D. D. (2017). Does self-control training improve self-control? A meta-analysis. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 12(6), 1077-1099.

[3] Mitsea, E., Drigas, A., & Skianis, C. (2022). Breathing, Attention & Consciousness in Sync: The role of Breathing Training, Metacognition & Virtual Reality Technium Social Sciences Journal 29, 79-97.