Improve Your Attention Span in a Distracted World With Psychology Professor Amishi Jha

Amishi Jha

Verywell / Julie Bang

Every Monday on The Verywell Mind Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Amy Morin, LCSW, interviews experts, authors, entrepreneurs, athletes, musicians, and other inspirational people about the strategies that help them think, feel, and do their best in life.

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Meet Amishi Jha

Amishi Jha, PhD, is a professor of psychology at the University of Miami. She’s also the Director of Contemplative Neuroscience for the Mindfulness Research and Practice Initiative, which she co-founded in 2010.

She’s written a new book called "Peak Mind." In it, she shares how we can improve our attention spans and become better focused in just 12 minutes a day.

Why Amishi Jha Is Mentally Strong

Amishi has conducted extensive research surrounding attention spans. She’s uncovered several important lessons about why we’re so distracted and the steps we can take to improve our focus.

Now, she’s sharing what she’s learned and the strategies that can help. This is especially important in today’s digital world where there are so many things vying for our attention at any given moment. 

She makes it clear that we need to become more intentional about what we pay attention to. And she gives step-by-step instructions on how to get better at focusing our attention in an easy-to-understand way.

What You’ll Hear on the Show

  • Why it seems like our attention spans have gotten so much worse
  • The impact COVID has had on our attention span
  • How to modify your environment in a way that makes it easier to stay on task
  • The difference between ADHD and normal struggles with staying on task
  • The components of attention and the flashlight analogy
  • How to start practicing mindfulness
  • The benefits you’ll gain from becoming more mindful
  • How keeping a pen and paper handy can improve your focus
  • The link between mood and attention
  • Why it’s healthy to allow your mind to wander sometimes

What You’ll Learn About Mental Health and Mental Strength

Some mental health issues can affect our attention spans. Depression, anxiety disorders, ADHD, and OCD, for example, make it difficult to concentrate.

Attention span problems aren’t always a sign of a mental health issue though. Many people struggle to focus. 

Fortunately, there are steps all of us can take to improve our ability to pay attention. And when we do, we’ll be able to be more present throughout our day.

Quotes From Amishi

Amishi Jha

If you don't have the fundamental capacity to notice what is going on moment by moment, you don’t have the capacity to pay attention to the here and the now. 

— Amishi Jha
  • "A peak mind is not one in which we never experience fear, grief, sadness, uncertainty, or even ambiguity about a situation, but training the mind so that we can maneuver through those difficult circumstances with more ease instead of working against ourselves."
  • "Fifty percent of the time, our minds are wandering."
  • "Every moment I notice I’m distracted, I can actually do something about it. I can redirect back, or I can allow myself to wander wherever the heck I want without feeling kind of guilty about it."

More About the Podcast

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Reviews and ratings are a great way to encourage other people to listen and help them prioritize their mental health too.

Links and Resources

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By Amy Morin, LCSW
Amy Morin, LCSW, is a psychotherapist and international bestselling author. Her books, including "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do," have been translated into more than 40 languages. Her TEDx talk,  "The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong," is one of the most viewed talks of all time.