Train your mind to concentrate

Ask our counsellor

Dear Madam,

My son is studying in II PUC (PCMB) and he is attending coaching classes. But, he is unable to concentrate on his studies.  He does not have any close friends to share his feelings/difficulties.  We are trying our level best to get him to concentrate on his studies.  Does he require counselling? Will he be able to score good marks if he goes through text books? 

Anxious Parent

Dear Parent

If you are not able to manage your anxiety, it is going to translate onto your child and hamper his performance. You may find it helpful to get a counsellor’s help in managing your anxiety. As parents, we see our child’s ‘success’ as a validation for our own parenting, and therein lies the stress. So you need to understand how you define ‘success’ in life for yourself, and your child. Success in life depends on several factors, like self-esteem, confidence, and the ability to think creatively, learn quickly, work independently, and in a team, communicate well, and empathise with people, to mention just a few. Also, you need to see why your sense of self-validation is so heavily dependent on your son being ‘successful’.

Now, coming back to your son,

To get the most out of his time, he must be able to concentrate on what he is doing in the moment, rather than let his mind wander. The ability to concentrate is a skill that the mind can be trained for, so that he controls the mind (and its thoughts) rather than the other way around.

Some exercises to help you improve his concentration are:

* Counting backwards in his mind from 100 to 1
*Counting every third number backwards in his mind from 100 to 1
*Counting the words in a paragraph of his book without using his finger as a pointer.

Once this is easy, counting the words on a page.

*Repeating an inspiring word or a simple sound, in his mind for five minutes. Once this is easy, try doing it for ten minutes.

It is very important for him to be able to share his feelings with someone. If he doesn’t have friends, and he is unable to talk to you, then it will probably be helpful for him to meet a counsellor. Don’t forget, if you have anxieties about his future, he will also have anxieties about his future, probably even more than you.

Dear Madam
I am doing my 2nd PUC in Commerce. Since my parents are lawyers, I am also influenced by them in certain ways and am interested in Law. But I am also interested in Visual Communication. I know I shouldn’t do a course just because my parents are in the field and that I need to follow my passion. One day I want to be a lawyer and the next day I want to go into the creative line.  How do I know if I am interested in Law or Visual Communications? Is it possible to do both?

A Student

Dear Student

I understand that you are confused as you keenly want to follow two career paths. I think that is a happy position to be in — to be clear about what choices you want to pursue, rather than not know what to do at all — and, to have multiple options, rather than just one.

Maybe you should get the help of a career counsellor to assess which field is a better match with your capabilities and interests.

Also, it may be important for you to understand the two fields in greater depth and gain clarity on what you would be doing if you went down either path. Five years, or ten years into the field, what do you visualise yourself doing, and how do you feel about it. Think of your strengths and weaknesses, and the opportunities and threats, with respect to both the fields and see if that helps you arrive at an answer. Talk to people working in both areas to get a realistic picture of what either career entails.

Also, be mindful of your motivation to do law — Is it that you are passionate about the subject, or is it the ease of being able to settle into an already existing practice which will give you a head start? Think about ways in which it may be possible for you to pursue one line as a passion, outside of your career.

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