How Is That Possible: Distractions from Studying Can Be Good for You

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Posted: December 26, 2011

distract from studying for your own benefit Distractions from studying have such a bad rep that many students try to find a study place that is as close as possible to allowing only studying and nothing else.

Libraries are a good example in this sense: in a library you are supposed to be more focused on studying because of a lack of any distractions. But is it really true that you never get distracted from studying in a library?

Not really, as anything can be a trigger for your mind to start wandering far from what you are trying to study: a door opening, another person turning the page, or even a flower in a pot can become distractions as you find yourself wasting your time looking at them and breaking your concentration. This often happens because distractions from studying are in fact signs that you actually need a break.

Instead of fighting distractions off entirely (and losing the battle most of the times), it’s far better to take the lead and choose the distractions that actually make you smarter. Quite surprisingly for some, distractions that make you smarter actually exist and are even quite enjoyable, including for instance social media and video games.

Social media

With all the outcry about social media causing addiction and making you lose your time (if not your minds even), you are probably surprised at the idea that social media qualifies in fact for a good distraction from studying, which can even make you smarter. Well, it’s all about how you use it, of course, and how much.

The true benefit of social media such as Twitter and Facebook is the fact that they offer you instant access to a vast amount of new and very diverse information on virtually all and every possible topics. And such exposure if in fact, according to Don Ambrose, a professor at Rider University, exactly what helps with incubation of new ideas and hence with increasing your creativity.

So, next time when you really cannot stay focused on studying anymore, allow yourself a short, timed amount of time to simply read the various bits of information that social media throws your way. After that, you might actually be surprised by your own brain with some better ideas for your work or better comprehension of what you are studying. Obviously, spending the whole day reading random information on social media websites will not help. And spending the same amount of time playing Farmville on Facebook will not help at all either.

Video games

Another category of distractions from studying, which can in fact make you smarter, are video games. Obviously, not any video games and not any amount of playing them will have the same effect. However, choosing the right video games and playing them for reasonable amounts of time can actually improve some brain functions and develop skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, ability to work in a team, decision-making and even sensory and movement coordination.

Some studies cited by Forbes argue for instance that so-called brain games such as strategy, puzzles and casual games can improve your memory and various mind skills. Moreover, video games such as FPSs, especially those played in multiplayer mode, can improve teamwork, dynamic decision-making skills and even your confidence. At the very least, playing video games can stimulate your mind in a different way than studying.

But best video games are those that offer an engaging experience as well as a world and story line that require strategic thinking, decision-making and problem solving. Thinking, planning and executing the actions in a video game can be pure fun, but as long as thinking is involved, you can consider playing video games as a brain workout as well – quite likely you will get a bit smarter in the process.

Check out the next part of the article – later this week!