The Power of
Focus and Concentration
Let’s face it. In this fast-paced world where multi-tasking has become a necessity more than a quality to brag about, it’s becoming more and more difficult to keep our focus and concentration on one subject at a time. There are just too many things going on around us, in our “to-do” list and many thoughts going on in our mind at any given time!
Most of us are constantly stuffing ideas, suggestions, problems and solutions in our brains -all at the same time- while trying to perform efficiently and take care of the obligations and responsibilities of our daily life.
As if this wasn’t enough, the self-talk is going on automatic, prejudging, commenting, and offering opinions on a multitude of things, as we keep on recalling memories we had stored a while back!
Wow, we do have and incredible mind indeed, but no wonder we keep on forgetting things as we keep on relying on SMART phones, sticky notes, and Google calendar reminders just to keep up!
What’s worrisome is that abusing our minds in this manner can back-fire big time. Statistics say that people who have a scattered mind are more prone to distraction and accidents. Just think of what’s happened to a person who chose a CD to play while he was on the phone and driving at the same time, and you’ll see what I mean.
Moreover, we frequently think about things that are not important or even necessary. These things occupy too much space in our minds which hinder the proper development of focus and concentration. Thinking about many things at once, makes us more prone to forgetting the things that really matter; those that are of importance right now, in the present moment. Worse yet, this kind of scattered thinking acts as a distraction that prevents proper focus and concentration to achieve our goals on a daily basis AND on a grander scale!
Losing your mind yet?
No worries. Let’s start by asking a couple of questions… What can we do about this? How can we filter out all the unnecessary, unimportant, redundant, and even negative thoughts so that we can focus on the present moment, on what is truly important, and on what needs to be done right now?
We can start by learning about focus and concentration; a skill that can be a determining factor between being calm while getting ahead or feeling cluttered, stuck and anxious most of the time.
Learning to focus and concentrate takes both, time and determination but it can be done with a bit of practice and the results are well worth the effort. Here are a few points to start exercising this great power:
The first step to train your brain to focus on one thing at a time starts with basic relaxation. This is because it is impossible for a stressed and anxious mind to focus and concentrate! The more things you have in your mind at any given time, the more stress you accumulate, so you must work on eliminating what is not important and prioritizing what is. This alone will start improving your focus and concentration.
When you relax, you ease tension and nervousness. This way you can free your mind to think clearer and focus on what matters most. The best practice to induce relaxation is proper breathing, but before getting to that, you must work on your awareness.
You see, many people are so busy at “being busy” that they don’t even realize what is going on in their minds. They just live stressed and fall for the belief that life is just like it is and there is not much they can do. This is completely false! We can decide to develop a focused mind and work at it to our benefit.
Thus, the next time you feel tense, make an effort to become aware of your state and your feelings. Notice all the noise that is going on in your mind, and ask yourself what is bothering you or keeping you stressed. Take a few deep breaths. Exhale slowly while bringing an image of something that gives you joy and peace while you let go of those things that agitate and stress you.
You may feel that if you let go of your thoughts in this manner, you will forget important things. In fact, when you relax your mind for a few moments, you end up with more clarity afterward which naturally leads to easier focus and concentration. So, no worries… Just let go…
There are actually many ways to relax and de-stress your mind. Some people prefer music, while others rather take a walk. The practice of your choice is not important as long as you relax in a way that you deem fit; in a way that you feel comfortable and are familiar with.
Take a few moments to get rid of all the things that are invading your mind – hang-ups, resentments, worries, troubles, and even day-dreaming. Next, start bringing the thoughts one by one and set priorities. Free your mind of all worthless stuff while you do this. You will be surprised at the many things you were thinking about that didn’t require that much thinking… Really!
Proceed to take a few more deep breaths to start from a clean slate with the real priorities in mind, one at a time, from a new perspective, in a fresh environment. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Overwhelm destroys your attempts at learning focus and concentration. If you ended up with many important things and are afraid you may forget a few, jot them down, prioritize yet again and tackle them in order of importance over a few hours, days — or weeks!
Notice how you feel now that your priorities are more organized and manageable. This is the very first step to getting rid of unnecessary stress and from that point on it’ll be much easier to get and stay focused when you need it or on a regular basis.
Above it all, be patient. Just like learning math or to ride a bike, sharpening your concentration and focus requires determination and will, but the benefits to your mental and physical health are well worth it. Go for it!