Shifting, Managing and Mastering Your Attention (Focus / Mindfulness)
Why would anyone want to spend the time to ‘master their attention’?
Because whatever you pay a lot of attention to in life, you get more of the same.
If you focus on doughnuts, cupcakes, pie and ice cream all day, you go home and eat it despite your best intentions. On the other hand if you create an intention of living healthy and mostly have these kind of thoughts, you stay on track, even with a few treats now and then.
If you run an attention deficit because you distract yourself with mindless media, cell phones, text messages, phone calls, TV and related scattered activities, this have long term effects on your brain. Take at look around you at the myriad people who can’t enter into a conversation for more than a minute, without being distracted by the ‘shiny and new.’ They try out every program on the market, committing to none.
If you unconsciously daydream most of the time, you don’t get realistic solutions to your problems. In a nutshell, the lack of focus means it’s harder to reach your goals, whether they are wellness goals or your other important priorities.
And, if you can’t focus, it’s hard to be ‘mindful’.
Mindfulness is different from thinking. Mindfulness involves being aware, with no judgment or criticism. Mindfulness is a state of BEing, not a way of DOing. Your ‘thought-steam’ slows down and you observe your surroundings with detached attention, on purpose and in the present moment. Practicing mindfulness gives you clarity, peace and flexible thinking.
Which is really saying, you may become more content and less stressed out by life events and the chaos in the outer world.
By focusing on negative past experiences and emotions, you live in the past. That’s like driving while continually looking in your rear view mirror. This behavior can make you feel down and depressed. And if you are always thinking about what may happen next in an uncertain future, you can suffer from chronic anxiety.
And we all get distracted by distraction to some extent as T.S. Eliot once said. Thich Nhat Hanh a Zen Buddhist monk, gave us the cure: “Smile, breathe and go slowly. ”
Living in the present moment is the only place to be. But more importantly, being present is undoubtedly the only way to enjoy life to the fullest. By being mindful, you enjoy your food more, you enjoy friends and family more, you enjoy anything you’re doing more. Anything. Even things you might think are drudgery or boring, such as housework, can be amazing if you are truly present. Try it — wash dishes or sweep or cook, and remain fully present. It takes practice, but it’s worth it.
Living in the present moment is one of the greatest challenges we all have because it is so easy to become distracted.
The 3 Core principles or Components of Shifting and Mastering Your Attention:
- Centering: Meditation and Mindfulness
- Your Word is Law: Clarity and Commitment (along with Patience and Discipline)
- Affirmations: Making it Real for Your Mind and Soul
When life gets crazy and we are out of balance, we need to find a stable ‘safe harbor’ within in order to feel grounded. How do you center yourself emotionally when the ‘outer and inner storms’ are brewing? Do you meditate or have moments of quiet reflection throughout each day? Are you easily distracted or can you stay focused on the issue at hand?
In a state of being ‘centered’, you must concentrate on a particular issue or problem you want to correct. It’s the same as focusing intently, but with the added element of giving enough time to important issues so that they can resolve themselves toward a particular objective you have (focus + time = concentration). Concentration also helps eliminate distractions when we are trying to find the right answers. Concentration also seems to bring answers ‘out of nowhere’ (nowhere = now here) when we are committed to finding them.
Meditation is scientifically proven to reduce stress. And stress is a MAJOR factor in the causation and perpetuation of many diseases. Simple and natural meditations are easy to do, such as being aware of your breathing while being still or walking in nature with awareness. Technique is secondary to intention.
Mindfulness is a way of living in the moment. Capturing your ‘mindful moments’ helps energize mind and body which results in less stress.
Within you, there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself. ~ Hermann Hesse
Your Word is Law
Your Word is Law: Your brain listens, consciously or otherwise, to your words. And your words have power. It is essential to keep your word to yourself, otherwise if you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust? If you say you are going to do something, do it. Don’t promise anything to anyone including yourself, until you have the grit and gall to carry it out. At least try.
You must have mental clarity about what you want. If you don’t know, your life will be run by your past habits, wishes, wants and desires (or other people’s). So, what do you want for yourself? Be honest and be clear. Being mindful helps us see things more clearly.
You must be committed to a course of action you have chosen and decided upon. If you are going to lose weight and get healthy, you can’t be committed to 5 different programs or committed to eating ice cream every night. Von Goethe once said that “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness…”. Has that ever been true for you? It has for me.
We must be patient. Things have a way of working themselves out as long as we are focused on circumstances that need our attention and we apply energy into steering them naturally in the direction they must go. Sometimes just doing nothing is the right and natural choice.
Discipline is a four letter word that some people just don’t like. Nothing can happen long term without some form of organized structure. Energy follows the path of least resistance, so when you do simple things over and over again you are creating an organizing pattern in your brain, making it easier over time to get consistent results.
An affirmation is a declaration that something is true. Affirmations help you to develop a positive mindset. They help you stay on track when you say them with emotion and strong intention. They program your unconscious mind to help instead of hinder you. Well crafted affirmations send your intentions into the world.
Affirmation without discipline is the beginning of delusion. ~ Jim Rohn
When ‘your word is law’ (when you mean what you say and say what you mean), statements of positive intention are powerful when backed by the faith, confidence and belief of your convictions. Many people have become well using affirmations along with lifestyle changes because they reconnect with what truly matters to them. Try it and see if your life ‘shifts’ when you do. We believe that you will!