Improving FOCUS with meditation and breathwork
Week 4 in the Daily Notes Of Encouragement blog series
Have you ever begun a task only to feel frustration when your mind keeps wandering from one thing to another without pause? Your attention is seemingly on every subject in the world except for the task you need to be focused on. Trying to meditate or get those last finishing touches on a work or school assignment that's due in five hours? - Ohhh the thoughts and memories from years ago that come rushing in and prevent you from getting it finished! A random moment from earlier that day turns into a made-for-TV movie in your head when you should be concentrating on making your deadline. Being unable to concentrate and focus, with wandering mind, can feel like an overwhelming burden. We sometimes just want to give up and "forget about it" because it seems too difficult a task to get through. Our sense of self confidence suffers as a result of our lack of focus, leaving us anxious, stressed out, and irritable.
There are so many reasons for our lack of focus and concentration - sometimes the reason may be an underlying medical condition. Those medical reasons I don't have the knowledge to discuss, but I do have a few links to articles/blogs for your perusal of such information.
Non-medical reasons for lack of focus and concentration may be:
Lack of sleep and/or hydration
Being distracted by thoughts or emotions
Time management: having too much scheduled at the same time without proper planning
Not taking enough brakes/rest periods while working on a task, etc
Feared outcomes of activities/projects/tasks
Boredom and disinterest
So many reasons - the list goes on and on
What can we do about the non-medical reasons?
HYDRATION: Stay hydrated throughout the day to help keep the brain & other organs working at full capacity, lessening the chance of headaches and 'fogginess', sluggish movement of bodily functions, muscle cramps, fatigue, etc ...
BEDTIME ROUTINE: Create a set time frame that you go to bed each night and stick to it. Create a nightly routine to prepare for sleeping (examples: wash your face with warm water, brush hair and teeth, take a few deep and slow breaths bringing the nervous system into rest-mode, do a few stretches of tight muscles in neck/back/legs/shoulders) to calmly ease your physical body into rest-mode. Shut off the TV, phone and computer screens after a set time before bed and sit in quiet contemplation / meditation to slow down brain activity and prepare for sleep.
HAVE A PLAN: Use a day planner/schedule book and write down tasks when you learn about them. Having to physically look at and write in your schedule book , you will be less likely to schedule too much on given days.
LIMITATIONS: Know your limits when it comes to scheduling activities and tasks. It is OK to say "No" and it is "OK" to have downtime during the day. You don't have to fill every minute with an activity or task. Downtime (even if only 5-15 minutes) gives you a chance, each day, to pause, recharge your inner battery, and re-adjust to any possible challenges that occur. You'll also have more energy to stay focused on what needs to get accomplished.
MEDITATE: Meditation and massage/bodywork to help lower anxiety, stress, inner-awareness, improve clarity of mind, and slow down the myriad of thoughts, emotions, and stories that constantly bombard are brain.
Here is this week's Printable PDF ... print as many as you need and place one in your car, on your desk, on your fridge - wherever you may need a reminder.
This week's guided meditation links via InsightTimer:
A Focused State Of Mind: (length - 27:16)
Focus ... Yes You Can: (length - 12:00)
Video: Bumble Bee breath