Everything you are wanting to achieve and are currently experiencing in your life comes down to focus. Most people let their minds wander aimlessly about all day, under the illusion they are in control of where it goes. The truth is, most aren’t in control because of environmental factors and subconscious thought patterns they have developed over the years.
Where is your attention the majority of each day? Is it on the things bothering you, on what is wrong, or what is making you feel happy and right with your life? How you have failed on certain tasks or how you are constantly improving? Is it on how you may falter or how you can succeed? The past, the present or the future? Your goals or your lack of skills?
If you don’t manage your mindset, nothing else matters. The good news is the ability to control mental focus can be developed over time and the environmental factors and thought patterns previously established can be overridden.
How do we manage our mindsets? In the simplest terms, we are asking our brains to pinpoint what we have decided is important to us in order to make these things become reality. What ever struggles we face – losing weight, making more money, finding more meaning to our lives, making better choices, being a better parent, feeling confident, being able to focus… All require our attention and in very specific ways, but even more so, these things require our commitment everyday!
What is the key to developing better focus and mental control? Meditation
Meditation is an exercise that empowers the same place in brain (the Prefrontal Cortex) responsible for will power and attention control. While there are many other benefits to meditation, this benefit of increasing will power and developing attention/thought control will quickly begin to put you back in charge of your focus. A minimum of 10min each day will produce results almost immediately and will strengthen over time.
There are many forms of meditation, and this type is performed by sitting comfortably, closing your eyes and dropping each and every thought as it comes to you, as quickly as possible. That is all. This meditation is not concentrating on a thought. We are not as concerned with reaching a “thoughtless” state so much as we are interested in the process of “letting go” of the thoughts. We want to master the act of letting thoughts go. This process of meditation also give us the ability to “watch” ourselves think.
Concentrate on your breath coming in and going back out as you drop each thought. Bring your attention back to your breath if you find your mind wandering off in thought. Just drop the thought and come back to your breath. This activity of being aware of a thought, letting it go, and regaining focus on your breath literally exercises and improves brain function.
Some people find it very useful to add a verbal cue to remind themselves to drop the thought as it comes it. I like “drop that thought”; you may like “let it go”, or “stop”, “cancel” etc. This audio cue will come in very handy later when you are not meditating but want to remind your brain to let go of something you are thinking about that is negative or unproductive to you. With this new skill, you can begin directing your brain where to go, where to point itself, how to think, what to focus on, what to hear, what to see, what to create, what to leave behind, what to develop, what to ignore.
As you practice this every day, your brain will start to drop these thoughts for you automatically and you may not need the verbal cues. You can continue this practice with any new unwanted nuisance thoughts that you are noticing come up. Again, your brain will learn to automatically toss out the targeted thoughts you do not want after a short time.
Even if you do not know “how” to do what you want to do, you brain will figure it out just like when you learned to walk or swim. You saw someone walking and your wanted to do the same and so your brain figured out how to move your coordinate your muscles until you did. Once you incorporate the daily practice of meditation, train your brain to focus on that which you aim to accomplish, you can change your life.
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