Do you often find yourself wandering from present to past to future?
Now you're reading this blog, next thing you know is you're thinking about that Instagram
post you saw five minutes ago, or that work email you haven't answered.
In this day and age, there are multiple things competing to grab our attention, minute in
minute out. But shouldn't we
decide what to focus on?
The news of the day, your many social media feeds, the numerous tabs open on your internet search
and let's not even get started on the thousands of pop-up ads that keep bothering you while you
try to finally draft that work email.
News and commercials are pretty darn good at stealing our attention. Experts have researched
the how-to for years, and it's now reached a phase in which many of us feel overwhelmed by it
most of the time.
Would you like to take back control of your attention?
Try this exercise right now
Take a few moments to step back, relax and sit comfortably
Take a few deep breathes
Start observing your thoughts
What brings your attention back to you?
Now, did you find it difficult to calm your thoughts? Was there something holding you back
from being present in that moment?
Sometimes we need help to stay present. Emotions come up when we slow down and if we don't
know how to deal with them, we have a tendancy to run. This way, we miss out on valuable information.
Some decide to add filters or reduce their screen time in order to limit their exposure to
attention-suckers. Others go cold turkey and avoid technology for certain periods of time.
But what about friends, family and work? All those texts to answer, all those missed calls.
There are things you just can't ignore. No wonder you sometimes feel mentally exhausted before
you even get to work!
We live in a world of distraction. Yet, what we focus on defines the ways we spend our energy, it
creates our daily reality and deeply shapes our lives.
Watching the news, for example, anyone would believe the world is a scary place. We know people
create goodness every single day, but we just don't hear about it that often! So we end up
feeling anxious, scared, depressed, we absorb all sorts of negativities from what we watch and hear.
These are all powerful influences in your life. They may affect how you see the world, how you feel
and ultimately how you behave.
Try this other exercise and ask yourself these questions:
What's good for me?
What do I want?
What does my brain and body like?
Try to pay attention to your body and observe patterns of what it needs and likes, and what it doesn't.
When you hear TV ads, how does your brain feel? When you finish shopping and get home, how does
your brain feel? When you walk in the park, how does your brain feel?
The same rule applies to exercise, did your body like it? Ask the same question of the brain.
I did these exercises many time. When I do yoga, for example, my attention often focuses on the
struggles, when a difficult pose is required, or when the stretch feels uncomfortable. Do I really
want to go to yoga?
If then I ask myself what my body wants and what my brain likes, the answer becomes very clear.
My body responds positively to yoga, it becomes stronger, more flexible and relaxed, and I
know these benefits make for a better life for me. This is why I keep doing it, despite the struggle.
So yes, our thoughts do influence how we behave. If we change out thoughts, we have the power to change
What do you
truly need and want for yourself?