Every second, your eyes give your brain around ten m bits of data. Science estimates that the average person has around 6000 thoughts per day. Then there are ears that will make an orchestra of sound waves.
To get anything done, for instance, to read anything or to concentrate on something we need to filter out these data and focus.
Concentrating has been a difficult task especially because of the pandemic.
An Expert Weighs In About How To Bring Back Our Focus Again
Conversations stall, our eyes are fixated on zoom calls, and books are left half-read. The ability to focus on anything from reading, cooking, or working seems far-fetched.
Fortunately, we can change this. We can bring our ability to focus back. We cannot just choose to do it, we have to train our brains.
The University of Miami’s cognitive and behavioral professor and science of attention’s expert, Dr. Amishi Jha has written a book. It is called Peak Mind. The book is based on her extensive research about mindfulness exercises done by people like athletes, soldiers, and emergency medics- Jobs that demand high cognitive health.
Jha said that stress is one of the biggest hindrances in focusing our attention. When we are in a high-alert state we begin catastrophizing and ruminating. We often get stuck in imagined scenarios.
Jha said that our working memory is like a board that has disappearing ink. When the board is full of feelings, images, and thoughts about our stress, there is no space for new information. Then we start zoning out, blanking or snapping out at people, and then feeling guilty about it.
She said that the first step to gaining our focus back is to accept that you cannot just choose to have undivided attention.
Jha experienced an attention crisis. She felt an unrelenting, blaring assault of mental chatter. This reduced her ability to give attention to her small children.
Yes, she discovered some new exercises for the brain. These short training sessions for mindfulness every day can help us filter our urges and thoughts and form a mental muscle that makes us observe and not just act.
The first exercise is about sitting upright. Then close your eyes and focus on your breathing.
Focus on your chest and track your thoughts. There will probably be an urge to check your phone and reply to a text.
She said that the idea of a mind that is unwavering is just a fantasy. She believes that it is the time when our phones are needed to rescue us. There are various apps available for mindfulness and meditation. But rather than invest in some app that is more attention-sucking, we should be thinking about why our attention keeps on slipping.
For the second week, she introduces a body scan. This involves focusing on your body parts from head to toe and thinking about what sensations you are feeling. Your mind will try to wander off but bring it back to your body.
Jha says that and your attention will try to get distracted from places and people, but it is important to bring it back. When you can do it, know that it is your progress.
After a Fortnight of trying these exercises for 12 minutes every day, you will start to notice that your attention span and focus is a bit better than what it used to be.
Try these exercises in everyday things like brushing your teeth. When your mind starts to wonder about the events of the upcoming day, bring it back to the feeling of brushing.
Many people say that their mind is too busy. Jha says that rather than stopping the activity of the mind, these exercises teach you how to live with it more peacefully.
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