Focus is the number one priority
There are a lot of factors that determine how we spend our time and how much of our time we spend on a given task: traffic, work load, familial obligations, can’t-get-out-of-it dinners. But because there’s always so much to get done, it gets difficult to focus and fully immerse ourselves sometimes.
And I know that it might seem a little counterintuitive to add another thing—quick meditation practices to help you focus, for example—but the overarching idea is that you’ll be more efficient with the other stuff.
Besides, for all the ridiculous stuff we do (think: getting lost in the black hole of Facebook videos), we might as well give this a shot.
Label your emotions
Acknowledging how you feel is a vital step into calming yourself down and being able to focus. Say whatever it is you’re feeling as if you’re taking a deep breath, no matter how negative they may be: stressed, angry, overwhelmed, anxious.
A study has shown that putting your feelings into words shifts some brain activity from an emotional area to a thinking one.
Do something with intent
Be mindful of one activity that you’re trying to get done—one that isn’t something you ~have~ to do. Be present when you’re having dinner with your family, take a look around when you’re walking out of the office to have lunch, let yourself enjoy your shower at the end of the day.
Being mindful of the present gives you space to not be overwhelmed with everything else you have going on.
Listen to your thoughts and talk to yourself
Most of us tend to let our minds get away from ourselves, imagining different scenarios and stressing about things that are yet to come. Instead of getting lost in the negative possibilities, talk yourself back into the real world.
someone once told me “if you stress too much about something before it happens, you basically put yourself through it twice.” And I feel like someone needed to hear that too, be happy
— Too Sassy (@IssaSassyBitch) November 4, 2018
One other of the quick meditation practices to help you focus is to use your senses, thereby noticing your surroundings. Look at what you’re seeing, smell what you’re smelling, touch what you’re feeling, listen to what you’re hearing and taste what you’re taking in.
When everything becomes too much—yes, it happens—take a step back. Get out of your current environment, walk around and just breathe. They say that taking deep breaths shifts your mind from “flight or fight” to “rest and restore,” but the practice is more effective if you take yourself away from whatever is causing you to lose focus in the first place.
So yes, we understand that taking some time out of your daily routine to meditate and be more mindful can seem like a waste of time. But sometimes it really is a matter of exchanging five minutes away from your to-do list in order to get an hour of laser focus.
Art Alexandra Lara