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4 simple exercises to strengthen your attention and reduce distractibility

http://blog.ed.ted.com/2018/06/18/4-simple-exercises-to-strengthen-your-attention-and-reduce-distractibility/

blog.ed.ted.com

4 simple exercises to strengthen your attention and reduce distractibility
"I think, therefore I am distracted." If Descartes were writing today, this is what his famous aphorism might have become. We're living in an age of distraction, battered by our own customized waterfall of notifications, alerts, texts, videos, bingeable TV, and more. It's not surprising our minds often feel like a jumble.

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Our attention is fragile

Research indicates our mind wanders 50 percent of our waking hours. Internal and external distractions easily disrupt our attention from the task at hand.

To gain control over our attention and keep it stable, one solution is trying mindfulness training.

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What mindfulness is

It’s about paying attention to the present moment with awareness and without emotional reactivity.

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Mindfulness training

It can be broken down into two major categories:

  • Focused attention exercises cultivate your brain’s ability to focus on one single object, like one’s breath or walking.
  • Open monitoring helps you learn to pay attention to what’s happening around you without becoming attached to it.  

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Meditation fosters mindfulness

“[Meditation] is not about clearing the mind; it’s about focusing on one thing. When the mind wanders, the meditation isn’t a failure. Our brain is like a wayward puppy, out of cont...

Incorporate meditation in your life

  • Walking meditation. “We weren’t meant to sit in cubicles all day and when we disconnect from nature, we suffer a lot of stress.”
  • Red light meditation. While stopped at a red light, turn off your radio and focus on deep breaths.
  • Running/cycling meditation. If you run or bike, leave your headphones at home and focus on the experience.
  • Eating/drinking meditation. As you eat or drink, focus on the various flavors, textures, and sensations of the particular food or drink.
  • Waiting meditation. While in line, observe your breath or surroundings.
  • Task-related meditation. For example, washing your hands, folding laundry, taking a shower, washing dishes, or brushing your teeth can serve as mini-meditations if you focus on the experience and stop your mind from wandering.

Mindfulness In Sleep

Mindfulness In Sleep

Sleep heals our mind and body, but in today’s fast-paced and distracted world, many people are sleep deprived, wreaking havoc on their attention spans, mood and brain functioning. ...

Mindfulness: Do’s And Don’ts

  1. Daily meditation: Having a daily meditation practice, be it mindfulness, a mental body scan or even chanting is crucial.
  2. Away from the bed: If you are unable to sleep, try to change your place, as the bed has to be associated with sleep.
  3. Sleep apps don’t work: Sleep apps are not to be relied on for sleeping, and one should cultivate our own body to be able to sleep without any aid like sleep apps or even sleeping pills.
  4. Don’t try too hard: Sleeping is an effortless effort, and your mind and body has to be conducive for it to happen. Forced sleep is the primary mistake many insomniacs make. Sleep happens on it’s own if you allow it.

Three Ways To Wind Down

  1. Eliminate distractions, like your smartphones or tablets, that hinder sleep by their radiation, constant notifications and the blue light they emit.
  2. Don’t pressure yourself to sleep and instead focus on calming your mind and practicing mindfulness and relaxed breathing.
  3. Mental body scan is an effective mindfulness meditation that promotes sleep, where one notices one’s breathing and various bodily sensations, while mentally scanning one’s body parts.

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A cluttered mind

It can make navigating even the most basic parts of our day exceedingly stressful and frustratingly inefficient.

Mindfulness

It is the habit of being aware of and noticing our own minds and the world around us, without judgment.
It strengthens 2 essential mental muscles: metacognition (watching our own minds at work) and attentional shifting (the ability to deliberately refocus our attention away from one object and onto another).

A Consistent Organizational System

It is an external strategy for keeping track of what we need to do and accomplish.

By creating and maintaining a reliable organizational system, we give ourselves the best possible chance of efficiently processing the day-to-day Have-Tos, so that we have sufficient time and energy to focus on the Want-Tos (the things that really matter to us).