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4 simple exercises to strengthen your attention and reduce distractibility

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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4 simple exercises to strengthen your attention and reduce distractibility

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

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Key Ideas

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.

What mindfulness is

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

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.

Mindful learning

It means cultivates insightful knowing rather than just a brain overloaded with information

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Mindful Reading

It is a process of quiet reflection that requires mindful attentiveness, letting go of distracting thoughts and opinions to be fully in the moment with the text. 

It slows down the reader and the reading—that alone changes the experience. It moves the reader into a calm awareness, allowing for a more profound experience and understanding.

Mindful Writing

Writing benefits from the capacities that mindfulness cultivates: being in the moment, even when remembering the past or imagining the future; not judging others and oneself while still exercising discriminating wisdom; holding multiple perspectives; being open to the new; and practicing kindness, compassion, and patience. 

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Mindfulness at work

Mindfulness at work

Means being consciously present in what you’re doing, while you’re doing it, as well as managing your mental and emotional state. 

If you’re writing a report, mindfulness requires...

1 min/session

That’s the minimum required for a mini-mediation.

Just focus on your sense. You don’t need to close your eyes. You don’t even need to be sitting down.

Use Mindful Reminders

You can use interruptions as hooks to make you more mindful.

Every time your phone rings, take a mindful breath. Every time you hear the ping of a text message, pause to be mindful of your surroundings rather than immediately reacting by checking the message. 

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