CORE PRACTICE BOOSTER: WATCH YOUR WHITEBOARD - Deepstash

CORE PRACTICE BOOSTER: WATCH YOUR WHITEBOARD

6. Repeat. Each time you notice yourself mind-wandering, tag the content of your mind-wandering (as thought, emotion, or sensation) and then come back to your breath.

1

STASHED IN:

17

How to train your attention and be more productive

STASHED IN:

0 Comments

MORE IDEAS FROM Peak Mind

To get a sense of what this means for your cognition, imagine a studio apartment. There is only one room. Every time you want to use the room, you have to completely change out the furniture. Want to sleep? Set up a bed and nightstand. Want to host a party? Take down the bedroom and set up couches and coffee tables. Need to cook? Drag that all away and set up a stove, counter, and cooking supplies. Sound exhausting? It is! And it’s the same for your cognition, when you switch from task to task.

4

STASHED IN:

33

2. Notice where it goes. This is a new step! In the first exercise, I asked you to notice if attention wandered away, and if so to immediately move your flashlight back to your breath. This time, I want you to pause for a moment and observe where the flashlight is now directed.

1

STASHED IN:

17

5. Move on. Come back to the present moment, back to your breath, after every instance of labeling. If it’s a strong experience, it might pop up repeatedly—then just label it again.

1

STASHED IN:

17

  1. Get ready, sit in an upright alerted posture, shoulder back chest open and be comfortable.
  2. Tune in to the breath related sensation, imagine the air entering your lung as you breathe in slowly, and exit your lung as you breathe out
  3. Notice when your mind wander and focus back to the breathing exercises. It's normal to wander and always use constructive words when trying to refocus

4

STASHED IN:

36

your memory for experiences, involves selective encoding of only those aspects of experience that were most attended to and held in working memory. Translation: you’ll only remember what you focused on and “wrote” on your whiteboard—not everything that occurred. And further, your episodic memory doesn’t merely involve the external aspects of events (who, what, where, and so forth) but is deeply wrapped up in your autobiographical take on what you experienced. So—was the experience happy? Sad? Interesting? Tense? Your emotional experience will influence what you focus on.

1

STASHED IN:

13

The floodlight gains access to the whiteboard to accomplish an urgent goal. Under acute threat or stress, your alerting system temporarily blocks access to working memory to ensure that your brain’s action systems prioritize basic survival behaviors (fight, flight, freeze) over any other goals or plans.

— Key vulnerability: Road Block

The alerting system can be set off by feelings of threat, even when there is no real danger. This temporarily cuts off access to working memory and impairs any functions that rely on it (like long-term memory, social connection, and emotion regulation).

1

STASHED IN:

19

Your attention determines:

  • what you perceive, learn, and remember;
  • how steady or how reactive you feel;
  • which decisions you make and actions you take;
  • how you interact with others
  • your sense of fulfillment and accomplishment.

No matter how much I tell you about how attention works and why, and no matter how motivated you are, the way your brain pays attention cannot be fundamentally altered by sheer force of will

17

STASHED IN:

48

  • When we try to do two things at once that both require our attention, it’s really hard to do either of them well
  • Think of it this way: You only have one flashlight. Not two. Not three. And your one flashlight can only ever be shining at one thing at a time
  • When you’re trying to accomplish multiple tasks at once that require your focused attention, what you’re actually doing is moving your flashlight from one thing, then to the next, then back to the first

7

STASHED IN:

36

4. Make this a quick process. Notice if you begin going down a rabbit hole of elaborating on the distraction, or asking why you are thinking about this particular topic, or defaulting to unsupportive habits like chastising yourself for getting distracted in the first place. It is not your job right now to answer these questions or reprimand yourself. Now is actually the time to notice what is on your whiteboard but not to engage with it. Just label the contents as best you can from these three categories: thought, emotion, sensation. And then . . .

1

STASHED IN:

17

  • attention biases brain activity. It gives a competitive advantage to the information it selects. Whatever it is you pay attention to will have more neural activity associated with it. Your attention, quite literally, alters the functioning of your brain at the cellular level. It truly is a superpower.

5

STASHED IN:

45

your general world knowledge, for facts, ideas, concepts—is similarly selective. What you remember is based on what else you’ve previously learned.

1

STASHED IN:

13

  • Attention never vanishes, even though it might feel as if it does when you’re struggling to focus and simply can’t
  • The amount of attention you have remains constant. It just gets used differently, and maybe not how you want it to be used
  • You always use 100 percent of your attention. Attention always goes somewhere. So the question becomes: Where?

7

STASHED IN:

44

The Flashlight

  • Where you focus to, that point become clearer. Other than that point, become suppressed. Like a flashlight
  • Called orienting system

The Floodlight

  • Opposite of flashlight, this subsystem is broad and open. Your attention is ready for any input within your vision
  • Called alerting system

The Juggler

  • To direct, oversee, and manage what we’re doing, moment to moment, as well as ensure that our actions are aligned with what we’re aiming to do
  • This is the overseer that makes sure we stay on track
  • Called central executive

12

STASHED IN:

45

Do these three critical things:

1. Rehearsal

when you studied with flashcards, that was rehearsal

2. Elaboration

relating new experiences or facts to knowledge or memories you already have

3. Consolidation

This is what happens as you’re performing the above two functions, and it ultimately leads to the memory being stored. As the brain replays information, it’s laying down new neural pathways and then going over them, strengthening those new connections


STASHED IN:

2

  • Attention simultaneously highlights what’s important and dims distractions so we can think deeply, problem-solve, plan, prioritize, and innovate
  • It threads together the moment-by-moment colors, flavors, textures, insights, memories, emotions, decisions, and actions that create the fabric of our lives
  • What you pay attention to is your life

17

STASHED IN:

48

3. Give it a label. Identify what type of distraction has appeared on your whiteboard. Is it a thought, an emotion, or a sensation? A thought could be a worry, a reminder, a memory, an idea, an item on your to-do list. An emotion could be a feeling of frustration, an urge to stop doing the practice and do something else, a twinge of happiness, a swell of stress. A sensation is something in your physical body: An itch. A sore muscle. Noticing that your back hurts from sitting there, or noticing something you heard, smelled, touched, or saw (such as a door slamming, food cooking, cat jumping).

1

STASHED IN:

17

The juggler keeps your current goals active on the whiteboard, and updates these goals as circumstances change.

— Key vulnerability: Ball Drop

Overload, blanking, and distraction in working memory all derail the central executive’s juggler, leading to lost goals and misguided behaviors. The juggler drops the ball.

1

STASHED IN:

19

1. Repeat the previous steps. We begin the same way we did with the basic Find Your Flashlight (find where your thoughts focus on), by sitting in a chair, comfortable but upright, resting your hands in your lap, and closing or lowering your eyes (to limit visual distraction). Again, select prominent breath-related sensations. Remember the metaphor of your attention as a flashlight, the beam pointing toward your selected breath-related body sensation. When your flashlight drifts to something else . . .

1

STASHED IN:

17

Any tasks you do over a period of time:

  • Performance declines
  • Errors goes up
  • Response becomes slower and more variable

6

STASHED IN:

41

Working memory is the essential partner to attention: it’s what allows you to actually do something with the information your flashlight focuses on. But if attention keeps piping in salient and distracting content, that will become a big problem for goal maintenance, let alone goal accomplishment. Why? Because you only have so much space to work with. Just like a real-life whiteboard, your working memory has limits

2

STASHED IN:

27

  • Working memory is where you hold the micro-intentions and deliberate aim of having a desired outcome for each and every task you engage in
  • All the decisions, planning, thinking, actions, and behaviors you do over the course of a day: anything you set out to do
  • You lean on your working memory to maintain your goals and subgoals, update them, and scrap them for a different goal, on a continuous, moment-by-moment, task-by-task basis.
  • Hold a goal in mind, and then take action based on that goal. That’s how working memory works, and also why it impacts you so profoundly

2

STASHED IN:

28

The flashlight encodes information and maintains it in working memory, “retracing” it on the whiteboard to keep it there for longer.

— Key vulnerability: Bait and Switch

When your attention is automatically “captured” or yanked by something salient, this more exciting (to your attention) content overwrites what was being maintained. Voluntary attention then starts retracing this new content. The prior information is lost forever, gone without a trace.

2

STASHED IN:

19

Deepstash helps you become inspired, wiser and productive, through bite-sized ideas from the best articles, books and videos out there.

GET THE APP:

RELATED IDEA

Feel overwhelmed by your thoughts? Struggling with anxiety about your daily tasks? Or do you want to stop worrying about life?

The truth is...We all experience the occasional negative thought. But if you always feel overwhelmed, then you need to closely examine how these thoughts are negatively impacting your lifestyle.

10

STASHED IN:

62

STASHED IN:

0 Comments

  • Procrastination and running to distractions.

  • Social media, messaging & online reading.

  • Video games.

  • TV & watching videos.

  • Busyness.

  • Porn & sex.

  • Addictions.

  • Comfort foods, shopping, other comforts.

  • Lashing out.

11

STASHED IN:

442

Movement

You don't have to do something too intense, just get moving to energize your brain and body.

A regular 20 - 45-minute high-intensity exercise will trigger positive endorphins, spark your metabolism, and build your resilience.

6

STASHED IN:

265