Did you know that our minds wander a whopping 47% of the time? That’s nearly half of our lives we spend distracted.  

So how do we go about increasing our focus? We ought to slowly but surely train our minds to be able to focus for longer periods of time and in doing so become more efficient at completing tasks. 

And how can we go about doing so? While there are many ways to increase focus, mindfulness is one practice that has proven to be most effective. 

Many of us beat ourselves up because we can’t sit and concentrate without any interruptions.  However, we fail to realise that we are only practising judgement when we do so. Eventually the judgement grows stronger and leads to terrible guilt, which is a huge obstacle to overcome.

Mindfulness is about paying attention, but it’s not enough to simply pay attention. Additionally, we must work with kindness, accepting all the messy parts of ourselves with compassion and not resentment.

A large part of our lives happens in our heads, hence, inorder to change our lives, the best place to start is our minds.

In the fast paced world we live in, there are millions of things rushing through our brain at a time. Taking care of all of these things leaves us no time to make the bigger, more important decisions that will take us from simply existing to living a life with meaning.

While we are connected with people all over the world, the real question is: are we connected with ourselves?

In the same way that pauses or rest give shape and beauty to music pieces, the appropriate intervals in our lives are what allow our thoughts to expand and give meaning to our lives.

Now that we’ve learned a little about mindfulness, let’s look at how we can start practising it.

1. Give yourself pockets of empty time and space to prevent being in constant action. You can do this in a number of ways. For instance, look out of the window, especially if you have a calming view. Find a room that is empty and sit in it for a while and focus on your breathing. 

2. After waking up, instead of making yourself available for the world, set aside time to sit in a peaceful place to ensure that you start the day in the right frame of mind. If you don’t have nature around you, you could simply sit in your balcony where there’s fresh air. Note that when you begin to meditate, it doesn’t mean your thoughts will not surface. It means observing them and redirecting yourself to a focal point and breath can be that focal point. 

3. Making a conscious decision to not use any device during a journey. If you happen to be someone who travels a lot, it could work in your favor to use that time as a way to recharge and reflect. Even if you can’t think of any particular decision you need to make, just sit and feel at ease. 

Not just during travel but in general it’s best to turn off notifications so that technology doesn’t control you. Instead, open certain apps when you’re free to engage with them without being prompted to do so each time they beep. 

4. After journaling your thoughts or after talking to your partner about your day, mindfulness can prove really helpful in just sitting by yourself. Since you’ve already spoken about your day, there’s a high chance that some other important things may come to light.

5. Use your body to heal your mind. There are various ways to do this including:

  • Dancing : Find a place where you can have your privacy and dance to your comfort songs. It doesn’t matter what you look like; nobody is watching you anyway. Make sure no mirrors are around or you’ll end up judging yourself. 
  • Grounding : Walking on the ground barefoot can help pull you into the present. Grounding techniques are proven to be helpful in reducing cortisol as well. 
  • Allow your body to unnumb and feel your emotions : Once you allow it, you will begin to  realise that it’s easier to allow your emotions to move themselves. Allow your body and mind to process and air your emotions. If it’s anger, scream and kick and punch the pillow near you. To release laughter, laugh, scream, kick and free yourself. To release sadness, cry. 
  • Using self massage : During a self-massage, you use your hands or other tools like a foam roller or even a tennis ball to manipulate your own muscles. This involves kneading the skin and applying pressure in certain spots. You know your own body best, so this technique can prove to be highly effective in stimulating and rejuvenating your body. 

Whatever is stopping you from practising mindfulness, remember that it’s those tasks and those people that you will be able to serve better. Begin to take time off for yourself to ponder and be more present.

If you’re having trouble with how to begin or feel stuck at any point, Incontact has a team of wonderful counsellors to assist you. Headover to incontact.com.sg to book your appointment today!

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