Train your ability to be aware in the present moment
During challenging times it helps to keep focusing on useful and constructive matters rather than getting lost in loads of informations, we don’t even know if it is true or not. The latter can easily distracts us from the important things or even bring us down. If you are not yet totally focused and concentrated, you can start with a little mental exercise today:
Meditation is the one ritual that so many successful people practice that seems to make a huge difference in terms of success and contentment. These people have their aspirations clear and do not invest too much energy into distractions. They are aware of how their body-mind-emotion system operates and how to update it. They learned and keep training their ability to focus and concentrate on what is important to them and consciously engage their energy right there. In Europe, it is not common to be taught how to concentrate. Instead we practice distracting almost all day long, switching attention from one thing to another without consciously choosing to do so.
Learn to direct your awareness to here and now
In coaching I like to use this little metaphor of a torch as a simple way to train to direct your awareness to be here now (instead of allowing it to go all over the place like a wild horse…).
Imagine the mind as a vast space with many sections. The “torch of awareness” is a light that can light up any section you direct your focus on. If you keep the torch on that section longer, you concentrate on that section. Imagine you have this little torch and you can use it to light up certain sections within the the mind: light up the emotion section (focus on your emotions), change focus to the food section, turn over the light to the senses section, go back to the food section, etc.. Where your torch of awareness goes somewhere else, your focus, attention and energy leaves as well. In whatever you choose to engage longer, that’s what you concentrate on. That’s were you consciously or unconsciously keep focusing the torch. That area seems to become “bigger” in your world, both in you mind and in your perception.
Here is a little mental exercise that can take you in a different state of awareness in only half a minute or so. I discovered this imaginative “trick” when I lived in the mountains of Lake Tahoe. Practicing regularly, it can take you in a different state of awareness instantly. Note: Do not exercise/ read on if you suffer from animal phobia!
In Lake Tahoe, you still find mountain lions. They are rare, but if you happen to see one, it is certainly an impressive encounter in wilderness. You don’t want to mess with this majestic animal. There were rumors, a mountain lion was in the area. Next thing you know, a neighbor saw the lion right behind our houses. Here is the exercise to learn to focus on here and now (versus getting lost in distractions):
Try this right here where you are: imagine there could be a wild animal anywhere hidden near you. Imagine all you have to do in order to not mess with the wild animal is to stay calm and be aware, then, there is no risk, you are and stay in your space, the lion stays in its space. There is space for all. Just be totally aware and stay calm.
You start being present, using your senses in a much more attentive way than before. You could use another animals as a trigger for this experiment, e.g. a scarred baby cat or an insect. Your senses (such as seeing or hearing) are totally tuned into here and now. You are present with all you senses.
You start looking more clearly. You start moving more consciously. You start breathing more consciously. The invitation is, to experiment with the imaginative situation to notice your own power to shift from allowing your attention go wild and distracted to being here now!
Once you managed to experiment with this exercise a few times, you can “install a trigger”, such as snipping your finger, to get you into this state of higher or clearer and awareness without having to imagine wild animals.
This may sound ridiculous or irrelevant at first. Yet, if you suffer from your attention going all over the place like a monkey, this can be a simple start to gain control over your ability to focus and concentrate.
This experiment is free of risk, has no cost and needs hardly any time. You will notice that it is your choice if you want to learn to chose what you focus on, or prefer to allow to be distracted.