I think there are many reasons we have problems with focus, many reasons.
If you’re reading this on LinkedIn, Facebook or a similar website or app then you’ve been conditioned by experts to shorten your focus and at the same time lock it into their app. This is why most of us now have a very difficult time reading long articles and books. Many simply read headlines and view the images on posts before commenting rather than reading the article itself.
Every app we use has been designed by neuro-scientists to addict us to staying distracted for as long as possible so they can sell more ads to us. Look around, almost everyone from tiny children to the elderly now walk around staring at phones hardly ever looking up! This is not because the phone is so entertaining, it’s designed to trigger chemicals in our brain similar to what happens when one takes drugs like cocaine.
If you’re a Star Trek The Next Generation fan like I am you might remember this prescient episode called The Game where an alien species takes over the Enterprise with a fun game that was designed to take over the minds of the crew members. It featured a young Ashley Judd! Watch this episode sometime and keep it in mind next time you’re out in public and see people aimlessly walking around staring at their phones.
There have been recent studies that show that the excessive number of hours young people spend staring at screens is leading to much higher levels of anxiety and depression among this population. I am certain it has a similar impact on us adults as well.
Then we have perhaps the biggest obstacle to focus and that is our subconscious mind where 95% of all our thinking occurs below our conscious levels of awareness. Sitting in this stream of thought in our minds resides the patterns of thinking we learned in the formative youngest years of our lives about things like how safe we are, if people can be trusted, if money is the root of all evil or leads to arguments with loved ones, if we are good enough or as good as others etc etc.
Those negative self-defeating patterns of thinking often bubble up to our conscious awareness and life and sabotage us especially when we are trying to push ourselves to achieve challenging tasks and grow. Just when you are thinking it would be great to start reading or maybe writing that new book, a negative pattern arises to tell you about something more interesting or exciting or fun to do. Or the voice whispers What if you fail people will make fun of you or criticize you. Our own inner critic makes it hard for us to focus and succeed.
The good news from my experience is focus is always one deep breath away! We can use techniques like mindfulness meditation or focused deep breathing to center ourselves and become present in the moment where we can make more healthy productive life choices.
Sometimes being too focused can be a problem if as in my own experience I get hyper-focused and can’t shift from doing one task or project to doing others and that causes a lack of balance in life and work. Times such as these I can end up working all day on one thing when I really wanted and and needed to shift to other priorities.
There are a lot of articles on how to create more focus in life and be more productive. They mention things like;
- Turning off your phone and other distracting devices while working.
- Working on your task in a room you use for work and not for sleep or relaxation.
- Taking breaks every 30 to 40 minutes, stretching and walking around.
- Experimenting with using classical music and other instrumental music in the background while you work.
I personally have found that the key is to keep breathing deeply, and to focus on what brings you peace and joy and energy. Those things will put in you a state of “flow” where you have greater creativity and success and good health.
It’s amazing the energy and creativity that can come from simply focusing on some slow long deep breaths in and out every fifteen minutes or so. It sometimes helps to place your right hand on your heart as you breathe in and out, this creates a type of energy circuit that helps the process.
I also use my affirmations before I start any project or endeavor. This helps me clarify my intentions and channel my energy in a positive way from the very start of any activity. I like this one because I feel it’s important to remember who I am and why I do what I do each day. I like to have a connection to my goals in life and my purpose. I like to remind myself that I am here to make myself a channel of more healing and kindness in the world. That is why I created Happy Cards and Affirmations And Incantations For Happiness.
I hope you will get a chance to take a look at what we’ve created in this wonderful new happiness program so you and your friends, coworkers and loved ones can help create the focus and productive happy life you all deserve!
I’m more than happy to talk with you about focus and affirmations should you be interested in connecting with me please reach out any time.