The Art of staying focused

Mindfulness is the new buzzword.  Everyone I stumble upon seems to be bestowing the value from practicing the art.  And I've seen the evidence for myself.  I've chatted to those who have been sufficiently self disciplined to take stock, stop and reflect during their business day.  Using FOCUS to help them bring some calm to an otherwise turbulent day.

I wonder though - when you're in the middle of a muddle.  Is it so simple to unravel your thoughts and apply this amazingly disciplined view of the world.  Or does 'Mindfulness' remain an aspirational buzzword that you view from a distance as aspirational!

I wanted to unpack the topic and explore/ share a simple 'how to' guide - for applying Mindful principles when you're right in the midst of a fog...

So - here goes!

As the American professor Jon Kabath-Zinn, who is known as the father of Mindfulness, explains “mindfulness is paying attention in a particular way: 

on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally.”

In simple terms, mindfulness  is the ability to have clarity  and freedom from habitual ways of thinking and reacting. 

So with that in mind - let's think about how you can apply that when your brain is hell bent on behaving in the way it always does.  Typically chastising you when you're procrastinating.  Leaving you to overthink a problem.  And simply not letting you break the cycle...

Spend some time in silence, doing nothing. You can anchor your attention on your breath.

Change your environment - walk briskly up or down a set of stairs.  Go outside.  Move from your desk.  Hug a dog.  Do anything to move your brain away from its current thought pattern.

If you're exercising and you're overthinking a problem from the day before - try to do it by staying in the present. Don't lose yourself in trash TV.  Just think about calming your mind.  

Stay non-judgmental as far as possible and instead focus on what’s going on right now instead of thinking about the future or past. We can wind ourselves into a fizz when we get caught up with 'what was' or 'what will/might be'.

Whenever you overthink, try to ask yourself questions to focus on the present. 

Of course - easier is said than done.  And I for one, know it's tricky to take yourself out of an overthought situation, but sometimes it takes a small shift rather than a big leap. Then reward yourself for doing it!  Going back to a problem when you're back in charge of your thinking generally delivers a solution.  Letting your subconscious mind do its job - is sometimes all we need to calm the mental storm.