By practicing mindfulness you can improve mental focus and increase concentration.
This has been proved by many scientific studies that explain it by the neuroplasticity principle: through mindfulness meditation we create new neuronal pathways in the brain.
“Where your attention goes energy flows” James Redfield
“What you practice goes stronger” Shauna Shapiro
I’m sure you already heard these two powerful quotes.
Here how mindfulness meditation trains your brain to be better at concentrating: each time you notice that your mind wanders off from whatever you’re focusing on, you intentionally bring your attention back to the object of your attention.
Now, attention doesn’t mean that you need to put an enormous amount of effort into achieving focus.
The idea is to make a balanced effort.
The neuroscience of mindfulness suggests lasting change requires a gradual training through time.
Experiment by trying quite hard, not trying hard at all and then find the sweet spot in the middle. Sometimes, you can almost let go of effort altogether and your mind stays focused quite happily, although this may never happen to you.
As always with mindfulness, no rules exist, so experiment and see what works for you.
Here is a five-minute meditation for improving your focus:
- Sit, every day, for five minutes.
- Practice just looking ahead and observing what is in front of you. If you are inside and alone observe the objects, the colours, the shape. If you are outside observe the people walking.
- Do this daily for a couple of weeks and see what effect it has on the rest of your life.
Here are some other tips for improving your focus:
- When at work, help yourself to be focused by turning off your email and, if possible, your phone, even for short periods of time. The lack of distraction boosts your productivity, focus and sense of satisfaction immensely.
- The next time you find yourself multi-tasking, stop. Take a deep breath. Multi-tasking reduces productivity and increases stress — avoid it when you can.
- Every day, look out for one thing that you find beautiful, such as your child or partner, a flower, a piece of architecture or the sky, and see whether you can watch and be with that beauty for a few minutes, without distraction. Your mind wanders off as usual of course, but just gently and kindly bring your attention back.
If you’re new to meditation, you may think that your attention seems to be getting worse as you practice. This isn’t true — you’re just discovering how easily your mind can get distracted! Persevere even if you feel you aren’t focusing well at all.
Trust in the process 😉
Take good care of you!
PS – Listen here to a short guided meditation to focus your attention.