MINDSET: Focus

Recent studies reveal:
 People who focus, have self – control and delay gratification have better quality lives regardless of social or economic backgrounds.
 The ability to focus helps you learn faster.
 Being able to switch your focus on and off when needed makes you happier.

Distraction and how to refocus

1. Distraction
There are two main varieties of distractions – sensory and emotional.
Sensory distraction is just that, background noise, sounds, shapes, colours, tastes, smells, etc. The brain has become good at being able to tune out these types of sensory distractions.
Emotional distraction is harder to tune out from. This can be any type of stress, upset, relationship issues etc. Those who focus best are relatively immune to emotional turbulence, more able to stay unflappable in a crisis and to keep on an even keel despite life’s emotional waves.

2. Five ways to help you refocus
1. Admit you are off task.
2. Remind yourself of the original task and why it’s important.
3. Eliminate distractions.
4. Refocus by choosing a starting point. E.g. a marker of where you are reading.
5. Pay attention to small details to narrow your focus to the task at hand.

Overload and switching off

Tightly focused attention gets fatigued – much like an overworked muscle – when we push to the point of mental exhaustion. The signs of mental fatigue, such as a drop in effectiveness and the rise of distractedness and irritability, signify that the mental effort needed to sustain focus has depleted the glucose that feeds neural energy.

To restore our mental energy we need to switch from effortful attention, where the mind needs to suppress distractions, to letting go and allowing our attention to be captured by whatever presents itself. Disengagement is the first step. Fully focusing on something relaxing where we use the sensory systems (walking in the park, playing and having fun, nothing that requires effortful focus). I call this “changing channels”.

You can learn more about this and much more at www.studysamurai.com