Low attention span or difficulty in focusing is becoming a common problem for many. With so many entertainment options readily available, it has become easy to be distracted and to procrastinate. Our work takes the hit and that, in turn, makes us feel bad. Instead of dismissing your lack of focus as something you have to deal with, learn to increase it.
Like our body, our mind needs exercise too. The areas we consider to be weak can be built up if we put our mind to it. Just because our focus isn’t as strong as we would like it to be, doesn’t mean you have to accept the fact and do nothing about it. Try to better it. There are things, practices, and exercises that if done regularly, can help you increase your focus.
If you didn’t know, meditation has different types that focus on different areas. Mindfulness meditation can help you boost your attention span significantly. Not only that, meditation in itself can help you relax, and become calm and collected. Now, that your mind has relaxed and is free of a thought jumble, it becomes easier to focus on things that actually matter.
Meditation for just 10 to 20 minutes a day will help you increase your focus and attention span. Start your mornings by focusing on your breathing for a few minutes, followed by your meditation ritual. You can also do some light breathing exercise just before doing something that requires focus to clear your mind.
2. Include practicing mindfulness in your day
While mindfulness meditation helps you become more aware and helps increase your focus. Practicing mindfulness throughout your day will help you fight distractions and focus on the tasks at hand. Mindfulness simply is being very attentive to every aspect of the task you are doing, and also noticing every small detail about your task.
It can seem like it isn’t easy, but it is. What I do is that I imagine I am writing about whatever I am doing – not informative writing but descriptive. So, suppose I am eating my lunch, I will pay attention to the cutlery, the color of my food, the smell, the taste, the texture of each ingredient. I will focus on chewing and swallowing, on the feeling it gives rise to.
What we usually do is that we focus on distractions while eating, and our primary task somehow becomes secondary. Our focus shifts towards our phones or the shows we are watching. This is what happens with many of our tasks.
3. Don’t listen to music while working
Many of us have the habit of listening to music while working on something. While it helps people most of the times and can be a good thing, it does the opposite for people with poor focus. If you know the song, then you are most probably going to sing along, and that stops you from giving your all to the task at hand.
Let’s say you are doing something that is going to be using the same parts of your brain, then will doing those things together make sense? No, right? When you are doing something that uses motor functions like your household chores, then listening to music is fine, but not while reading if you don’t have a high focus level.
4. Build your willpower
Willpower will allow you to ignore distractions like playing songs or using your phone and will help you to stay focused on the task at hand. Consciously saying no to yourself whenever you feel like doing something else is very important and a skill that you should definitely develop if you want to increase your focus level.
Your attention span will be served well with intentionally trying to focus and also having strong willpower isn’t only good for building your focus but also for being productive. At the end of the day, what you do or do not do boils down to your willpower, saying no to distractions depends entirely on your willpower.
5. Increase your focus gradually
Like any habit, you need to start slow. Like when starting exercise, you are advised to start slow because your body might not be able to take it, the same goes for anything mental. The best way to stay focused is for you to start using the Pomodoro technique. This lets you start working in bouts so that you can start with a short amount of focusing time.
You traditionally work for 25 minutes and then take a five minutes break. After you have repeated this four times, you can take a longer break. Because you know that you have to work for only 25 minutes, it becomes easier to focus. This is a great way to start out.
All it boils down to is will power and persistence. If you are really dedicated to increasing your focus, then you will find it easier to do things to help. I would say, convincing yourself is the hardest part, so start out by taking small steps. Don’t decide to start being completely focused for the whole day, that isn’t going to happen. Use these tips to slowly but gradually increase your focus.
5 Activities to Help You Beat Stress
We are getting more and more used to going about their days stressed out of our minds. We justify it as a side effect of working for our dreams. We find solace in the fact that eventually we will slow down and the stress will go away. We try to reason it with “our building years are supposed to be stressful.” Does it have to be though?
“You must learn to let go. Release the stress. You were never in control anyway.”
Everyone is stressed about something or the other – sure we can’t make it go away completely but we should learn how to deal with it better. Just because it is going to be a part of life, doesn’t mean we have to submit to it.
With increasing stress factors in every aspect of our lives, it is also important to learn about ways to beat stress. There are a lot of ways to help relax your body and mind and fight stress without having to go out of your way to do so. Some help you relax instantly and some are more of a long term solution to stress management.
As important it is to keep working, it is more crucial to work on ourselves because at the end of the day no amount of money or success can make up for sound health. You won’t be able to carry on long if you are stressed all the time, it will also make your work suffer. Here are some ways to help you relieve stress.
1. Go for a Walk
Walks are said to be excellent stress relievers for a number of reasons. Taking quick walks ais the simple way for many to get their thoughts in order. Taking a walk allows you to change your surroundings, the scenery, and lets you slip into a different frame of mind. If you do not have the privilege of leaving your premises for a walk – maybe you are at work – then walking around the office can do the trick too.
There’s this lifestyle practice, known as Shinrin-Yoku, which originated in Japan. It translates to forest bathing or forest therapy. Though the name includes the term bathing, Shinrin-Yoku mostly involves walking in a forested area. That’s it. There’s no specific intention required for the walk. All you have to do is to keep walking slowly while taking into the senses the environment around you, like the sights, smells and sounds.
“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”
When I am in a scenario when I need to clear my mind – usually at home – and don’t have the privilege to go out, I put on some music and pace around my home. I call this my power walk. It lets me get my thoughts in order and also work up some sweat. It works for me. If you have a garden or park nearby, that’s just perfect for a quick walk.
Aromatherapy is one of the main ways to relieve stress that is used by the masses nowadays. Different scents target different brain wave activities, which is why people create different blends by mixing various fragrances depending on their needs.
Some scents focus on decreasing stress hormones in the body. They also help you feel relaxed, energized, and more present and in tune with your surroundings. There are many ways to do this – candles, essence sticks, diffusers, etc. These things create a perfect environment for meditation, relaxation, yoga. They give you an external stimulus to relax to.
Art, or the act of creating art, is said to be relaxing; it is also the reason why adult coloring books are getting more popular. You might have heard of adult coloring books, they are based on relieving stress, being mindful, relaxation, etc.
It really doesn’t matter if you are good at it or not. The process is said to help soothe you and get you in a rhythm that then helps relieve stress and anxiety – it is not supposed to help you create art. Drawing and painting can be difficult, but coloring isn’t – comparatively – which is why coloring is the most common form of art based stress reliever.
4. Redo Your To-Do Lists
Having a lot on your to-do lists is one of the leading reasons for stress for many people – to avoid this we need to learn the art of prioritization of tasks. If you are trying to squeeze in three days worth of work in one, then obviously you are going to feel stressed – which I have been guilty of doing in the past.
This is when you should take a moment to take a step back and evaluate your situation. This will help you reduce your workload, this could be just the thing you need to get rid of the stressful feeling that has been clouding you. Having better time management skills always helps relieve some or maybe most of your stress.
While talking about stress relievers, meditation is the first thing that comes to mind. How can I not talk about it when mentioning activities that help relieve stress. It helps you relax and if turned into a habit, then it helps you with lasting stress management.
“There are times when we stop, we sit still. We listen and breezes from a whole other world begin to whisper.”
There are many types of meditation, based on what you want to focus on – whatever you need to work on the most should be your focus. You can repeat a mantra or a chant or focus on your breathing – to start sitting still, it can be difficult for people – or just practice mindfulness.
Self-care is at the base of doing things to beat stress. We often forget that it is very crucial to keep working towards your goals. The irony – of people forgetting to take care of themselves while working for their goals so that they could take care of themselves in the future – isn’t lost on me.
“Set peace of mind as your highest goal, and organize your life around it.”
When you are busy and working towards your dream, it is easy to forget about yourself and get tangled in stress. But, we have to keep reminding ourselves that nothing is as important as our well-being. Take this post as a reminder and run with it. Realizing you need to deal with your stress levels is you deciding to tackle the problem.
5 Things that Can Make Your Anxiety Worse
Anxiety has become so common among people that common cold doesn’t seem that common anymore. Feelings of worry, nervousness, or unease about things are very easy to be found. Human emotions have become more suppressed with the want of succeeding in life, we have lost touch with our true selves.
We have become obsessed with uncertain outcomes that give us a feeling of anxiety. The strong desire or concern to do something or for something to happen that is not even in our control is what takes over our rational thinking most of the times. We aren’t helping it with our habits either.
Our lifestyles have become so cumbersome that things that worsen our anxieties have become more acceptable. We don’t even realize what some of the innocent-seeming habits we possess can be the cause of our anxiety. Let’s discuss some of those today.
1. Irregular Sleep
Everyone is after busy lives these days, having no time to rest has become the new hip. People brag about how little sleep they get. It is sort of becoming a competition where we top the other person by telling them how little sleep we are getting. Having no sleep pattern messes up our body, this is something that we will eventually realize.
Working hard is misconstructed as late nights and early mornings, meaning no rest whatsoever. Another reason that people have difficulty falling asleep is spending time on social media with fear of missing out (FOMO) lingering over our shoulders – this has been seen to be a reason for anxiety in many people.
“The minute anyone’s getting anxious I say, ‘You must eat and you must sleep.’ They’re the two vital elements for a healthy life.”
Worrying about our work, life, and whatnot already makes it difficult to fall asleep for people with anxiety, now, add to that spending hours scrolling through various apps that cause more anxiety – the result is irregular sleep.
Irregular sleep doesn’t only impact our physical health negatively, but our mental and emotional health is affected as well – anxiety being one of them.
2. Stress and Conflict
Stress has become a great part of everyone’s life. There are a lot of things that have started taking over people’s will to spend time for themselves, even when free there is something to think about. Personal and professional are not the only worries for people now, economical, political, environmental, etc. all take precedence because of people becoming more aware.
“It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials.”
It is a good thing, obviously, but we don’t know how to stop or when to stop. Knowing the line when we take our thinking to the level of it becoming harmful to us is becoming more difficult. Not only that people have been becoming less patient because of always being in a rush to be somewhere, but this has also disrupted communication among people.
Between what is said and not meant, and what is meant and not said – conflicts are rising – important things are often lost and actual thoughts forgotten. The fear of saying something other than what you want to, of offending someone, of uncountable other things – stops people from even trying to put their ideas across.
“Peace is not the absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.”
On the other hand, the ease of putting your thoughts out there easily through social media has also made people speak (or type) without thinking. Lack of communication can cause a lot of problems not only in your personal life but your professional life as well – so many people have lost jobs because of one wrong tweet they sent out without thinking. All of these things, make your anxiety worse.
Be mindful of what you put out and be mindful of what you let yourself invest your energy in.
3. Watching and/or Reading a Lot of Negative News and/or Stories
All of us have our fair share of problems. This makes starting our day with optimism difficult. Clearing our mind of negativity or negative thoughts is something everyone is seeking right now. You need a positive attitude to take on your day with vigour.
News usually doesn’t bring you happy things. Reading or watching News first thing in the morning isn’t a good idea because it somehow will set the tone for the day. There’s not much you can do about a lot of sad things that will be shown. You need to learn to not let it affect your day.
Some people fall into the rabbit-hole of reading or watching one sad story after another – may it be in the form of novels, articles, videos, audiobooks, etc. – this can often lead to us not feeling good about a lot of things. Anxiety reaches the roof as you go on reading. After you close the book or whatever it is that is bringing you the negativity, you can feel your anxiety levels rising.
“Quit sharing bad news and gossip you aren’t a garbage truck.”
If you are someone who doesn’t know when to stop when reading or watching what is wrong with the world or people or horrific situations, you might want to look for ways to not let yourself continue with the habit. It is detrimental to your mental health – it increases your anxiety which also happens because you become more paranoid.
4. Too Much Social Media
There is such a thing as “too much social media.” We have become so used to checking our phones every few minutes that if we don’t have our phones we immediately start feeling FOMO (Fear of missing out) which leads to anxiety. Following other people who flaunt their wealth will often make people feel dissatisfied from their own life.
“Social media is addictive precisely because it gives us something which the real world lacks: it gives us immediacy, direction, and value as an individual.”
People with insecurities can easily get their insecurities triggered which again leads to anxiety. This is why social media detox is becoming a thing. Social media detox allows people to gain perspective on their relationship with social networks. It also gives them a chance to deal with the anxiety caused by social media addiction.
5. Saying Yes to Too Many Things
You will often see “saying yes to things” in people’s goals list. The other extreme is a problem as well. Some people do not know how to say “no” which leads to them taking on more than they can deal with – overfilling their plates, biting more than they can chew – you can call it whatever you want, but it makes people more anxious.
Learning to say “no” is a skill all of us need to learn. Not saying “yes” might make us lose opportunities, but not saying “no” becomes detrimental to our health. Saying “yes” to everything also brings things we don’t want. Add saying “no” to negativity in your list so that you can learn to put yourself first.
“Learning to “just say no” to emotional reactions isn’t repression. Saying no means not engaging the frustration, anger, judgment, or blame. Without engagement, you won’t have anything to repress.”
When you understand that you are who you should be putting first, it becomes easier to accept or deny things. You don’t end up taking a lot more than you can do, and that helps you not be overwhelmed by things you need to do, which leads to our work not being associated with the feeling of anxiety.
We need to make lifestyle changes to make our life more meaningful and less stressful. You have to focus on things that bring more positivity in your life and help you achieve a state of mental peace. Habits that you form should help you become a better person, they shouldn’t be the cause of problems.
Learn to identify what causes you anxiety or even increases it a bit, and find a solution to either get it out of your life or at least find a way to deal with it better.
Why Chasing Perfection is a Futile Activity
“Perfection is attained by slow degrees; it requires the hand of time.”
Perfection takes time. Time is something that most of us scared to invest. You either invest your time or you elude it trying to save it. From the time we start understanding words and achievements, we are inspired to chase perfection. By the time you realize that there is no such thing as ‘perfection’ in this world, you have already wasted a lot of your learning years chasing it.
While looking for a perfect job, a perfect career, a perfect relationship, a perfect moment – we often forget to cherish the things we have or be thankful the opportunities we have been given – we end up losing what we have.
“When you aim for perfection, you discover it’s a moving target.”
We keep on running after an adjective that is very hard to put onto things. Perfection is going to have a different meaning for different people. Something that isn’t perfect for you is going to be perfect for someone else.
The pursuit of perfection in every aspect of your life can be very exhausting, you will be going through every stage with a looming dread of not being perfect. Even when you have done a great job, you won’t be satisfied because it does not meet your idea of perfection.
In an attempt to achieve perfection, we have laden ourselves with copious amounts of pressure for every big or little thing we do. It sort of takes out the fun from things when you are constantly striving to make it exceptionally perfect.
“Perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add but when there is no longer anything to take away when a body has been stripped down to its nakedness.”
-Antoine De Saint-Exupry
We often chase perfection so that we can stand tall in front of society. The opinions of other people affect a lot of people and that is usually the driving force. We want to prove ourselves to others – it can be someone who said we can’t do this or it can be someone we want to be proud of ourselves. What we don’t realize is that everyone is struggling to do their bit. Everyone is under the pressure of being perfect, the irony being, none of us are.
Low self-esteem and self-doubt is usually the cause of us trying to be ‘perfect’ at everything, we do this to improve our self-esteem. Self-doubt also stems from constantly comparing ourselves with others. Many people suffer from imposter syndrome. We don’t understand how that can be detrimental to the work we do. Not feeling good enough, feeling like a fraud, feeling like you don’t deserve anything can really suck the life out of you. These are the mental roadblocks that stop you from doing your best while keeping you constantly worried about chasing a state that is not that tangible – ‘perfection.’
In the years you spend chasing it, there will come a moment of clarity that will help you realize that the pursuit is futile. When you realize that you no longer have to run after being perfect – when you understand that being good enough is actually enough – that is when you feel contentment in life.
Being content is the first step of feeling satisfied with your life and with your efforts. It is a liberating feeling to finally be happy with yourself after years of beating yourself up.
“To accomplish the perfect perfection, a little imperfection helps.”
There are a lot of advantages to not chasing perfection. You start feeling more happiness and gratitude in the light of appreciating the things around you and yourself. This results in you developing an optimistic approach toward life. When you are chasing perfection, it is somehow lost. You start finding faults in all your achievements, stopping yourself from being happy about them. This leads to negativity clouding your thoughts and as a result, you start pouring the same negativity in your life.
When you let go of the notion of perfection, you allow yourself to relax and be proud of your achievements. This action triggers positive emotions within you, helping you become optimistic toward the next stage of your life. This then leads to you feeling more confident. Being confident about your abilities also stops you from running after perfection and makes you realize the worth in what you do.
Striving for perfection is a good thing because then it will make you work harder to get better day by day. With time, every skill gets better. Chasing perfection, on the other hand, is dangerous to the learning process. You need to learn the difference so that you don’t end up harming yourself in the long run.
Instead of chasing perfection, remember to strive for improvement and excellence. When you focus on becoming better than you were yesterday, you automatically open doors for yourself. You surround yourself with positivity – inside and out – making it a much-needed fuel to keep working toward your goal.
Always believe in what you can achieve no matter how imperfect you feel. There are going to be days when you don’t feel good enough. Everyone feels like that once in a while – trust me we all feel the same as humans.
When you let go of that perfection ideology, you free yourself from your own expectations tying you down. You start feeling content with your life and with the pace you are going. That is what will help you sail by, that is what will hold you aboard.
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