How To Meditate And Focus Your Attention
We have long been practicing meditation at Mindful Leader to help us cope with the stresses and strains that modern-day life throws at us. A question we often get asked is what to think about when meditating. What exactly is meditation? How do you do it? And why is it so important to cultivate focused attention on a regular basis?
What Is Meditation?
Let’s start with the basics. Meditation is the art of concentrating one’s thoughts intentionally, in the present moment, to help allow the brain to focus, often in a relaxing way. Some may do it in silence, some may meditate with music. Either way, when meditation has been successful and comprehensive, people have found that they have managed to reduce stress and become calmer in even the most frenetic of situations. Meditation can take a number of different forms, but we like to adopt the mindfulness approach which has been proven to help practitioners cope with chronic pain, anxiety and depression through MBSR or mindfulness-based stress reduction.
Mindfulness meditation is not the only form of meditation, however. Other forms include spiritual meditation, movement meditation, mantra meditation, transcendental meditation amongst others. While it is key to find the form that works best for you, we advocate mindfulness meditation as we have seen the most benefits from this particular practice.
Why Is Focused Attention Beneficial In Meditation?
Focusing your attention in meditation can really help optimize the results experienced from the practice. Focused Attention Meditation is the practice of zoning in on one object or being mindful of your body and how it is feeling, for the purpose of reducing stress and anxiety. Practiced regularly, it helps practitioners be more present in their lives. Doing so can reduce distractions and worries about the future, by practicing the skill of appreciating the present. It allows individuals to take a wider view of the worries they have in their lives and accept what they can not change. Additionally, it gives them a resilient mind to better control those things they are able to alter.
Focused attention is also helpful during meditation as it stops a person from worrying or constantly being on edge about all the things they have going on in their life at that moment in time. People are becoming busier, working longer hours and finding it more difficult to disconnect from a job due to the mass introduction of technology - meaning we are contactable all day every day. Mindfulness and focused attention are ways of decluttering the brain so it is better suited to carrying out our work and everything else we all take on with family and friends.
It may feel frivolous to take time out of your day to sit and do nothing when you have so much else to do, but in the long run meditation and focused attention can make you a far more productive person. The reason is that your attention span and memory can be improved through meditation and it often promotes improved sleep and focus on daily tasks.
How To Meditate
As stated above, meditation is all about finding the right method for you. When it comes to mindfulness meditation, the key is to get comfortable and start to concentrate on your breathing and observing something, like the feeling of your own body, or the sound around you. The act of doing just these two things can often be enough to help a person feel more calm. Taking longer and deeper breaths can be helpful, but what can be highly effective is to focus on each part of your body and concentrate on how it feels.
You may be aware of a lot of tension in some areas which may provide the focus for that day’s meditation. Trying to unfurl that tension through meditation and breathwork can be extremely helpful, not only in that meditation session itself but also for your future productivity - that day and beyond. Some people find that mindfulness and meditation can take a more active form, like yoga, while for others mindfulness needs to be conducted in a still, quiet environment.
Focused Attention Through Meditation - Key Takeaways
Focused Attention may, at first, promote some cynicism in some individuals. People may be hesitant to try mindful meditation, thinking they do not have the time to just sit and actively discard most of the thoughts from their brain. But that is fundamentally missing the point. Taking a break from life’s stresses and giving your brain a rest is a key to maintaining your productivity and increasing the enjoyment of life. Learning to live in the present, as opposed to worrying about what may or may not happen in the future is one of meditation’s most significant benefits.