We live in a world that now more than ever glorifies the idea of multitasking. The art of doing many things, but never doing one thing well. Endless “To Do” lists, but rarely items completed.
When we learn to be more focused and attentive, what we get is a more fulfilled life and the ability to discern the difference between being busy and being present.
Why meditate? Why take time out of your day to make more time in your day? Meditation is an essential part of life if you want to live life well.
4 Ways Meditation Helps you Stay Focused
Meditation allows you space and time to figure out where you want to put your focus. That feeling of overwhelm can easily distract us from moving forward in life, and meditation offers us a gateway to breathe, feel, and process that overwhelms and move forward. Meditation helps you: keep the past in the past, the future is in the future, and the present is the present, which is the real gift.
1. Meditation gives you space
The second we begin to feel stressed, it’s like the flood gates opening in the Red Sea, and we get gobbled up in the waves of our mind. Everything is larger than life, more complicated, more stressful, and we are left feeling inadequate. When we stop to meditate, even just for a minute, where we close our eyes and breathe, feeling each breath, the perspective you then gain can help you take that next step forward. Meditation doesn’t have to be you in a particular room, sitting on a fancy cushion for 20 minutes two times a day. Meditation can be your breathing as you watch the red light turn green paying attention to nothing more while in your car. Mediation can be you taking that breathe or sitting silently, directing your mind before a big meeting. That space can give you the freedom to make a better choice. And that choice will be made with more focus, concentration, and potentially a better outcome.
2. Meditation helps you breathe more.
The average person breathes 21,000-24,000 times per day. That’s 960 breaths per hour and roughly 16 breaths per minute. How many of those breaths are you aware of? You don’t need to know fancy breathing tips, but the simple art of tuning into your breathing can help you calm down, relax, focus, and even do things like lower blood pressure and has also been shown to affect cortisol levels positively. And best of all, it all happens for free. No money spent, other than your time spent focused on the very thing that is keeping you alive- your breath. Try this:
- Set a timer on your phone for one minute.
- Close your eyes.
- Place one hand on your belly and one on your chest.
- Take a deep breath in and feel your belly and chest expand.
- Then take a deep breath out.
- Try for an inhale of three counts and an exhale of six. Or an inhale of four, and an exhale of eight.
When we make the exhale longer than the inhale, we calm and relax the mind. And we all tend to make better decisions when we are calm, focused, and relaxed-right?
3. Meditation helps you see your end game more clearly
When don’t we know where we are going? How can we expect to know how to get there? The business of our day to day lives can cloud our vision and our ability to feel out what we want from life. By taking a meditation time out, we can alter the viewpoint of where we are and where we want to be. I love going for nature walks without my devices or distractions. Walking in nature solo helps me sift through my thoughts and get clear on what I want. It’s called walking meditation. Every step you take, every sound you hear, and every thought you have is felt, validated, and like the wind blows away. When we shift away from the “what if” feelings, we can get in touch with “real life” and the emotions that come with it. That experience can help you figure out what it is you want to move towards, and we then shift our mind to see what is in front of us and where it is leading.
4. It helps us adapt to life’s changes more quickly
With COVID, our world is turned upside-down, and it is clear that we as a society need tools to cope and see what good can come of this very stressful situation we are all in better.
Sometimes we can’t change what is in front of us, but we can change how we see it and possibly benefit from it when we shift our focus. The next time you are doing the dishes, grocery shopping, folding clothes, doing your work, or talking on the phone to a friend or family member- do just that. Be present, be fully involved in whatever you are doing.
Resist the temptation to check your Instagram or email, or multitask, do that one thing. At first, you may feel anxious or even guilty that you aren’t doing enough. But I assure you that what you will be doing will benefit you far more than doing many things at once, expecting fabulous results.
Even as I write this article, I am resisting pulling away from my computer; by doing so, I am more focused and with my thoughts. The result, a better article, and one more thing checked off my list of things to do.