The Hidden Power of Focus
It’s 2:30 in the afternoon and you are starving. There’s no time to eat so you grab another protein bar and hastily munch it down. There are calls you need to make, letters you need to mail, and oh yeah, that’s right, the kids. It’s just another day in the life of our high-functioning busy individuals; the busy human powerhouses that I have come to know and love.
Having lived most of my of my own life powered by this high-octane fuel, I know how great it feels to fly high on the wings of extreme productivity. I also know how easy it is to lose a precious sense of peace and happiness, when you’re swirling around in the constant barrage of things to-do.
The fact is that our bodies produce a stress hormone known as cortisol when we are caught in the frantic life-style of our busy do-it-all-in-one kind of days. This fight-or-flight mechanism was created as a way to respond to stress. But many contemporary researchers and psychologists agree: The elevated levels of cortisol in our society is public health enemy number one. In addition to advancing aging and age-related illness, living with persistently elevated cortisol interferes with learning and memory, lowers immune function, increases weight gain and multiplies the risk for developing depression and other mental illnesses. Want to decrease your levels of cortisol production? Cultivating a strong sense of focus is secret weapon #1.
Tip #1 Create More Focus in Your Life
Meditation masters call it ‘Mindfulness’. But this ancient ‘mystical’ technique is nothing more than focusing your attention intently on the very thing in front of you. If you are on a call, be on that call. Immerse yourself in the sound of that person’s voice. Listen closely to the subtleties in their expression instead of thinking in advance about what it is that you want to say. If you're alone and in-route somewhere, just take that time to be alone. Use that moment for yourself and surrender to the sweet and tender silence underneath the daily noise. Focus on your heart beating and recognize the feelings you experience when your lungs expand in each passing breath.
By consciously creating these moments of inner-silence, you are actually decreasing the levels of cortisol raging in your body’s system. You will feel less stress and experience more happiness. Your learning, memory, and ability to focus will all drastically improve. Sound good? Give it a try:
3 Simple Techniques to Slow Down, Improve Your Focus, and Stop the Cortisol Spin:
1) Eat Slowly, Consciously, & Gratefully: Be it that protein bar, salad, or delectable 5-course meal, take your time to eat and chew slowly. Put all your attention to the tastes and the textures. Become fully aware of your palate, your sensations, and the temperatures of the meal. Try to have at least one meal a day if not more in complete silence. Close your eyes and smile if you happen to be alone.
2) Make Space: Often in our busy lives, we get caught up in the momentum and forget to take a break. When you find yourself at a stoplight or a crosswalk, just press the pause button. Put down your cell phone and use those few simple seconds to reconnect to the silence of your being. In today’s overstimulated lives, cultivating that strong sense of peace and focus comes from practicing this skill repeatedly. If you slowed down enough to hear the gentle vibrating buzz of a hummingbird’s wing, Congratulations! You have arrived.
3) Slow to a Complete Stop: When you feel your emotions or mind racing like a tornado, it’s time to slow to a complete stop. Sit down and close your eyes if you can, taking the deepest breath you can manage. Count and hold for 5. Let it go as slowly as possible, counting the number of seconds on your exhale to the number of 10 or more. Take another slow breath in. Hold for 5 and exhale as slow as possible. Breathe out until every last bit of oxygen has been pushed from your lungs. Repeat these steps until you feel that the tornado of panic has completely faded away.
With the regular application of these three basic techniques, you will start to experience what it feels like to live with lowered levels of Cortisol. You can also start to watch how the power of Focus can dramatically shift your experiences in life. Your connections with others will deepen and your sense of mind-made panic will start to subside. A quiet serenity will begin to well up as you capture the hidden power of Focus.
Want to learn more on how Cultivating Focus can help you create your own personal garden paradise? Contact: Andrea Vielma, LMFT 619-663-VIDA or visit www.Alma-Vida.com for more.
Andrea Vielma, MA LMFT is a licensed marriage and family therapist (MFC88763) specializing in the unique needs of high-functioning individuals. She provides eclectically inspired transformational personal coaching or private therapy services that blend science with a de-mystified non-denominational approach to spirituality. Support is aimed at re-connecting people to their own unique power and removing the blocks that keep them from total happiness, freedom, fulfillment and joy.