The problem of most people is severe lack of concentration: people spend half their day in “default mode”, where they’re unhappy because of the constant distractions of everyday life. In default mode, they’re constantly doing something distraction, whether it’s checking emails while on travel, having dinner while being plugged in to the Internet, or basically anything that involves doing two things at once.
So how can you shift from default mode to focus mode, where you shift your attention to only one activity, and manage your stress in the long run? The answer lies in meditation, which, according to Amit Sood, the author of The Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-Free Living, is nothing more than trained attention.
1. Walking Meditation
This method is simple, but has powerful effects on managing your negative energies. First, look for a space outside, then start walking at a slow pace as you focus on your feet. Pay attention to your feet as it touches the ground, until it’s flat on the ground, and as you raise it up again to make another step.
Sometimes, your focus will waver and your mind will go elsewhere. When this happen, simply go back to your feet. This will help you be more in control and in the present moment.
2. Novel experiences
I don’t mean that you have to actively seek danger and go for the extraordinary. In fact, you can relish in novel experiences even in the everyday details.
Meditation for a deeper focus
Try this: When you come home and meet your family at the end of the day, pretend like you haven’t seen them in 30 days. To an extent, yes, you’ll be faking this feeling. But it may help to think about transience, Sood says. There’s only a finite number of evenings you’ll have with these people you love. For example, Sood thinks of his oldest daughter, who is 8 and 1/2 years old. “She will be off to college in 2,000 evenings, and 2,000 is a very small number.”
Another way to support this feeling of novelty is to aim for acceptance. “Our brain is a fault-finding machine,” Sood says. “My goal is that, for the first 10 minutes at home, I try to improve nobody.”
This practice isn’t limited to family. Try creating a fresh perspective of just about anyone you see in your everyday life, such as co-workers and neighbors, to pull you into focus mode. (Read more here)
3. Silent gratitude
All you need to do is close your eyes: think of the person you’re grateful for and send them a “silent gratitude”, a an expression of thankfulness for that person’s role in your life. Do this for a second, third, and fourth time—and picture how grateful these people are for what you said. These expressions of silence, you’ll find, will work in early mornings, in between appointments, in the waiting line, or while waiting for the stoplights. Do this, and you will feel like you’re not missing out so much on people who are not as present in your life.