3 Exercises to Focus Your Mind
The Power of Presence
Any and all humans are susceptible to the incessant chatter of the mind. Add school, business or any other responsibility and that chatter grows from a split conversation to a whole town meeting. If you are trying to do eight things at once, dreading or projecting their outcomes, how can you even come close to performing the current task at your full potential? Herein lies the power of presence.
Meditation. 90% of people have heard the word, a portion of those maybe have even adopted the courage to sit down and quiet their thoughts, but I am going to go out on a limb here and say that upon sitting down, your experience went as follows. You sit down and think to yourself, “Stop thinking, stop thinking. No thoughts. Blank. This is really uncomfortable. Did I lock the door? Ah!”
It’s so common! My experience guiding meditation has shown me that the fear of that experience itself is what keeps people from centering their focus and calming their mind. I am here to debunk your story and offer a few tips that will give you power in the present moment.
Meditation can happen anytime that you are focusing on one thing and one thing only. That thing does not have to be bliss but can be your talk that you are writing, the conversation you are having or even the food that you are eating.
Here are 3 Exercises to Focus Your Mind (and Grow Your Business):
- Try taking a bite of next meal and notice everything about the experience. Notice the rush of flavors as you chew, delight in the pleasure hormones your brain releases. As you swallow, feel the chewed up food move down the throat, following it as far down as you can. That is a meditation.
You cannot control your brain but you can train it. The brain is a rabid dog at times that runs wildly eating up all of your good intentions. Try to tell yourself to think a certain thought or feel a specific emotion and take notice of the pop up bubble that says, “yeah, but what if it doesn’t work?”, “mm.. that is a great thought but it’s probably not true”. Do not fret, like a wild dog, it can be tamed. When those negative thoughts do start to appear, you have the power to direct them back to where they belong.
- When you are working on something and a thought raids your focus, write it down. Make a note to come back to it. Take a breathe. Refocus on your current task. Resume. (You may have to do this 100 times when you begin but after a while you will notice the thoughts interrupt less and less).
Practice reassuring yourself of the power of presence. A huge part of fear, whether it is public speaking or handing in your final project, is imaginary future projections. We create huge, disastrous events in our mind from things as small as typing on a piece of paper. Will people really boo you? Not likely. Will your teacher tear up your paper in a flurry of disgust? Improbable. You cannot control what happens in the future, you only have control of what you do at this exact moment. Your teacher is not shredding any reports in this moment so bring your focus to what does matter right now because what you are doing at this exact moment is not hard.
- Break it down. Is walking into an office hard? No. Is putting together a sentence terrifying? NO! Presenting a concept and conducting an interview is just that. Rather than projecting a situation into an event, focus on each small part that makes up that event and remind yourself of the power that you have in the present.
Science Agrees; Yoga Has Significant Effect on Cellular Health
It’s no secret there are innumerable health benefits to practicing yoga. Incorporating different elements of yoga into your life can result in profoundly positive changes to your mental and physical state. But what if implementing these yogic practices could actually affect your cellular composition? This might come as no surprise to swamis and devout yogis, but now science is beginning to find evidence that this may be true in both quantum and physiological studies.
Changes at the Micro Level
Our bodies replicate and produce new cells at a rate of roughly two million per second. Over the course of a day, that adds up to hundreds of billions of new cells. Aside from growth, many of these cells have different roles, often producing different proteins needed for necessary bodily functions. But with so much of this cell growth occurring, there is plenty of opportunities for mistakes and mutations to occur.
Of course, our bodies have systems for repairing faulty cells, but the process can go one of two ways. When a cell is found to be mutated, it is essentially told to destroy itself. These cells contain substances that can be harmful if expelled suddenly in a process called necrosis. Certain cellular substances can be toxic to other cells around them leading to inflammation and other negative side effects, known as cytotoxicity. But when this cell death occurs in a controlled process called apoptosis, the cell is contained with none of the potentially harmful material escaping and interacting with other cells.
Cell necrosis can be caused by a number of things, ranging from physical trauma to toxins and pathogens. And when our bodies experience illness and disease, the whole process of cell renewal can become inhibited and bogged down. Cell growth and repair can also be hindered by heat and stress.
A change in just a few degrees can lead to the unraveling of cell proteins and their subsequent death. Stress from environmental factors can also affect us at a cellular level, to the point that it can have a negative impact on hereditary traits passed down to our children. So, what can we do to prevent this?