Admiration for a quality or an art
can be so strong
that it deters us
from striving to possess it.
When your mind is racing from one thought to the next, it can be very difficult to meditate or even keep your mind on the road you are trying to drive. Here are a few strategies to help prevent distractions or learning how to work with them so that you can improve your concentration.
MinimizeYour Inner Distractions
1. Get more rest. Six to eight hours of sleep is a good rule to follow for most, but there are individual differences. If your thinking gets dreamy and you fall asleep whenever you sit down, take this as a warning sign you need more slumber.
2. Exercise and eat well. Your mind works much better when you keep your body fit. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily and eat a balanced diet with lots of vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and some healthy fats.
3. Sit up. Just sitting up straight can help keep your mind from sinking. Tighten those abdominal muscles to support a straight back. Relax your shoulders and draw them back so your neck and head fall into alignment.
4. Make yourself comfortable. Good posture, although may feel a little strane at first, feels good when you get used to it. Pay attention to your body. Shift positions if your foot is starting to fall asleep or if your legs need more room.
5. Take deep breaths. Breathing fully and completely from your diaphragm helps to carry more oxygen to your brain and makes it easier to manage your thoughts. It is one reason why meditation sessions often start with breathing exercises.
Minimize Your Outer Distractions
1. Limit your time online. Studies have shown that checking email is one of the biggest ways people waste and lose track of time these days. Resolve to finish writing that report before you let yourself log onto Facebook or play another video game.
2. Watch less Television. If TV is consuming too much of your time, keep the set turned off unless there is something truly special that you want to watch. You will avoid the temptation to channel surf.
3. Turn off your phone. Try turning your phone off when urgent calls are unlikely to occur. You can check your voice mail later for any calls you need to return.
4. Let people know when you need to avoid being interrupted. Try to develop systems for letting your children and co-workers know when you need to avoid non-emergency interruptions. You might choose to designate some regular hours if you work at home or let colleagues know that you will be tied up until later in the morning.
5. Create a peaceful atmosphere. Clearing away clutter can help you settle down to work. Put next week’s agenda out of sight if it is continually drawing your attention away from the current day’s projects.
Working With Distractions
1. As quickly as possible, bring your mind back to your task. Distractions will still come at you, but you can make them less lengthy. Monitor your thoughts so that you can promptly return your focus to your work.
2. Remain neutral, as often as possible. Put aside judgmental thoughts. Instead of feeling guilty about getting off track sometimes, take notice of your progress and reward yourself.
3. Loosen up. Even Zen masters remain aware of their surroundings while meditating. If you are busily contending with leaf blowers and car alarms, be patient and try to wait them out.
4. Really examine tour recurring thoughts. A nagging thought could indicate an issue that is important for you to address. Perhaps you need to talk with your aging parents to ensure that they are getting proper medical care, or maybe you just need to get your oil checked, or actually get that check engine light looked at.
Daily, life is full of distractions, but you can often prevent them or find ways to manage their impact on your ability to concentrate. By stilling your mind, you’ll feel more relaxed and adept at everything you need to do.
To your continued success!!