Your summer is already full without adding more to it. Honestly, your life is already full to the brim year round. On top of that, if you’re like most of the rest of Americans, you’re dealing with major information overload even when you do get freetime.
How many of you find yourself mindlessly jump online and start clicking through Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram…all day long? Are you focusing on the right things when you have downtime? Research shows that many of us not only don’t recognize how important what we focus on is, but that we don’t even think about where our focus is. I read this article by the Huffington Post on how few of us know how to focus these days and wanted to reshare a few ways ways to focus so that you can have improved physical and mental health.
In The Role of Focus in Managing Your Health author Daniel Goleman talks about just how critical focus is, He writes “Focus is the basic mental skill that supports everything people in the fitness industry are trying to do: help you monitor your own activities, nutrition and mindset about body image and eating.”
I completely agree. There is a crucial piece that lots of us are failing to grab that Goleman captures so well. That is that we have to start with self-awareness.
Consider his first point that “Half the trick of getting into a healthy routine is to notice that you’re not exercising, you’re not eating right, or you have adifficult relationship with food or body image.” Does that sound like you? If it does, you need to start by writing down what you are NOT doing and key in on how neglecting those things is negatively affecting your overall health. Maybe you are NOT sleeping enough. Maybe you are NOT dealing with stress well. There are lots of possibilities here.
Goleman also talks about working on your “mental gym.” He explains an awesome benefit of focus, which delivers “the ability to enhance your concentration” and by extension “helps motivate you to work out and eat healthier, [helping] you in the ‘mental gym.’” Strong concentration skills are connected to success in competitive athletics, in academic pursuits, in business meetings, etc. To work on improving your health, you have to include your mental approach to the entire equation, and that means building concentration skills.
It’s not just enough to notice what you’re NOT doing or to work on building your focusing skills. You also need to realize that you will continue to drift off or to “wander” to key in on what Goleman writes. “That’s the way the mind is wired. When your mind wanders off, just notice that it wandered.” I love what he says—he says: “You have to go to the balcony of your mind and see what’s going on inside.” After you’ve trained your brain to catch yourself in the act, you can add on some type of specific action to get it back on track. He suggests using your breath, an object, a statement, or any action as a tool to get you back on track.
Getting physically fit and maintaining a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be complex! Much of the reason we feel so overwhelmed is because we don’t know how to combat all the information coming in, we don’t know how to filter it, or we don’t know what to do with it, which is why I am sharing this with you. I hope that these three little tips can simplify the principle of focus! Give it a week and let’s see how it goes. Comment to share your experience here.