Tame Your Wandering Mind
Like a dog trying to catch his own tail, we’re all guilty of coming in the way of our own progress sometimes. Often, this is because we’re mired with stress or chasing one thought after another without pause for clarity. What we forget is that there are simple techniques available to improve our concentration, and strengthen our minds. Here are five easy exercises to help you be more focused:
1. Focus on your senses
When you find yourself distracted or anxious, try the 5-4-3-2-1 grounding technique. Pay attention to everything around you, and mentally list five things you see, four things you hear, three things you can touch, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. Quietly observe what your senses are picking up, and feel present.
2. Count backwards
Adding mathematics to the equation works splendidly for concentration. Find a comfortable spot to sit upright, take a few deep breaths in and out, and start mentally counting backwards from 100 to 1. The menial nature of this task will help the brain focus better. You can also try counting backwards, skipping three numbers as you go along, like 100, 97, 94, 91, 88 and so on.
3. Sit still
This may seem like the easiest exercise, but it will take all your will power to just be. Find a comfortable chair and stay as still as you can, centering your attention solely on your breath. Over time, this will be a great way to relax and find inner balance. Apps like Insight Timer help keep track of time for this.
4. Memorize something
Select a poem you love, or a book passage that resonates with you, and memorize it. Recite it quietly in your head or in front of a mirror. Memorizing is a great way to exercise your mind muscles. Make a habit of memorizing something new every week, and watch the magic unfold.
5. The 4-7-8 Technique
The 4-7-8 breathing exercise is our favourite way to fall asleep. Exhale completely through the mouth. Take a deep breath from your nose for 4 counts with the mouth closed. Hold the breath for 7 counts. Then release the breath through the mouth for 8 counts. Repeat the cycle.