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‘Mindfulness’ To Focus And Reduce Stress

Have you ever come across ‘mindfulness’ to focus and reduce stress? Do you ever dwell on the past or worry about the future? ‘Mindfulness’ is a way of focusing on the present moment, rather than the past or future by concentrating on your breathing and paying attention to areas of your body, and it’s becoming increasingly common.  This article written by Julie Carr Smith for Mercury News explains how a member of Congress, Tim Ryan, uses mindfulness every day and he’s joined my marines, office workers, and tens of thousands Americans.

Mindfulness For Focus And RelaxationThe growing body of research showing the brain has the capacity to change throughout life is bringing mental fitness onto the same plane as physical fitness, said Georgetown University associate professor Elizabeth Stanley.

Stanley, who runs MMFT and conducts research for the Army and Marines, said mindfulness meditation “isn’t touchy-feely at all” in its new uses.

“There’s something very empowering about learning how and why the body and mind respond under stress,” she said.

Stanley said studies involving subjects engaged in repeated mindfulness have shown that it changes the way blood and oxygen flow through the brain, leading over time to structural changes. The practice can shrink the amygdala, which controls our fear response; enlarge the hippocampus, which controls memory; and make the insular cortex that regulates the body’s internal environment more efficient, according to recent peer-reviewed studies by Stanley and others.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are touting several recent studies that have found the technique can reduce the severity of irritable bowel syndrome symptoms in women and reduce stress and pain in chronic sufferers of fibromyalgia and depression.

Click here to read the full article

In today’s fast paced and competitive world I’m not at all surprised to hear of new methods people are using to escape the daily grind. Reading this kind of article is making me want to try mindfulness to focus and reduce stress.  Whilst it’s apparently not the same as meditation, there are distinct similarities. As I read books about highly successful people and meet successful people, I’ve began to realise how, more often than not, they engage in a daily ritual and some quiet time themselves, namely meditation, in order to establish focus for the day to come and to remove all distractions.

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4 Ways To Focus On Being More Optimistic

Optimistic people always appear happier don’t they? Could it be that they attract good things whereas negative or pessimistic people attract negative things? Here are 4 ways to focus on being more optimistic written by Deborah Kotz for Boston.com, as she reviews a book called Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain: How To Retrain Your Brain To Overcome Pessimism And Achieve A More Positive Outlook, written by neuroscientist Elaine Fox.  She explains how optimism plays a key role in success in life.  According to scientists, whether we have an optimistic or pessimistic outlook, only 30-40% of that is determined by our genes, which means that there are measures we can take to becoming more optimistic people.

1. Make a daily tally of negative and positive events. Create a list — starting from when you wake up in the morning — of all the little things that go right and all those things that go wrong, from burning the toast at breakfast to running into an old friend on the train to work. “People prone to feeling depressed and down tend to be surprised at how many good things happened to them that day,” said Fox. “Something as simple as making a list can help people gradually, over time, notice the good things when they happen, drawing the brain’s attention more and more to positive things and away from the negative.”

2. Aim for three positive experiences for every one negative one. Most optimists engage in three enjoyable activities for every one they wish they could avoid, whether it’s drinking their favorite brand of coffee, taking a yoga class, or watching a short clip online of their favorite movie just before they have to tackle that dreaded phone call to an irritated relative. The key is to build things into your day that you look forward to and to cut back on things, when possible, that you don’t.

3. Exercise every day. Getting some sort of physical activity every day works like a natural antidepressant to boost your mood, giving you a more positive feeling about life, thanks to an elevation of certain brain chemicals such as serotonin and BDNF. Yes, you should engage in activities that are pleasurable – take a dance class if you hate jogging – so you don’t violate step #2.

4. Engage in mindfulness meditation. Learning to be present in the moment can help build regions of the brain responsible for mediating your emotional states, research has shown. Those who practice mindfulness tend to feel happier and more at ease in life simply from focusing their brains on the present rather than mulling over the past or fretting about the future. Take a class or check out this video to learn the basic techniques.

The first two of these 4 ways to focus on being more optimistic were original ideas and at first glance make a lot of sense. I wasn’t surprised at all to see exercise featured in these suggestions, were you? It appears on a daily basis as an absolute basic requirement for our brains and all of our other vital organs to function properly. As well as helping you achieve your goals, I’d say that optimism is closely linked with the Law Of Attraction I touched on in the opening sentence to this post.  As Anthony Robbins advises, if we focus on what we want, rather than on what we don’t have or want, then we will achieve what we want.

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Focusing Tips For Entrepreneurs

As I have recently found out, when you don’t have a boss breathing down your neck, and working from home on the internet, it is often difficult to focus at the best of times.  These focusing tips for entrepreneurs come from an article by Gabrielle Bernstein who writes for the Huffington Post and she goes beyond the usual advice and enters into the world akin to the Law Of Attraction.  If you’re willing to open your mind to the possibility that the universe will work with you when you follow your passion, then I’d highly recommend reading this post.  Step outside your comfort zone and take a read.  I dare you.

Focusing Tips For Entrepreneurs

Focus On Your PassionThe Principles for Passion

One: Be Moved by Your Mission
I was recently asked how I created a successful career at such a young age. I responded, “I don’t remember. It’s as if I’ve been awake in a dream.” This involuntary response is a sure sign that I stepped away from the how and centered into allow. When we’re inspired by our work, an invisible creative force takes over. Call it God, call it the universe, call it spirit, call it whatever you wish. This energy force leads us to learning opportunities, supportive people, and miraculous guidance that navigates our career path.

When we invite this presence into our careers, we allow inspiration to lead the way. Tap into what inspires you most. Then allow that inspiration to take over your consciousness and show you where to go what to do and how to serve. This spiritual intervention happens to us all in unique ways. Some people quit their job out of the blue because an inner voice leads them in a new direction. Others intuitively know they have to create a side business that eventually becomes a career. The question is not, “How do I get there?” Rather, ask, “What am I passionate about?” Focus on that passion and trust the universe will lead the way.

Two: Focus on the WE, Not the ME
I built my business as a spiritual teacher, author and speaker because of my deep desire to create community and engage the masses in a transformational conversation. My focus on how I can serve others is what has helped my business most. I believe that my readers, lecture audiences and even my Twitter followers can feel my deep desire to serve the larger WE rather than serve my ego’s ME ME ME. I have learned that the best way for me to lead is to guide others to lead one another. Whatever your mission may be, be sure to focus on empowering the WE.

Three: Take Inspired Action
Often people begin their careers inspired by a mission only to get bogged down by the daily tasks that need to get done and the practical steps to move things forward. When the to-do lists and the bottom line overwhelm us, we can lose the spark that ignited our passion in the first place. The goal here is to consciously take inspired action daily. Make sure each mundane task is backed by the same fierce passion that ignited your work in the first place. When you infuse your passion into the present moment, you invite the invisible force of energy to work through you — and, in effect, you can expand time. Things get done, inspiration moves through you, deadlines get met and your work has an impact. Make inspiration your business partner.

Read the full original article here

These focusing tips for entrepreneurs may seem a little ‘out there’ to some, but I’m a big believer in such advice.  I watched The Secret a  year or so ago which is all about The Law Of Attraction.  If you haven’t seen it, then I’d highly recommend a watch.  It’s all about focusing on what you want, rather than on what you don’t have, or do not want.  If you focus on debt, you’ll attract debt, if you focus on wealth, you’ll attract wealth.  If you focus on the fact that you haven’t found love, chances are, you won’t find love.  If you focus on an image of your ideal partner, then the universe will work with you to attract that person (now that’s pretty out there isn’t it). I’ve also read a book called Think And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill that was first published in 1937.  Over a 20 year period he examined the minds of over 500 of the wealthiest, influential and powerful people of America at that time.  Not only were they wealthy in terms of money, but had found love, peace, and happiness as a whole.

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How To Focus Like A Monk

Monks are known for their laser-sharp focusing abilities.  If you would like to learn how to focus like a monk, then look no further. If you’re a regular on this site, this post may sound familiar, but it is in fact, different.  This excerpt, originally written by Leo Babauta has been take from zenhabits.net and provides straight forward guidelines of how to get your focus back on track.

How To Focus Like A Monk

Focus Best Practices

There is no one way to find focus, but what works for me is to clear everything away and create a little space of tranquil focus. Some tips for doing that:

  • Close the browser and your email program. If you need to work in the browser then make sure no tabs or windows are open other than the one you absolutely need.
  • Turn off all notifications. Trying to focus while something is notifying you of an incoming email or tweet or Facebook update is impossible.
  • Turn off the Internet. Shut off your connection, unplug your router, or best yet, go to a place where the is no Internet (yes, those still exist). This is the absolute best way to find focus.
  • Close all programs and windows other than what you need for this one task.
  • Have a very important task to do. Not just “check email” but “write chapter in my novel” or “write that kick-ass blog post I’ve been planning” or “write that new Android app”.
  • Clear your desk. No need to spend all day on this — shove everything in a drawer or put it in a box to be sorted later. Don’t fiddle with this now. In fact, don’t fiddle with anything — don’t worry about the perfect setup or perfect notebook for writing or the perfect anything.
  • Plug in the headphones. If you have people around who might distract you, wearing headphones and playing some good, peaceful music is perfect.
  • Use a simple program. For writing, I like plain text editors (TextEdit, TextWrangler) or writing programs that block everything out (OmmWriter, WriteRoom). No distractions.

Click here to read more and visit the original source of the article

So there you have it, your focusing challenges are over! You may have come across similar tips on how to focus like a monk but I thought these were so straight forward and made a lot of sense.  The full article explains how to learn how to focus for longer, by taking small steps and increasing your focusing time incrementally each day. What did you think of this article? Please share below.

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Interview With Life Coach Tony Robbins

If there’s one thing that you absolutely must do today, it’s to take 10 minutes out to read this interview with life coach Tony Robbins.  He is the focus guru, the daddy of life coaches, the ‘high priest of human potential’ according to The New York Times.   What he says is congruent with The Law Of Attraction, and the idea of focusing on what you want, rather than what you don’t want.  The Interview is conducted by Marianne Schall for the Huffington Post.  She clearly knows her stuff as you’ll see in her informed questions and engaging responses.

Interview With Life Coach Tony Robbins

But, really, I think all people’s lives are controlled by three decisions. You look at people’s lives — it’s not their conditions, it’s their decisions. So everybody has a choice and every moment in your life you’re making three decisions. You’re making it while you’re listening to me right now. First one is ‘What are you going to focus on?’ You’re going to focus on what somebody is saying, what it means to you, you’re focusing on how much longer am I going to have to listen to this crap[laughs], you’re focusing on what you’re going to eat — you know, whatever it is, but whatever you focus on you’re going to feel. Now some people have a patterned focus and they focus on what they can’t control and some people focus on what they can. That one pattern alone can shift somebody from being depressed and feeling empowered. Some people’s pattern, for example, is focused on the past. Some patterns the focus almost always goes to the future. Some to the present. There’s no right or wrong, but whatever your pattern of focus is, it starts to control your whole life because it’s the first filter of everything. If your focus is on what you don’t have versus what you do have, it’s not hard to figure out what your life is going to be like. We don’t have to go any further than that and we can determine what your life is going to be like. You’re going to be miserable.

Click here to view the original source of the article

There are a number of fantastic suggestions in this interview with life coach Tony Robbins.  One of my favourite is to go seven days without allowing negative thoughts take over your mind – to catch a negative or derogatory thought as soon as it enters your head.

And this quote:

And when you shift a person’s life, you shift it by changing the pattern of focus, the pattern of meaning and the pattern of action.

It would seem, that once you’ve removed negativity from your life, and “shift your focus” by focusing on what you want, rather than on what you don’t have, and appreciate what you have, that things will start to naturally steer towards your vision.  It’s obviously not quite as simple as that; you can’t just think and realise your goals.  It would appear though, that positive thinking and creating a vision, will encourage you to do whatever it takes to reach your goals.

Here’s a clip of Tony Robbins talking about shifting your focus:

Tony Robbins Shift Your Focus

 

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Ways To Focus In A World Of Distractions

This must be one of my favourite articles to date, partly because some excellent brains have been cited, such as Steve Jobs, Evan Williams (co-founder of Twitter) and Dustin Moskovitz, co-founder of Asana and Facebook.

You may have come across the term, ‘mindfulness’ when reading through this site. It basically means bringing all of our attention to the present moment, rather than focusing on the past or future – which is surprisingly where our minds are mostly, according to Soren Gordhamer who has written this insightful post for Mashable.  Read on to discover ways to focus in a world of distractions.

Ways To Focus In A World Of Distractions

According to David E. Meyer, director of the Brain, Cognition and Action Laboratory at the University of Michigan, when people try to perform two or more related tasks either at the same time or alternating rapidly between them, errors go way up…

….To access our mindfulness, we need to be as skilled at emptying our mind as we are at filling it. When I asked Padmasree Warrior, CTO of Cisco, how she keeps balance and focus amidst so much responsibility, she says she meditates for twenty minutes a day no matter where she is in the world. “This clears my mind, keeps me anchored, and calm while dealing with [the] multiple challenges of my hectic days,” she says.

Once again, among these ways to focus in a world of distractions, we read that meditation is a great method to clear your mind, and thus to focus.  I also appreciated the part about doing less to achieve more, not because I’m lazy, but because attempting to do too many things at once, or multitasking, ends up being must less productive than focusing on one task at a time.

Click here to view the original source of the article

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The Secret Ways To Focus

If you have heard of the Law Of Attraction, the chances are you have seen The Secret. If you haven’t seen The Secret, I highly suggest that you do. It brings focusing to a whole new level, and is all about focusing on what you want. In this article from Psych Central Lauren Suval explains some of The Secret ways to focus.

The real question is, what are you going to do now? What do you choose now? Because you can either keep focusing on that, or you can focus on what you want. And when people start focusing on what they want, what they don’t want falls away, and what they want expands, and the other part disappears. Click here to view the original source of the article

When you first watch The Secret, it may come across as far fetched, and very different to the majority of the population’s way of thinking. The Secret ways to focus are so powerful and I’m a huge advocate of it. Why do negative things happen to negative people? Why to positive things happen to positive people? Why do the rich get richer? Some people seem to just attract money.I thought I’d include Oprah’s view on The Secret:

 

If you are not already in a frame of mind of focusing on what you want, then take a giant leap of faith and start doing so! If you’re ready to watch The Secret, then you can buy it from Amazon here:

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One Way To Focus Your Mind

This one way to focus your mind is brought to you from relaxationmeditations.com where Michaiel Bovenes talks about the conscious and subconscious and using your imagination to re-channel focus whenever you lose it.  Rather than attempting to explain the process, I’ll leave you to watch the video.

One Way To Focus Your Mind

If you liked this one way to focus your mind, stay tuned for Part II tomorrow.

 

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Train Your Brain To Focus Like a Monk

If you would like to learn how to train you brain to focus like a monk, then this article is a must read.  Susan Perry, Ph.D, a social psychologist and writer for of Psychology Today talks about what happens with our brains when we focus and break focus, and provides some useful ways to focus.
  • Wear headphones or earplugs: If loud noises are the biggest cause of distraction then the most logical approach is to remove them from the equation. Noise cancelling headphones or earplugs can do this easily. The important thing to remember is that distraction doesn’t come from just loud noises that are directed at you (someone shouting your name) but loud noises in general. That includes the car bumping Cyndi Lauper, the fire truck screaming down the road, and even a loud furnace turning on. All of these are enough to break your focus. If you want to get really hardcore about blocking your outside sound cues, consider recording your entire day on a digital recorder to find where and when those sounds are coming so you can reschedule your day around them.
  • Strap on your digital blinders: Seeing as how you probably don’t want to literally wear blinders when you want to focus on a task, the next best thing you can do is remove the visual cues from your environment. For most of us, this means blocking audio and visual notifications. We’ve mentioned before that notifications are evil and since they typically come with both distraction triggers, audio and visual, they can wreck serious havoc on your concentration. You can set up timed internet blocks that block the likes of email or Facebook, use browser extensions to keep you on track, or if all else fails, simply close down your email, throw your phone in another room and get to work. Your solutions will vary, but the point is you want to block those notifications that call attention to anything other than the task you’re working on.  Click here to visit the original source of the article

Removing distractions is key to focus.  What I appreciated in this article was the point about ‘notifications being evil’, and by notifications, she refers to anything that can interrupt your focus. This can be emails, phone calls, texts, television sounds, loud noises, someone calling your name etc.  If you want to train your brain to focus like a monk, then you need to exclude yourself from the outside world, and remove notifications.  Each time you allow yourself to get distracted, it apparently takes 25 minutes to re-establish your focus.  Not only that but it tires your brain if this happens over and over again – a very interesting point!

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Focus Through Meditation

Many people would not feel comfortable with meditation. I for one, when I was younger, would look at someone strangely if they were meditating on Brighton Beach in broad daylight. Little did I know back then, how beneficial it is for your brain, as well as taking you into a state of deep relaxation. You can establish focus through meditation and become mindful of thoughts, feelings and sensations. Not only that, but according to UCLA researchers, it can strengthen the connections between brain cells and actually thicken the brain!

UCLA researchers have long studied the awesome powers that meditation has on the human brain. Two years ago, they found that specific regions within the brains of long-term meditators were larger and had more gray matter than those who did not practice the ancient tradition. MRI scans found that the hippocampus and other areas known for regulating emotions had larger volumes, and therefore allow for well-adjusted responses to “whatever life throws your way.”

The deeper I get into the world of entrepreneurialism, the more people I speak with who tell me they gain focus through meditation. It seems to be becoming more and more popular, possibly as today’s world gets increasingly hectic.

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