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Brief Mindfulness Improves Focus

Meditation has been regarded as a highly effective way to focus for some time. A recent study lead by Aarhus University, found that brief mindfulness improves focus, or in their words, is effective for “training attention-related neuroplasticity.” If you’re not familiar with the term plasticity, it refers to the brain’s capacity to structure new neural pathways based on new experiences. Many of us worry about the future, or dwell on the past, when in actual fact we should be living in the present, which is of course what being mindful is all about.

Brief Mindfulness Improves Focus

Brief Mindfulness For FocusIncreased brain responses to emotional stimuli where found only in those participants with the most practice, suggesting that such benefits may require greater training and depend upon first developing attentional skills. Overall, the meditation group showed better attention performance and increased brain activity in regions associated with executive function. Executive function consists of skills such as paying attention for long periods, resisting distractions, and cognitive flexibility. Disruption of these abilities has been linked to disorders including addiction and post-traumatic stress, which are known to respond positively to mindfulness training.

Continue reading on Aarhus University Website

I think some people regard meditation as being a little ‘out there’, or kinda weird. If brief mindfulness improves focus, then in today’s world of ‘hyper distraction’ it ought to be something that everyone should consider incorporating into their daily routines. I started a very simple form of meditation about 6 months ago, where you just focus on your breathing for 5 minutes, taking long deep breaths. Every time a thought enters your head, you get rid of it, and then refocus on your breathing. It’s very relaxing. I’ve heard some people do this for 45 minutes at a time, at the start and the end of their days. Now that’s dedication!


‘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.