You know those situations when you are trying
to concentrate or decrease attention deficit, and any tiny noise bothers you? Maybe it’s the people talking nearby,
or a street noise. Even a library, with all the rules for maintaining silence, may have
some sort of distraction that takes our focus.We idealize a situation where we are isolated
from everyone, so we can stay within our silent cave and have no interruption. Is that the
solution to be able to focus? The answer is NO. Complete isolation is not
necessary for those who develop selective attention. Neurologist Richard Davidson says that:
when we have a selective focus, the prefrontal cortex circuit is synchronized with the object
in a phase lock. And when we are unfocused,there are several neural circuits being simultaneously
activated in areas that are unrelated to what we wish to focus upon.
Time to Get Selective Attention
What does that mean? Let me illustrate: when I am in a street market or in a popular bar where there are many people making all kinds of noise and with loud music playing in the background, it is still possible to talk to the people around me because my brain can identify the stimuli Specific sound that interests me. This is selective attention. A police officer in the chase in the middle of a crowd can also maintain selective attention. He is focused. We need to be clear about our purpose and learn to ignore them all. Are not in line with that goal. Daniel Goleman mentions two types of distractions:
sensory and emotional.Sensory distraction is, for example, anything else that is not this video you are watching now.
Maybe some smell in the environment, or even the room temperature. Of all the senses,we separate those that are relevant, and then we decide to ignore the rest. When something is difficult to ignore, we call it sensory distraction.But emotional distraction can be even more difficult to face. If the phone rings in the middle of the night, and it is a family member bringing sad news, this situation can leave us shaken for days and days. It totally takes our focus. The loss of a loved one. Chronic disease. The breakup of a relationship. Treachery. Humiliation. All these situations can leave us obsessed, unable to think of anything else.In some situations, we may even need professional help so the mind can find ways to preserve its integrity. Otherwise there is the risk of depression, panic, obsessive-compulsive disorder or total collapse. Chronic anxiety starts here: the inability to change focus.
How to Decrease Attention Deficit
You want to do a certain activity, but you cannot because you’re mentally stuck, thinking about something else. In less acute situations, you’re dealing with a mild type of concern that is repeatedly haunting your head and hindering your concentration. The FOCUS course will be useful here to do the internal strengthening work, so you can become able to withstand both the emotional and sensory distractions.If you want to strengthen your resistance to distractions now, I will share two practical tips. The first is a simplified meditation. You do not need anything complicated. Just sit for three minutes and stay in the present moment. Try to imagine that you are an observer,looking at yourself, at your situation. Note your breathing, your body temperature, the emotions that you feel. That’s it— doing only that is a great start.