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How to Retrain Your Tired Brain and Find Your Focus Again | Health and Welfare

NSImagine the day before you started reading this article. What did you do At every moment, when you got out of bed, turned on the faucet, flicked the kettle switch, your brain exploded with information.Every second, the eyes Give the brain the equivalent of 10 mbit (binary) data.. The ear incorporates an orchestra of sound waves. Then there is our idea: the average person, the researcher estimates, Over 6,000 a day.. To do anything, you need to exclude most of this data. You need to concentrate.

During the pandemic, I found it particularly difficult to focus. The book is still half read. Eyes wander away from the zoom call. The conversation stalls. For the past 18 months, being able to focus on something like work, reading, cleaning, cooking, etc. without being distracted has sometimes felt like a farce.

Good news? We can learn to focus better, but we need to think about attention differently. It’s not just our choice. We have to train our brains like muscles. Specifically, with a short burst of daily exercise.

Dr. Amishi Jha is a professor of cognitive and behavioral neuroscience at the University of Miami and an expert in attention science. She has written the books Peak Mind: Find Your Focus, Own Your Attention, and Invest 12 Minutes a Day. This is a four-week training program based on her research that shows how people with high-demand jobs can do simple mindfulness exercises, such as: Soldiers, elite athletes, and emergency health care workers improve many aspects of cognitive and emotional health. Strengthen our attention..

“Working memory is like a mental whiteboard where ink disappears,” says Dr. Amishi Jha. Illustration: Natalie Leeds / Guardian

When I first opened Peak Mind, I set a timer to see how long it would take to feel the appeal of social media. After 3 minutes, check Twitter. I tell Ja this, and she erupts with a laugh. “Oh, that’s great,” she says.

I tell her that this distraction made me uneasy. She nods patiently. “Now, if you’re more distracted, it’s okay to be alert. It’s a healthy reaction to your current situation, otherwise it’s just wrong to think,” she says. “We are at stake because our attention is working so well. It is working as designed. It reacts strongly to certain stimuli.”

Stress is one of the biggest obstacles to concentration, says Jha. High alarm conditions often cause rumination and catastrophe. We are stuck in a “loop of fate” or an imaginary scenario. This mode affects our “working memory,” the amount of information that is retained in our minds and available for our tasks. For example, select words to put together in an email or read a page in a book.

“Working memory is like a mental whiteboard that erases ink,” says Jha. There is no room for new information when the whiteboard is full of thoughts, feelings and images about what is stressing us. You may feel guilty by blanking, zoning, or snapping your partner. This makes it even harder to concentrate.

When Ja experienced his own “crisis of attention” (“a spiritually talkative, relentless onslaught”), he began to think differently about mindfulness.

So she came up with some simple practices exercise In a way that tends to weaken the brain. ” These short daily mindfulness trainings help us to become aware of our thoughts and impulses and develop what we call “mental muscles” that Jha observes rather than acts.

I admit that I am skeptical. Something very harsh that even trainee psychotherapists (who have a vested interest in learning to exist) can do on their own is confused by multiple blockades, political divisions, or the economy. It’s hard to believe that it helps you focus on the feeling that you are. Uncertainty.

I start by setting a timer of 3 minutes daily instead of the recommended 12. This is Jha’s recommended less “dose” to get used to. For the first exercise, stand upright, close your eyes, and focus on where your breathing is most prominent, usually your chest or diaphragm. Focus here like a beam and notice when thoughts and sensations pull it apart. Remind me that I need to reply to the text. itch. The important thing is to notice when the “flashlight” moves and put it back. that’s it.

FOCUS2 Copy Saturday Magazine OCT23 Lifestyle Frazzle Brain Function
“We need our phone to save us from our phone.” Illustration: Natalie Leeds / Guardian

From the beginning, this flashlight image is one of the most useful mindfulness tools I have used. After three days, I start to realize that I’m separated from trying to focus on something (reading is the hardest thing for me). When my focus bursts, I’m aware, it feels new.

The first step in focusing more is to accept the important truth, says Jha. decide Pay free attention. You have to practice. “The unwavering concept of mind is an illusion,” she says. The problem is that there are now far more sources of distraction. We are not only content recipients, but also active participants. Despite the frequency with which you are advised to “unplug” your device, you cannot betray an algorithm designed by an army of software engineers, statisticians, and psychologists.

Even more worrisome is how we need a phone to save us from the phone.What is the global market for mindfulness meditation apps? Expected to reach over $ 4.2 million by 2027..But by taking a step back and learning why Our attention can feel very slippery rather than reaching for another attention-grabbing app. Perhaps it can relieve some of the difficult emotions associated with distraction.

In the second week, Jha will introduce “Body Scan”. You can use a flashlight to move through your body from your toes to your scalp and notice what your physical sensations are. Whenever your mind wanders, return it to the area of ​​your body that you were aware of before wandering.

Even with a three minute burst, my heart is full of words, people, places, and emotions. I tell Ja that I have to put the flashlight back many times, I think it will be easier. “How are you!” She says. “You introduced something new, but it can take some time to get used to it, but know that it will improve.”

Being able to leave a little space between yourself and your mind after two weeks of exercising means that you can focus on what you have to do more easily. Body scan exercises have given me a new perception of how distracted I am by physical sensations (convulsions, rumbling, itching). Unless you try it, it’s hard to explain how important this layer of consciousness is.

Something has changed in relation to my thoughts, so I will continue the exercise with a view to increasing the dose for 12 minutes a day. After finishing Jha and resetting the timer, start another book. It takes 23 minutes to open Twitter. That is progress.

Please note: 5 ways to focus better

1 Pay attention to your breathing and see where in your body you feel the most breathing. Focus like a beam of light. Do this for 3 minutes a day for a week.

2 Incorporate this technique into your daily life. For example, brushing your teeth. If you’re thinking about a to-do list while scrubbing, turn the lights back on. Focus on the senses.

3 Many report that their minds are “too busy.” Your job is not to stop it-your job is to be with it and bring your attention back where you want it.

Four Ignore the “Mindfulness Myth”. You are not “clearing your mind”. This is active mental training.

Five There is no “blissful” state you are trying to experience. In fact, the point is that there are more for now.

Peak Mind: Find Your Focus, Own Your Attention, Invest 12 Minutes A Day by Dr. Amishi Jha Published by Piatkus, For £ 14.99. To support The Guardian and Observer, order a copy at the following URL: guardianbookshop.com..Shipping charges may apply

How to Retrain Your Tired Brain and Find Your Focus Again | Health and Welfare

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