The world today can seem awfully hectic. If you walk outside in any major city you will be bombarded by the sound of running vehicles, honking horns, noisy air conditioners, and people conversing. While the hustle and bustle is something that many people enjoy, it isn’t without its impacts on mental wellbeing.
The constant go-go-go attitude is pervasive in society today and it is something that many people find overwhelming and even anxiety-provoking. Constantly feeling like you have something to do and something hanging over your head can take a toll on you mentally.
Due to the busy nature of today’s world, practices like meditation have emerged in the mainstream as a way for people to ground themselves and get back to the present moment. Taking a moment to breathe and be present is often all people need to reset and keep moving forward through the hectic conditions life brings.
Below is a closer look at meditation and how it relates to focus and your overall health. Understanding how meditation can help you can allow you to determine if it is right for you.
Meditation is not a new concept. While popular culture has recently praised its benefits, Tibetan monks have been practicing meditation for centuries. Even though meditation has been an integral part of Buddhism for centuries, it doesn’t mean people of all religions can’t enjoy the health benefits of meditation and the practice of mindfulness.
Meditation at its core is a practice of mindfulness that aims to pull your busy mind aside and let it relax and enjoy the present moment. This grounding in the present moment can be accomplished in a number of different ways, but amongst the most popular are guided meditations where an individual versed in meditation practices talks you through exercises to try and calm your mind and bring it into the present moment.
Below is a look at some techniques utilized in meditation to help you get into the present moment.
One fundamental meditation practice is to focus your attention on your breathing while sitting still in a quiet environment. Focusing on the rising and falling of the chest, the movement of air in and out of your lungs, or even the sound of breathing can all be utilized. The slow pace and regularity of breathing also allow people to enter into relaxation and start letting go of the stresses that may be holding them back.
Focusing on the breath essentially pulls your mind from worrying about the past and future and forces it to hone in on the present moment and what your body is doing. Because the breath is constant it is frequently a meditation exercise that gets you into a more relaxed and open state to perform other meditative exercises.
Another meditative practice is visualization. During visualization, rather than diverting your attention to your breath, you try to create a scene with your imagination. Many visualizations utilize light imagery such as imagining a stream of light that flows into your body like water into a vase.
Visualization can also be of objects or people. A popular meditative practice in Buddhism is to look at a Buddha statue, and close your eyes and recreate the Buddha utilizing your imagination.
Visualization is a more advanced form of meditation because it requires more self-discipline to stay focused on the visualization, and typically, people have a harder time painting a picture with their minds (without letting their mind wander) compared to taking notice of the breath.
Another meditation practice that many people find helpful in attaining mindfulness is environmental awareness. Environmental awareness is all about being still and taking notice of the sensations around you. This can include taking notice of the sounds, sensation of air, the smell of the outdoors, or even the sensation of contact with the floor or seat.
Like other meditative exercises, environmental awareness provides you with something in the present moment to focus on. Environmental awareness can be taken outside of traditional eyes-closed meditation and can easily be integrated as mindfulness exercises in your daily life to stay more grounded.
Taking a quick break to go outside or just soak in the things happening around you can provide your mind with a break from the hectics of everyday life and provide you with a less clouded mind.
Another method that can be utilized in meditation is thought awareness. Thought awareness is more of an additive technique to others and can be especially helpful when your mind is especially busy and clouded with thoughts.
With this technique, an individual can utilize a method such as breathing, but when they become distracted with another thought, they simply acknowledge the thought or feeling and let it go. After some time, thought awareness can get you to a better state of mind that is less busy and overcrowded with thoughts.
The relationship between focus and meditation
At this point you have most likely caught on that meditation and focus are closely intertwined. At its core, meditation is a refocusing of the mind to the present moment. Focusing on the environment around you, breathing, or perhaps visualizing something is meant to take your focus and put it to something in the present moment.
Many people begin to have feelings of anxiousness or figurative weight on their shoulders when their focus is on things like the past, future, or worries they have. With meditation, you break these trains of thought and redirect your focus to the present moment which is more constructive.
When you are in the moment and present you are much better equipped to be in the right headspace.
Can meditation help you focus?
Meditation is an excellent tool to help you find focus because it aims to slow your thoughts down and have you feel more grounded. Maintaining focus for your work, school, or even doing things you enjoy is reliant on many factors.
Because of this, it can be incredibly easy to lose focus. You can become preoccupied and distracted by other things around you which can make it difficult to stay focused on the task at hand. This is where meditation can help you find focus.
People can really only focus on one thing at a time. While many people are convinced that they are great multitaskers, the truth is that people simply cannot focus on multiple things at once and still expect to have the same level of attentiveness. Take the notorious example of texting and driving as a prime example. While you may be able to type and drive, your abilities in both tasks are severely hindered because not only are you typing slower, but you are also unable to pay attention to potential dangers on and around the road.
Meditation helps you focus by temporarily giving your mind a break from trying to focus on too many things at once. Slowing down and only focusing on one thing relaxes the mind and puts it in a much better place. This is one major reason why workplaces across the nation have started to implement mindfulness and meditation sessions during the workday.
When employees are able to refocus their attention to the present moment they are able to be more productive and have a better level of focus on their tasks for the day.
Meditation and your health
One of the main things that have attracted so many people to meditation is its positive impacts on overall wellness. All too often people are caught up in the business of life and forget to take a moment for themselves and meditation gives that moment back to people.
Those moments gained through meditation have proven to have drastic positive implications on overall health. These benefits include supporting heart health, brain health, mental health, immune health, and even cellular health.
While meditation has its fair share of benefits, keeping the benefits going by ensuring your body has the proper nutrition it needs is a perfect way to get the most out of attaining your health and wellbeing goals.
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Focus and meditation are closely tied concepts. In the world today, many people get caught up in the day-to-day and simply move through the day like they are on autopilot. With so much to worry about in the future or past, people forget to enjoy the present moment.
Meditation is a way out, and it utilizes refocusing techniques that force your mind to slow down and really take in the present moment. When your mind is finally calm, it is much better equipped to serve you to its best capabilities.
Meditation on a regular basis can not only keep you more present in your day-to-day life, but it can also be beneficial to other aspects of your overall health.