In our constantly moving and connected world, it seems like concentration has become a lost art. Between notifications buzzing on our phones, people talking around us, and the hundreds of things vying for our attention, it can be tough to focus on one task for any length of time.
Yet concentration is a fundamental skill in helping one establish emotional well-being and achieving external goals. Whether one’s goal is to learn meditation, succeed at work, cultivate a positive relationship, develop a greater sense of objectivity or excel in the arts or in a sport, one needs to be able to remain focused.
The reason focus and concentration are fundamental to success is that high powers of concentration allows individuals to gain greater control over their thoughts. The greater control one has over their thoughts, the easier it becomes to remain focused on a positive and constructive attitude that supports our achievement of our goals.
Positive and constructive thinking leads to constructive action, which gives way to succeeding in establishing emotional well-being and attaining external goals. The key to success is learning how your mind works so you can better understand the negative self-talk that often goes on in our heads. When we are able to take control of our thoughts and substitute more positive thoughts, this leads not only toward a better attitude but also balanced body chemistry which results in happier emotions overall.
Anyone can learn to significantly heighten their ability to concentrate. It simply takes consistent practice. If one is committed to developing one’s powers of concentration, over time, most everything becomes a little easier.
Below are two concentration exercises one might consider starting to begin developing one’s ability to concentrate.
Trataka (Yogic Visual concentration) – one very simple exercise is concentration on a candle flame.
- Place the candle at eye level and about a foot away from you
- Light the candle and as you gaze at the flame, mentally repeat the word “flame.”
- If your mind starts to think about other things, the exercise is over.
- Typically, when someone first tries this exercise it is not uncommon to only be able to stay single pointed on the word flame for about 15 seconds. But if one continues to practice, the 15 seconds will become 30 seconds, one minute, 5 minutes, and longer if one desires.
- This exercise helps one develop the ability to focus and to become single pointed.
Breath counting exercise – It’s as simple as breathing in and breathing out.
- The simplest breathing technique is to count our breaths. We start by counting 1 on the inhalation, 2 on the exhalation, 3 on the inhalation, and so forth up to the count of 10. Once you hit 10, resume with counting 1 on the inhalation, 2 on the exhalation etc.
- Consider setting a timer for 30 seconds initially and devote your entire mind to the exercise. If 30 seconds is too easy/short, lengthen the time to one minute. Gradually increasing the time you spend focusing on your breath.
The world demands instant gratification, and it’s hard to avoid distractions. But by doing these exercises, you can learn how to focus your mind in a way that will allow for significantly greater emotional well-being and productivity – with practice this becomes easier!