The modern human is a distracted creature. We can’t help it. There is a whole market of gadgets or apps designed to drain every last free second out of us. The people who create those apps or devices are brilliant people, who know how to take advantage of our weaknesses, subconscious ticks, and mannerisms. Looking at that situation from the outside, one would think that there is nothing we can do to counter-attack, that we are at the mercy of those who farm out attention daily for their capital. But that is not true. Meditation is a proven tool that can help you recover a little bit of your freedom and focus. With mediation, you can start to realize where the pulls by those outside forces are. With meditation, you can finally evolve into a person with supreme focus. All you need to do is practice a couple of minutes per day. There are different meditation schools, but no matter which one you choose, it will help you improve your focus.
It helps you recognize when your mind wanders off
As we have stated earlier, the mind will indeed wander off somewhere. It all depends if you have to will power or skill to reign it in and continue where you stopped. When you start to meditate, you will begin to notice how your mind works and operates. You might think that it is not that bad at paying attention. But, as many others have witnesses, meditation has a profound effect on how they see the world and their minds.
Gradually, you will be able to spot your mind wandering off. But, not only that, you will be able to realize just why that happened. You will be able to finally live in the moment, the moment where your mind wanders. You will notice what it is like to watch yourself from the outside. For the first time, you will see the barrage of words, sounds, or ideas that pop in your mind every so often. Gently, you will become able to reshift your focus back onto the initial interest of your focus.
Part of improving focus is noticing distraction. This is how meditation helps with focus.
It helps you deal with stress
It is mighty hard to focus on some tasks at work or at home when you have problems looming around your mind. Just imagine, you are having a great day, everything is going your way, but then, something unexpected happens, and you can’t find your way back to the earlier groove. No matter what you try, that thing, that incident that occurred earlier, is still on your mind, and its eating at you. You try to shake it off, but it starts to accumulate stress on your mind. You stop everything and keep worrying about that situation and how it will resolve. Meditators have a different reaction to stress-related events. They will also stop, and they will realize what happened.
In most cases, they will ask themselves, is it as bad as it seems. One frequent question that meditators ask themselves when something starts to fight for their mind and attention is, “Is that really under my control.” They will look at the event, see if it is their top priority. If this new condition is not a priority, they will shift their focus back on their initial target and let the thoughts about everything else fade away into nothingness.
It helps you deal with anxiety
Everyone who has at least experienced a severe case of anxiety knows just how bad it can be. It will happen to the best of us, so we need to figure out ways to deal with it. Anxiety will make it impossible to focus on your task at hand. Your heart will go crazy; you might struggle for breath and feel pain. That is where meditation comes in. All you need to do is sit down, close your eyes, and start paying attention to your breath. At first, take long, deep breaths until your breathing starts to normalize once again. As your breath goes back on autopilot, you will begin to notice changes in the rest of your body as well. Meditation is not the end-all cure when it comes to anxiety, but for a couple of minutes, it can restore your focus and attention.
Different types of meditation and how they help restore your focus
Meditation has been around for multiple millennia. There have been many innovations and schisms between schools. But what they all have in common is that they possess the potential to help you calm your mind and improve your focus significantly. So in this part of our article on How meditation helps with focus, we will take a deeper dive into some of the most famous meditation schools.
Mindfulness meditation and focus
If you are a person who struggles with their focus, mindfulness meditation would be a perfect place to start. As we have stated earlier, no life task can be really done without our full focus. People usually think that if they combine their attention to two different things, the brain will do both of them with 50% effort, but that is not true. The numbers are usually closer to 40 or 35 percent.
Mindfulness meditation teaches you to pay attention to some object or your breath for a certain period. The most important thing is to isolate oneself. It would help if you were in a sitting position, either on a chair and bed. Now, all you need to do is to pay attention to your breath. Try to figure out the total duration of one breath. Soon you will start to realize every single detail of your breathing process. The meditation will also help you notice distractions—no need to force yourself. With mindfulness meditation, you will have to see every thought you have or every sensation you experience, and then, once you have grasped it, slowly and gently return your attention to your breath. Just ten minutes a day can have quite a transformative effect on your life.
Zen meditation and focus
One of the most popular branches of meditation in the west is Zen meditation. It is a descendant of the Mahayana school of Buddhism and has come to the west from Japan. The central tenant of Zen Buddhism is an exceptional type of sitting meditation. You start in what it is called the lotus position. You will focus your mind on one object. The object can be real, or it could be your imagination. How Zen meditation helps with focus is by narrowing your attention on an object for an extended period of time.
In most cases, Zen Buddhists use candles. The more experienced Zen meditators claim that they can imagine a candle slowly burning down. But for beginners, it is enough that they can imagine a simple, small candle with its light gently swaying to and fro. With the help of Zen meditation, you will be able to control your mind better. You will be able to make it do things that you never could before. Once you practice enough Zen meditation, you will stop on a dime and redirect your mind and its complete attention to your desired end.
Yoga and focus
There is fierce debate in the meditative community if yoga truly is a reflective practice or something entirely different. However, when it comes down to how meditation helps improve focus, yoga is an option. There is one difference between yoga and other meditative practices. Yoga can be done in a group, together with likeminded people. But since there is a global pandemic and crowds full of strangers are not the best place to be around, here are some tips on how to start your yoga journey at home
- Create a spot in your home just for yoga
- Buy comfortable clothes and a yoga mat
- Select a yoga routine from the millions of free yoga lessons on Youtube
- Remember to enjoy it.
- Practice regularly. Only regular practice will help you improve your focus.
In addition to reclaiming your mind, yoga is a great way to regain all that lost body strength and flexibility that we use to have in our younger days.
Meditation-like practices for religious people
For some religious people, meditation or yoga can be seen as something that they should avoid or even a grave sin. If you fall into that category, do not get desperate. There are ways even the most religious and orthodox people can enjoy the benefits of meditation, but without doing a traditional form of meditation. One such method is deep prayer. Deep prayer can be compared to mantra meditation. So next time that you are stress, entirely focus on the words of your favorite prayer. Let yourself be lost in them, let the words of your favorite prayer full take hold over your mind.