by Krista Magidson
Your alarm goes off at 6 AM and immediately your to-do list flashes through your mind. Before brushing your teeth you check your phone for important emails and updates. While putting on your mascara your mind jumps ahead to your noon appointment. At breakfast you rehearse what you are going to say, anticipate objections, and the entire meeting runs through your mind, over and over again. “It’s going to be a long day,” you think to yourself and it’s only 7:30 AM. Sound familiar?
This kind of mental projection is time consuming, unproductive, and exhausting. But you can train yourself and your mind to be present, productive, and supportive with these four easy and effective Applied Meditation techniques.
1. Accept that thinking is inevitable: Over thinking is not the cause of an unproductive mind, allowing yourself to be either distracted by your thoughts or run by them is the problem.
Fighting with your mind or feeling frustrated over your lack of concentration actually makes thinking worse and it is exhausting.
Accepting that the process of thinking is normal and natural is the first step in retraining your mind and your attention. Acceptance is the first step in gaining control.
2. Train your mind with gentle repetition: Lack of focus is a habit. No matter what your personality type, genetic predisposition, or up-bringing you can re-train your mind with gentle and consistent repetition.
When you notice that your attention has wandered during a client meeting or phone call, take a quiet deep breath, and bring your attention back to your client or call.
This is a very powerful practice and you can do it throughout the day. The more you notice or watch your mind when it wanders the more present and focused you become.
3. Dealing with Worry: Worry thoughts are deceptively distracting and draining. Worry takes you right out of the present moment and propels you into the future.
The present moment is where all of your power lies. When you are consistently focused on future events you waste time, energy, and the feeling of powerlessness increases.
Instead, when you find that your attention has wandered towards a worry thought, ask yourself one of two questions: “Is that happening now?” or “Do I need to think about that now?”
Unless it is something that needs your immediate attention, the answer is usually, “No, that is not happening now” or “No, I do not need to think about that right now.” Repeat the question until you feel your attention settling back to the present moment.
This practice is also very useful if you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night with “to-do’s” on your mind.
4. Take three deep breaths, three times a day: Deep conscious breathing takes focus and it is a wonderful way to train your mind to be present. If you need to, set your phone to alert you at 12 noon, 3 PM, and 7 PM to help remind you.
Your mind is your greatest ally. Use these steps to gain control of your attention and create a mental environment is productive, energetic, and successful… and you will be too.