Concentration is the ability of your mind to focus your attention on a single thought, idea, or action.
This is probably the most critical skill anyone can learn.
Without concentration, you wouldn’t be able to start, stick with, or finish a task.
As critical as this skill is, it is one of the most difficult to develop.
So why is concentrate so difficult? I mean if I want to read a book, I should be able to open it up and start reading without problems. Or if I have an important assignment, it should be easy start and stay focused through completion.
But that rarely happens.
Concentration is difficult because there is a lot going on inside our mind and body that distract us.
For starters, our mind is constantly running on autopilot with thoughts coming in and out of our awareness. Sometimes it comes in to remind us of things, like an important meeting. Other times it goes back and forth thinking about a conversation or argument. Still at times it mulling over decisions or reflecting on something happening.
What’s more is that our thoughts trigger emotions. If a thought comes up, then more than likely, it comes with a certain feeling. So being reminded of that meeting might trigger anxiety. Thinking about an argument may well trigger feelings of anger or resentment. Or the thought of making a wrong decision will bring up fear.
So not only are our thoughts coming in and out, but so are our emotions.
What’s worse is for some of us this is happening very fast with our mind racing on a lot of thoughts and ideas in quick succession. For others, or our mind works such that when we think of one thought, it triggers another thought, which triggers another, causing our mind to jump around randomly. While others have a mind that fills up like a balloon with so many thoughts, our head becomes a cluttered mess.
All of these things make it extremely difficult to concentrate and stay on a thought, task, or activity. Next thing you know, you can’t concentrate not because your thoughts are racing, but quite frankly you’re exhausted.
So how can one get a handle on all this?
As you can imagine, this is not an easy thing to do. You can’t just have instantly stop your mind from racing and you can’t ignore the sting of an emotion.
It takes a lot of time, effort, and training.
Instead of spending months and years trying to control your mind the hard way, there is one quick thing you can do to get all of this under control.
That one thing is a relaxation exercise.
Relaxing the mind slows down your thoughts and stops it from racing, jumping around, or filling your head like a balloon.
More importantly, it DAMPENS YOUR EMOTIONS so they don’t get in the way of your thinking.
When the volume of your thoughts and emotions are turned downed, you’ll be surprised just how easy it is to think, hold a thought, and well, concentrate.
Here is a quick exercise you can do to quiet your mind.
First, close your eyes, clear your mind, and begin to breathe deeply.
Inhale slowly concentrating on the air flowing into your lungs, hold your breath for a few seconds, and exhale slowly while concentrating on the air flowing out.
Focus only on the movement of air in and out of your body.
As you do this, repeat in your thoughts or out loud, ‘I AM CALM IN MIND & BODY’
After a few minutes of breathing and reciting this mantra, you will begin to feel a calming and relaxing sensation wash over you.
Now open your eyes and come back to the present moment.
Notice how the exercise slows down your thoughts and emotions enough to think better and more clearly.
This the easiest, most effective way to improve concentration.
If you notice, the effects are immediate, without the need to put in a lot of time, energy, and mental training.
Do this anytime you have tasks ahead of you that are making you feel overwhelmed, distracted, or stressed out.
You’ll find it puts you in the right state to focus.