You’re driving down the highway, intent on your destination. You pass hundreds of cars but don’t register what kind they are or who’s driving them. Maybe you’re aware of the color and shape, but only for an instant. They are quickly forgotten. Every so often though, a particular car comes into your awareness. Maybe it swerved a bit, or moved too quickly, or slowly, or sports an unusual color. The car enters your awareness, and your brain immediately attempts to match that car with a similar and known vehicle. Once it is identified it can be evaluated. Is it safe? Do you need to slow down? Should you go faster, change lanes or stop altogether?
All these complex mental operations take a fraction of a second, but need the ability to focus and attend in order to work smoothly and in sequence. Some people seem to have a knack for focusing and concentrating. Think of athletes, painters or scientists. They’re able to focus to such a degree that outside distractions all but disappear.
Attention is required for mental events like remembering, thinking, feeling and decision-making. It’s a type of energy that without it, not too much mental work can be done. Our memories, thoughts and emotions are created and molded by how we put it to use. Fortunately, most of us have it under control and through practice can improve and build it.
Right now (after reading this) take two cleansing breaths. Focus on the feel of your breath coming in through your nose and moving down into your lungs. Consider how your ribs feel as your lungs expand and contract as you exhale. Can you feel your breath leaving your body? For the 10-30 seconds it took you to focus on your breath you gave your attention a workout. Do you think you could exercise your attention for thirty seconds three times a day for a week? Doesn’t seem like much does it? But thirty seconds can feel like forever if you have difficulty concentrating. So I’m going to give you a way to workout your attention so you can build your concentration muscle that’s fun and highly entertaining!
Here’s an added incentive! There are certain times when your brain is more receptive to learning, that create windows of opportunity for building attention.
In my Becoming Your Own Hypnotherapist Workshops I talk about the Ultradian Healing Response, which refers to specific times your mind is more receptive to relaxation and therefore more open to healing. Here’s another instance of prime timing.
At certain times there is an influx of biochemicals called brain growth factors that speed up the learning process. These biochemicals coat neurons with a fatty substance that speeds up delivery of messages, signals and learning. (Guess what tomorrow’s tip will be on! Yep! Essential Fatty Acids) You can actually stimulate the release of these chemicals and create those prime times! How? By playing with your imagination!
That’s right! Your imagination is a tool you can use to build your brain and boost your ability to concentrate. The key is to do it daily and to put emotion to your imaginings.
I have been known on occasion to suddenly start chuckling for no apparent reason. It’s not because I’m having a mental break with reality. Truth is, I’m playing with my imagination and adding some good ol’ humour to it. I’m building my brain and giving my attention a good workout at the same time.
So here’s your task for daily brain exercise. Use your imagination! Write stories in your head. Create funny mental scenarios at work or school. Start out with just thirty seconds, three times a day for one week, then increase the time to one minute three times a day. Practice adding emotion to your imaginings and think fun!
You might even find you want to laugh out loud…well, go ahead, that builds brain power too!
Don’t forget to let me know what you think. Add your comments, it encourages me to keep going! Oh that’s another brain builder…positive reinforcement!
copyright 2011 @ Meza Health Systems, Inc.