How to Improve Attention with Mindfulness

Keyword: mindfulness exercises for attention

In today’s fast-paced digital world, focus and concentration seem to be in short supply. In fact, studies show our generation has the attention span of goldfish.

Needless to say, the number of people experiencing stress and burnout are also on the rise. In our effort to do more in less time, we’re too busy to appreciate the little things and enjoy life.

This is where mindfulness comes in. By using mindfulness exercises for attention and training your brain to become present, you will naturally enter a calmer, more relaxed state. This will allow you to effectively combat stress and any obstacles that come your way.

Mindfulness and Attention Control

Many meditation traditions explain the importance of cultivating attention early in the practice. Attention control is required to stay engaged in meditation, and meditators often report improved attention control as the result of practicing mindfulness on a regular basis.

Attention is often divided into three sub-components:

  1. Alerting: Readiness in preparation for an impending stimulus.
  2. Orienting: Selection of specific information from multiple competing stimuli. This mode of attention is sensory in nature.
  3. Executive control: Monitoring and resolution of conflict between signals from different neural areas, also called conflict monitoring.

Multiple studies show the effects of mindfulness exercises for attention:

One study showed that 20 minutes of integrative body-mind training (IBMT) for 5 days led to improved executive attention.

In other studies, experienced meditators showed improved conflict monitoring and changes in alerting.

Another three-month-long study of mindfulness training showed improved alertness and orienting towards a visual target.

How to Practice Mindfulness to Improve Your Attention

One of the most simple yet effective ways to improve your attention is by focusing on the experience of breathing.

  1. Sit in a relaxed upright position.Close your eyes. Observe the way your body feels, relaxing into the seated position. Breathe normally.
  2.  Focus on your breath.Next, direct your attention to your breathing. Focus on the sensation of inhaling and exhaling. Feel the air coming into your body and air being released. Do this for 1-5 minutes. As you become more proficient increase the time you practice to 10 minutes.
  3.  When your mind wanders, don’t fight it. Just bring your attention back to your breath. It’s natural for thoughts to come and go. Let them pass and focus once again on your breathing.
  4. Take three deep breaths. To conclude this meditation, take three deep breaths (inhale for a count of 4, exhale for a count of 8). When you’re ready, open your eyes.

This will become easier with practice and over time, you will experience less intrusive thoughts and distractions. Whether it’s when you wake up, before you go to bed, or during the day when you’re feeling stressed, you can use mindfulness exercises for attention. All you need is less than 10 minutes to naturally enter a peaceful of mind.

 

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