Six Ways to Salvage Your Attention in a World That is Trying to Steal it From You

What many people don't realise, is that our ability to focus affects our overall sense of wellbeing.  A scattered focus degrades our wellbeing and a sharp focus enhances it.  So follow these six steps to help you improve yours. 


Recognise what’s happening to you.

Recognise that every time you go on your phone corporations with gargantuan influence have a vested interested in stealing your attention and they will make it so compelling that you don’t even know it’s happening. Basically if you’re not on your phone, they can’t target you with advertising or influence, so they WANT you on your phone and they will make it incredibly enticing. When you feel yourself getting sucked into a rabbit hole that is numbing you out, just yell at yourself to STOP. Remind yourself what your values are and then ask yourself is mindless scrolling in line with my values or against my values? Now go and do something that is IN LINE with your values, even if it feels less compelling. Caveat: Scrolling done mindfully, MAY actually be in line with your values.



Slow down.

Slowness nurtures our attention and speed shatters it. If you go about your tasks too fast you overload your system your abilities start to degrade. So take a breath. Walk slower, scroll slower, read slower, be more decisive and intentional about your speed.



Starve your dopamine receptors.

By going on a dopamine detox we reset our attention and our ability to engage with real life. Ever seen the TV series White Lotus? The teenage boy with autism loses his phone on holiday but gains rich friendships with some indigenous people who are training for a canoe race. At first he is beside himself not knowing how he will survive the holiday week, but after not too long without his phone, his attention converts to outside of himself. His life becomes richer and (spoiler alert) he decides to abandon his USA life and stay on the island because it feels so much richer. Just like we get insulin resistant with too much sugar, we can get dopamine resistant too, always craving higher and higher hits until nothing feels exciting. This constant chasing splits our attention further, making the problem perpetually worse, leading to darker and darker spaces inside ourselves.



Balance your blood sugar. Our ability to focus isn’t just random, it comes from our nutrition. Speaking from experience, since fasting in between meals and quitting sugar, my cognitive function has improved and as a result, so has my confidence. Brain fog and fuzzy focus leads to lack of confidence which leads to a loss of personal power and when we feel like this, we reach for short term fixes to feel better (aka our phones or sugar) and the cycle starts all over again. Improving our gut microbiome and stabilising our blood sugar has a direct impact on our ability to focus and in some cases, can take less than a week to see profound results. Push through the initial yucky period to welcome in a world of health, focus and higher level cognitive function.



Conscious scrolling.

I think it’s safe to say that phones are not going away. We would be hard pressed to live without them right? So if we need them, how can we use them more mindfully in order to foster power over our attention? I like to think of it as ‘intermittent phone fasting’. Ring fence your phone use to specific times of the day that work within YOUR daily routine. Here’s my example: I do check my phone on waking just to see if there are any emergencies or anything that needs my attention right away. I then do my morning routine. I always put my phone on silent when my narrow focus is required, but I might check it if I need a break. Although it’s hard, I try not to check it randomly during the day (eg. when waiting) and use that time for meditation or contemplation. I always charge my phone in a different room and put it away by 8pm at the latest. Scroll, but scroll consciously to remind yourself that the power is in your hands.



Mind Wandering.

If you’re wondering why on earth you wake up in the middle of the night with a head full of thoughts it’s because you haven’t done enough thinking during the day. In today’s world we are taking in 74 GB of information per day. 500 years ago 74 GB of information would have been ingested by someone like a scholar over their entire lifetime! Your brain has to process all of that information somehow and if you’re not doing it during day (by way of thinking time), you’ll have to do it in the middle of the night by way of conscious analysis (when you should be unconscious!). So give yourself at least 20 minutes a day of sedentary day dreaming to improve your ability to focus.


In conclusion...


One: Recognise what's happening to you

Two: Slow down

Three: Starve your dopamine receptors

Four: Balance your blood sugar

Five: Adopt conscious scrolling

Six: Schedule in mind wandering time


If you're resonating with any of this but you’re struggling to live your life in accordance with your values (or don’t even know what your values are), you might want to investigate Rapid Transformational Therapy as a mode of hypnotherapy that could help reset your system.

Click here to learn more.



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