Bring awareness back in your body to stay focused in life

To stay focused requires minimal distraction in the mind. It is interesting how chaos could ensue around someone, yet they are able to maintain focus.

I wonder why that is?

A typical day in life for example, getting lost in all the intricacies of tasks, obligations, responsibilities.

How can someone stay focused with so much going on?

Being in tune with our senses of what is occurring in our body can help to maintain focus on the joy of who we are, what is happening in our perceptual world.

It is a form of appreciative acknowledgement. Accepting what is happening without resistance.

The awareness in our body connects us back to ourselves.

It is a grounding into the current moment.

Tune into the moment without the chaos diverting our attention somewhere other than what is happening right now.

The mind connects back with the body.

You take the time to feel your feet on the ground. You allow yourself to be open to observation as time was taken to notice.

To feel the sensations, the energy in your body. 

Where are they being held, stored, restricted?

Taking small steps to incorporate awareness in your body throughout the day will provide advantages of focus in life.

You may notice yourself stepping out of fear based thinking, listening with greater intention, less frustration, overall appreciative awareness for right now.

3 Ways To Create Awareness In The Body

  1. Body Scan
  2. Movement
  3. Intentional Reflection/Expression

The body scan is a technique used to intentionally bring attention to individual parts of the body without judging them. 

Movement when done mindfully helps to connect yourself back to your body to truly feel the various areas of the body in greater appreciation.

Intentional reflection offers a form of expression that creates a conscious awareness of the things that benefit the body in it’s functioning and movement while also identifying what obstructs it’s effectiveness.

Connecting back to the body is a choice that aids in the life healing process. It allows feelings and thoughts to surface that would otherwise be suppressed. 

As the practice becomes stronger, so does the efficiency of how quickly someone can tune into their body.

After experimenting with the sensations in the body, bring them into awareness and feel a powerful experience of focused presence within you.

Connection to the body is a conscious awareness to the residing messages below the superficial functioning in life.

Awaking to awareness within yourself

The word “meditation” is commonly used when the topic of presence is discussed.

There are some people that say, “I can’t meditate because I can’t turn my brain off.”

Some misconceptions about meditation

  • Mediation is not about turning the brain off.

It is about being present with your mind through a deeper state of awareness.

It is about training your mind to allow thoughts to come and go without directly attaching self to them. This helps to increase awareness of yourself and surroundings.

Furthermore, it enables someone to manage their thoughts while enhancing creativity, emotional balance and overall calmness.

  • Meditation doesn’t always feel relaxing. At the beginning it may be an uncomfortable process to be present with yourself.  Someone might think there are so many other things to be done on the to-do list and meditation takes away from time that can be used for other tasks. The process of connecting to oneself actually improves the efficiency at which steps are taken with clarity and effectiveness.
  • The method of meditation does need need to be self evaluated as right or wrong. There is no wrong way to meditate. Gradually it becomes efficient in the way you become present with yourself. That is all part of the process.

If you start by meditating for 2 minutes, that is good enough. If your mind is wandering for those 2 minutes and you find it hard to sit still, that is good enough. Repetition and discipline of the routine will gradually enhance the experience over time. That is where shifts in awareness are visible.

Meditation can take various forms.

9 common types of meditation practices

  1. Mindful meditation is a practice that helps you become aware of what your sensing and feeling in the moment without judgement.
  2. Spiritual meditation is a practice that connects you to something greater than self, to develop a deep relationship with the human spirit without the need to hold identities and labels.
  3. Focused meditation involves focusing attention on an object or physical sensation using any of the five senses to help increase awareness of the present moment.
  4. Movement meditation involves being mindful of the sensations that occur during movements.
  5. Mantra meditation is the repetition of a word or phrase that is whispered, chanted, spoken while being repeated during the meditation.
  6. Transcendental meditation is a practice where you mentally repeat a Sanskrit word or phrase with your eyes closed until a state of inner peace is reached.
  7. Progressive meditation is a technique that involves two steps of intentionally tensing each muscle group in the body and then focusing on relaxing them.
  8. Loving-Kindness meditation is the practice of generating loving-kindness towards self, others, all living beings through goodwill, compassion and kindness.
  9. Visualization meditation focuses on using guided positive imagery, ideas, symbols, thoughts, feelings or sensations.

Through the various types of meditation, the sole purpose is to center yourself. The various forms of meditation offer ways to do that.

Meditation offers the opportunity to develop emotional intelligence by connecting with emotions, the body or enhancing overall awareness.

This is accomplished through expanding states of consciousness and self realization.

You get to have present moment awareness by shifting from thinking to sensing.

Here is a simple meditation to help connect to your inner awareness;

Now is the time to be aware of the present moment. Say to yourself, “I let go of the past and future.”

Turn your attention to your senses.

Focus on the sounds right now that take minimal effort to hear. As you concentrate more, begin to notice other sounds. Just continue to be present with all the sounds that come and go.

Turn your attention to your body.

Take a moment to feel your arms wherever they might be. Your legs wherever they are. Bring awareness to any pains or tightness in your body. Any feelings that are present. Be aware of the shifts in these body sensations while being present to them as they come and go.

Turn your attention to your thoughts.

Watch your thoughts as they appear and float away. Allow them to arrive and pass without grasping them. There is no need to act on them or respond to them. You are just observing them. Each thought is just a message. There is no judgement behind the message. See the messages and let it pass by without attaching a meaning to it.

Turn your attention to your breathing.

Feel your breath as you inhale and exhale. Notice the sound, the air entering and exiting your lungs. Notice the speed of your breath. Slow the pace down as slow as you can.

Allow your breath to become deeper.

Sit and be with all the senses you were just conscious to without concept of time.
Allow yourself to exit from the meditation when you are ready.

What did you notice about the present moment?

What did you notice about your awareness for your inner self?

How has your perspective of the present moment changed?

The benefits of mindful breathing in your day

Instinctively we know how to breathe. It is something we are born to do and is part of everyday life.

Is it something we are conscious of?

The awareness of breath directly impacts many outcomes in regards to overall health.

How we breath is an essential part of regulating stress.

It calms the nervous system. This alleviates the various stress responses that would normally be engaged in survival strategies.

Choices are available that are not manufactured from the reactions of fight or flight response thinking.

Dr. Joe Dispenza, neuroscientist and author, explains clearly how the breath affects the internal functioning in the body;

When we begin to close our eyes and take a couple of slow deep breaths and become aware of it, we’re literally switching nervous systems. 

We switch from that fight or flight nervous system.

As we begin to breathe and we begin to turn on the other nervous system called the parasympathetic nervous system, that nervous system is the nervous system of relaxation.

Your heart rate slows down, your respiratory system slows down, your blood pressure changes. 

All your blood flow goes into your internal organs and into your brain and metabolism, or better said, energy is being rejuvenated and restored and no energy is leaking out to address emergency situations, to address threats.

“By changing patterns of breathing we can change our emotional states, how we think, and how we interact with the world.” 

– Dr. Patricia Gerbarg, Harvard-trained psychiatrist 

Extended Benefits of Mindful Breathing

Overall, the benefits extend to improved focus, increased energy, shifted mood, and effective preparation for quality sleep.

All that is required is becoming aware of your breath. However, being aware of the breath is an action commonly disregarded throughout each day.

“Yoga teachings state that if the mind is moving so are the heart and respiration. 

When we are angry, our breath quickens; when we sleep our breath slows down. 

By consciously slowing down the breath and making it rhythmic so that consciousness is not disturbed by it, we can achieve corresponding tranquility.” 

– Dr. Hiroshi Motoyama, psychologist, philosopher, & researcher 

This means that mindful breathing has the ability to support anxiety and calm it’s intensities.

When stress is perceived, the breathing pattern changes. The breath becomes shallow and short while improper muscles are incorporated in the breathing process. The functioning of the body is disrupted and symptoms of anxiety expand. 

Controlled breathing with slow breaths can bring the body back to operating in a non-stress state so it can function effectively. 

Types of breathing techniques

Depending on your curiosity and experience with breathing techniques, here are some types to try:

  • Lengthen the exhale
  • Equal breathing
  • Resonant breathing
  • Alternate nostril breathing
  • Box breathing

 

Practice breathing into a moment of stress

Imagine a moment of anxiety or tension.

Feel into that moment.

What thoughts are you experiencing? What feelings and emotions are you experiencing?

How is this affecting you in the moment? What are you doing? What are you not doing?

Now, imagine yourself taking a deep breath. Inhaling deeply, and then exhaling slowly and controlled.

As you inhale again, slow the breath and focus on the deep control you have of that breath. Before you begin to exhale, pause for 5 seconds and hold that breath.

At the end of that pause, exhale again slowly.

As you repeat the inhaling, pausing and exhaling a few more times, bring awareness to how that moment has changed.

What is different now?

What do you notice now that wasn’t present before?

What new choices opened up in that moment?

Did you see other benefits that accompanied awareness of your breath?

The awareness of the breath brings you back to your inner self.
Access to your inner knowing and acceptance of trust in the moment.