Doesn't seem as if our attention has become a very precious commodity? The moment we wake up we are instantly pulled by the countless bits of information that bombard and clamor for our attention. Our opinions are apparently more needed than ever and our supposed needs and deficiencies fuel the largest industries of our time.
The speed and frequency of digital stimulation that we are being inundated with on a daily basis is shaping our ability to focus and pay attention. The multi-tasking demands it makes on our ability to focus can create difficulties to deepen our understanding and see things through.
It is no wonder that we often feel scattered and overwhelmed on a daily basis. Add to this all the other demands that we face in the multiple areas of our life and it is no wonder we may often feel unable to cope. Fortunately for us our brain's neuroplastic capacity to adapt, reform, edit, delete and connect in new ways can sometimes cushion the barrage of stimulation.
We have options. There is much that we can do to protect ourselves from drowning in a sea of information and to empower our ability to discern and prioritize how we swim in these infinite waters. We can learn to slow things down which in this case can be a source of energy and creativity.
So what can we do. One first step is to recognize how we are being impacted by our multi-tasking mental process and in which ways we would like to change. Limiting the time and sources of information you would like to engage with is another first step to take. Once you have edited and designed the framework of your external stimulation experience you can begin to install pathways to other activities and interests to fill this void.
You don't have to go far or keep yourself busy in myriad ways to accomplish this, however. In fact, it might just be helpful to do less for a moment, slow down with your breath, take notice of your surroundings and dip into this moment. Interestingly 'slowing down' can have a very energizing effect, as it allows us to operate from a more present moment based awareness and activate creative perspectives that had been previously unnoticed. For most of us this simple activity can be daunting. Our brains are so used to the hyperactivity of constant information and distraction that to slow down and breath deeply may feel like a monumental task.
Begin by noticing the sensations in your body at this moment, the emotions and reactions that may accompany some thoughts and the familiar loops that surface again and again. Notice how fleeting all thoughts are and how deep certain emotions can pull. Each time you become aware of a sensation, a thought, an emotion, a reaction, I invite you to just notice. Take a breath and notice it again. Resist the urge to judge, categorize and assign it a value related to your worth, your abilities and potential. As you do this, also notice the environment that you find yourself in, become aware of the connections to this moment and the simple ways that this awareness may surface in. The sensations of the air or the sun on your skin, the warmth or coolness of the object in your hand, the sounds of the world around you and the possibilities for the very next moment.
It would be great if this was easy to do from the start, unfortunately it is not. Like with all things our practice and engagement in these slowing down activities creates neurological pathways that can alter our stubborn default modes. The more you practice, the more neurological/physiological/psychological/emotional connections you create, and the easier it becomes. With time you can excel at recognizing and providing yourself with opportunities to slow down and become more energized.