Have you ever felt so overwhelmed by something that you just couldn’t focus or concentrate on anything at all? Every so often, this also happens to me. In fact, it happens to the best of us. And if your lifestyle is anything like mine, you work hard and play hard, always trying to perform at peak performance, always trying to make the most out of every opportunity that comes your way, and determined to accomplish whatever it is that you put your mind to—no matter how many obstacles get in your way.
Nevertheless, regardless of your mental acumen and acuity—after all is said and done—you are only human, you can only do so much and go so far without having to take a break every now and then to recharge. Not to mention the fact that there is only so much time in the day to accomplish everything on your to-do list.
I know you’re busy, but so am I. But hopefully, by this stage in your life, you would agree that life is more like a marathon rather than a sprint. We all have to find a way to somehow pace ourselves accordingly so that we don’t inadvertently run out of mental steam before the finish line.
As a professional mental health interventionist and licensed psychotherapist, I have had the unique opportunity to work with some very successful and even a few well-known clients who have found themselves struggling in one way or another with any combination of mental health and substance disorders, with issues that clearly transcend all socioeconomic levels. Although I never actually plan to trade foreign currencies in London—or become a market-maker of integrated industrial circuitry in San Francisco for that matter—I have learned a lot of practical life lessons working with my clients.
One of the most significant lessons has been how important it is to find a way to budget your time wisely so that you can increase your productivity while having enough time to reflect and enjoy your desired quality of life, all somehow without the risk of burning out. In other words, success does not have to come at the expense of your own mental health.
With that being said, fortunately, meditation happens to be one of the most powerful, easily accessible, and cost-effective introspective tools available to help you gain the cognitive clarity and sharpness to successfully balance your precious time. Below are five ways that meditation helps you improve your daily focus and concentration.
1. Meditation Unclutters Your Mind
Meditation helps you improve your daily focus and concentration by uncluttering your mind. Similar to a computer, after downloading enough large files onto the hard drive in your mind—at one point or another—you will probably feel as though your mind has run out of free space to store any more information, thereby potentially overloading your own unique internal operating system.
It happens to the best of us, myself included. As a result, just like a computer, our performance diminishes, along with our mental health. We all have our limits. Mediation essentially provides a neurosensory pathway to archive important files while deleting obsolete and sometimes even intrusive data.
2. Meditation Liberates Your Thoughts From Past Traumas
Meditation helps you improve your daily focus and concentration by liberating your thoughts from past traumas. A traumatic event is usually characterized by something shocking to witness, marked by a sense of horror, helplessness, or by the threat of serious injury or death. Many people who have witnessed a traumatic event are negatively impacted long after the incident occurred by a condition that is commonly known as post-traumatic stress disorder. Many people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder experience flashbacks, insomnia, and generalized anxiety.
With guided meditation, you may be able to effectively work through the trauma by learning to let go of the specific circumstances surrounding the traumatic event that has negatively impacted your life. In essence, meditation can help you make peace with the past so that you live in the here and now with clarity and ultimately without fear.
3. Meditation Highlights the Impact of Maladaptive Belief Systems
Meditation helps you improve your daily focus and concentration by highlighting the impact of maladaptive belief systems. In one way or another, we are all products of our environment. Our belief systems are built upon the world that we live in and the information that we can access. Only through global exploration did everyone finally accept the fact that the world was not flat.
We all have the capacity to change the way we think, become more insightful, and be more aware of our surroundings. Meditation can provide a transcendental out-of-body perspective on any given subject with a more transparent line of sight well above the proverbial forest. Mediation can help provide you with the mental acuity to look at any given situation from multiple perspectives, which ultimately enhances your capacity to adapt to change.
4. Meditation Helps You Separate Yourself From Unhealthy Distractions
Meditation helps you improve your daily focus and concentration by enabling you to separate yourself from less critical and sometimes unhealthy distractions that tend to impede your ability to maintain healthy relationships with others and function independently.
As a professional addiction counselor, many of my clients have actually been able to use guided meditation to effectively work through cravings to use mood-altering substances, as well as behaviors associated with complex compulsive disorders.
Through meditation, you can essentially discard unwanted thoughts—first within your subconscious, and then in practice, when real-life conscious urges arise. Therefore, meditation can actually help people stay sober and stable by giving them an outlet to release thoughts and feelings that would otherwise compromise their overall mental health. In fact, studies have shown that regular meditation can be as effective as medication in treating people with symptoms of severe depression.
5. Meditation Creates a Judgment-Free Zone
Meditation helps you improve your daily focus and concentration by creating a judgment-free zone for you to collect your thoughts in peace and harmony before making critical and time-sensitive decisions with clarity. As both a licensed psychotherapist and small business owner, I have to always be on point, performing at my very best, all the while making every effort to spend quality time with my family.
In my world, there is no room for mediocrity and wasting time. I have clients that depend on me for counsel and a family that needs as much of my love and attention as I can possibly give—perhaps you feel the very same way. As a result, we are constantly making important decisions that impact a lot of people, and that’s the great thing about meditation.
No matter where you are in the world, no matter the time, unless you are in the middle of surgery or perhaps flying a plane—even if only for a brief moment—meditation can provide a transcendental portal into your very own subconscious tropical oasis of serenity and oneness where you can clear your mind before making major decisions.
Why Meditate for Concentration?
We all want to be self-sufficient and successful in whatever we choose to do with our lives. As humans, we are innately proud to be autonomous thinkers with the ability to resolve complex issues and accomplish even our loftiest goals using drive and ingenuity. As a result, we need to be able to focus and concentrate on the situation at hand with a clear mind, whether it be at work or at home.
From a personal perspective, the decisions that we make directly impact the lives of our loved ones. Someone once said that “no man is an island.” I firmly agree that we all need interpersonal connections in our lives to fully participate in the human experience. Furthermore, as entrepreneurs and independent professionals, we usually don’t have a back-office staff to help us take care of our clients.
Although we may have confidence in others, at the end of the day, it is ultimately our responsibility as individuals to make sure that both our loved ones—as well as our clients—feel as though we are available and on top of things, especially the things that they have entrusted us to take care of for them.
At the end of the day, many of us feel as though we just don’t have the luxury of taking a day off. There just isn’t anyone else to open up the store, perform the service, or spend enough quality time with loved ones eagerly waiting at home for some of our undivided attention. Therefore, our overall interpersonal happiness and financial success may largely depend on our ability to effectively focus and concentrate. Without enough time to refresh and recharge our minds, we can easily burn out.
Just like an acrobat appearing to fearlessly walk across a tightrope, we may be able to significantly improve our overall focus and level of concentration by using meditation to help us channel all of our conscious weight to our emotional base, giving us a greater sense of balance and clarity as we move forward in our lives.
Tips on How to Meditate for Concentration
- How to Meditate: 10 Steps to Meditate Anywhere
- How to Do Transcendental Meditation (Step-by-Step Guide)
- The Guided Morning Meditation for Beginners (That Will Change Your Day)
Featured photo credit: processingly via unsplash.com
|||^||National Institute of Mental Health: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder|
|||^||Harvard Health Publishing: Mind-body medicine in addiction recovery|
|||^||The Lancet: Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy compared with maintenance antidepressant treatment in the prevention of depressive relapse or recurrence (PREVENT): a randomized controlled trial|