How Mindful and Present are you in your life? Are you thinking and planning while you are supposed to be fully engaged? Do you pay full attention on purpose, or are you on auto-pilot?
If you find yourself thinking about what you want to say while in a conversation or drifting off-topic while reading or on your phone – you are not alone. The average adult’s attention span is 12 seconds and research is finding that due to technology attention spans are decreasing.
What can we do to improve our attention, concentration and stay in the present moment?
Mindfulness: The Antidote
Being Mindful is the antidote. “Mindfulness” has become a popular buzzword in the West. Many people use it without truly knowing what it means.
In a recent training I completed with leading clinical psychologists Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield, they define Mindfulness as simply “paying attention on purpose.” As long as we set the intention and are aware, we can practice being mindful in our daily life.
I have found it helpful to use daily tasks to prompt me to be mindful. For example, every time you wash your hands, this can act as a cue to remind you to be mindful i.e., to take a deep breath and be aware of the sensations you are feeling as you wash your hands. Rather than thinking of other things, notice the water, soap, and sensations.
Intention and Awareness
I encourage you to set the intention to be more aware and present in your life by choosing one cue/habit to remind you to pay attention fully to that action. Start small, to begin with, and then increase as you build the skill of being fully present and mindful.
Benefits of Mindfulness
Here are just a few of the benefits of Mindfulness identified by scientific research:
- Stress reduction
- Reduced rumination/daydreaming
- Decreased negative affect (e.g. depression, anxiety)
- Less emotional reactivity/more effective emotion regulation
- Increased focus
- More cognitive flexibility
- Improved working memory
Paying Attention on Purpose
Paying attention on purpose helps us thoughtfully respond to things in our life rather than being reactive. This skill is necessary to change any undesirable behaviors. It improves cognition and therefore, we have more choices in our lives. Mindfulness is a wonderful tool that I hope you will benefit from.
If you would like to learn more about Mindfulness and improving your attention please feel free to contact me.
To your health and happiness,
Isobel McGrath is a licensed International Mental Health Counselor, Life Coach, and Certified Hypnotherapist located in St. Augustine, FL.
Isobel provides therapy, counseling, life coaching, and hypnosis in person at her St. Augustine Beach office, and through Telehealth. She is dedicated to providing exceptional, collaborative care, and truly cares about her clients and their well-being.