Dealing With Stress, Step 6 and 7: Focus Attention Elsewhere
(This article is a part of a series; please start here)
Stop ruminating. It is natural, but not always constructive. I’d dare to say it almost never proves useful. It is not to say you shouldn’t analyse what happened; this helps you learn and get better at things. But it doesn’t help in any way to replay the movie time and again, beating yourself up or inventing alternative scenarios.
In order to stop brooding and start building, turn your attention to the outside. Consciously establish your objective: “I will scan the street and take in as many details of the outside world as I can“. Focus on things you like. If you are passionate about colors, look for every shade, for every nuance you encounter. If you are into smells, remark as many different smells, aromas, flavors as you can, from the fleeting perfumes of the passers-by to the thick smell of restaurant kitchens to the sharp smell of fresh paint as you pass by a door being redecorated. Whatever you like, look for it actively.
At first, this probably won’t last long. Your mind wants you ruminating. That’s OK. Don’t fret, don’t judge yourself, don’t try too hard. Observe the return to inner scenarios, file the fact away and get your eyes and attention back outside. Repeat as necessary.
If at all possible, take yourself into the nature: a wood, a park, a field. Nature is a healer, more so than any other man-made environment. But if you can’t, the cityscape will do nicely, as long as you remember that the essence is not succeeding in this exercise, but the repetition itself. Right, the repetition. Just like at the gym: it is not the weight you’re lifting, but how many times you lift it, that shapes muscles.
Attention and focus are much like muscles: you have to work them to make them stronger.
And while you’re at it, combine it with Step 7: straighten up. Raise your forehead, look upon the world as you own it and soon you will be better. “Fake it till you make it” is not a lie. It takes effort, for sure. But it works.
If your mind plays tricks on you, it is only adequate for you to play tricks back on it. You should be the winner.
By Catalin Octavian Blaga – Trainer Great People Inside
Trainer who turns business experience and psychology into impacting training programs… and more! You can find out more about Catalin by clicking here