Do you give enough attention to the people, activities, and things that are important to you? This is a question I recently asked myself and if I’m being honest, the response was disappointing.
The Problem Today
Our lives are busy. Really busy. And distracted. We have an average of about 70,000 thoughts a day (that’s about 1 every 1.2 seconds…so they’re coming). Then our devices! Geeze. Its now a thing to do a “digital detox” and “try” to be without your phone on your nightstand.
What we put our attention on grows and the sad fact is that for most of us, our attention isn’t really focused on those we love. Its being hijacked by other “busy & distracted” people, our devices, and yes…our very own “monkey-mind”!
Better Quality Attention; Happier YOU! (and those you care about)
The Full Life is all about building a life you love while you love and care for those around. This concept of “attention” is a critical piece that we’ve just got to get good at if we are to connect to that fullness we are striving for. Your attention, your ability to be focused on the things, people and activities that matter the most to you…it a limited resource. It directly correlates to the amount of love in your life. And love and happiness go hand in hand.
Let’s Do An Assessment: What Is The Quality of Your Attention?
I’m enjoying a new book just now from HayHouse author, Sarah McLean called “The Power of Attention”. Along with her deep wisdom of meditation she also shares a series of questions to help you get a pulse on where your attention is at. Let’s do it now!
Ask Yourself These Questions
1. Do I give enough attention to the people, activities, and things that are important to me?
2. How does someone or something respond when I give him/her/it my undivided attention? How do they respond when I am distracted in his/her/its presence?
3. Do I pay attention to and listen to my inner knowing?
4. How do I feel physically – and where in my body do I feel it – when I judge, feel spiteful, or have ill will toward a particular person or situation?
5. How do I feel – and where in my body do I feel it – when I offer loving and supportive attention to a family member, a friend, or a stranger?
6. How do I feel – and where in my body do I feel it – when someone ignores me, disregards my requests, or is generally not present when they’re with me?
7. How do I feel – and where in my body do I feel it – when I am truly being paid attention to?
8. Do I often multitask or am I able to sustain an uninterrupted continuum of attention?
9. What external stimulus most distracts me? (My phone? My relationship? The people or objects in my environment?)
10. What internal stimulus distracts me? (My obsessions? My daydreams? My grudges? My limiting beliefs? Body sensations?)
11. How long can I engage and be present with someone without looking at an electronic device?
12. Do I feel a sense of rushing even when there are no deadlines and nowhere to go?
So…how do you feel?
There is a lot to digest here and I encourage you to journal about it (as I am doing with a couple of my “Full Life” coaching groups) or sit with questions (and a good fair trade coffee) or the next time you are waiting for your kids at sports practice or music lessons. Really be honest with yourself…as I mentioned, when I did, I wasn’t so pumped about where I stood.
But, awareness is the catalyst for change and the awareness that my attention’ing needed a little overhaul got me excited so here are 3 of my favourite ways to boost your attention skills:
1. Make a list of the 5 people you MOST want to give that limited resource of your full attention to. Commit that when you are around them that you will really try to give them your full and undistracted attention. This means; put the phone down, stop moving around, look them in the eye, really listen to understand them vs listening to respond or perhaps not even really listening at all.
2. Avoid Multi-Tasking (it creates stress in our bodies). And, when you really look at ALL you must do, honestly, I bet you’ll surprised at how much you actually have control over and some things that you don’t really have to do.
3. Practice noticing when you aren’t focused with undistracted attention and “fix it”. Its not the now, it’s the next that counts. There is always a chance to say “you know what, I’m really sorry, I wasn’t really listening. Its important to me that you know how much I value/love you. Can we start again?” Neutrons that fire together, wire together and so the more times you do this, the quicker you get at noticing and getting back in the attention game.
It’s a work in progress as we move from a busy life to The Full Life but I pinky-promise swear it is so worth it! YOU are so worth it!