I have an NLP Practitioner Certification course coming up and one of my participants was concerned that she wouldn’t be able to focus in class. “My mind always wanders” she proclaimed. Here’s the 3 tips I told her to help her keep her attention on what really matters:
- See though your own eyes. I know it sounds really stupid because it isn’t possible to see through someone else’s eyes. And yet, a lot of people are walking around experiencing their lives as if they were outside of their own body. Sometimes instead of looking through their own eyes, they’re looking at themselves as if they were standing next to their body like an observer. The problem with being an observer in your life is that your mind starts drifting off to all the stuff that you can observe instead of focusing on what is actually happening right there and then. If you consciously see the task at hand through your own eyes, your focus will remain on that task instead of wandering off.
- Hear through your own ears. Again, I know it isn’t possible to hear through someone else’s ears! This one is more about tuning out the internal noises, especially ones that tell you not-so-useful stuff like, “Why haven’t you finished this yet?” or “You have so much work to do!” Focusing your ears on what you actually hear from your external environment can keep you focused. You may hear the sound of cars passing on the street below or the humming of a fan. Whatever it is, keep this in your mind instead of the negative internal dialogue.
- Feel the feelings you have. Most of us try to push away feeling frustrated or feeling stressed. This isn’t very useful as our body and mind will continue to remind us of these feelings if we haven’t addressed them. To feel your feelings just means to notice them and bring your conscious awareness to them. Once you do this, step outside of yourself for a moment and take a good hard look at the feelings you’re experiencing. What triggered this feeling? How long have you been ignoring it? What feeling would you rather feel instead? Once you determine the feeling you would rather have, think about what that looks like. How would you be sitting or standing if you had that feeling instead of the feeling you currently have? Try on this new position and see how long it takes you to access the new feeling. Now that you are in a new feeling, you can go back to focusing on matters at hand.
In NLP we call this being Associated. Being associated helps you stay in the here and now. It allows your brain to work properly and make decisions easily. This state is also perfect for experiencing joy, happiness, and bliss. So, put down the phone, the iPad, or whatever device you’re holding and just focus for a few minutes. With all the chaos being sent to us from all different directions, it’s a skill set we all need to master more and more.