How the Mind Wanders

Focusing is not as easy at it seems, it might be something natural for a few lucky individuals, but for a lot of people, yours truly included, keeping your mind on track can be challenging. Your most powerful thoughts, those that usually run on the background, always seem to power through and take over whatever you have in mind. And if you have something that really bugs you, a personal issue, something related to work, family, friends, it can take a life of its own when you leave your mind adrift. It ends up drifting just there.

The fact that we get suffocated with information and data all day long, does not help. We have so many things at hand that it’s hard to focus on all of them. How many times you’ve been out and about with friends, but at the same time checking your phone, reading articles, checking facebook and so on. You don’t focus on the thing you’re actually doing, being out with real people, you’re focusing on several things at once, splitting yourself so much that in the end you just can’t concentrate on single thing.

I’ve got stuck in a bad behaviour where while I’m watching something on TV or on my computer, I’m also checking my phone for things that just pop in my head, looking up stuff, or playing games or talking with friends, all at the same time. And in the end, I’m not doing any of those things properly, I’m just half assing them. This process repeated over time killed my ability to focus.

How do I stop the Wandering

First of all, I got rid of my phone, I tried to keep it out of my reach. No temptation there. Then I just tried to focus on one thing at a time. Life can’t be multi-lived, you can’t break your attention span in several directions and expect success, no matter what you’re doing. And as a generation of short attention spans, one that lives on scrolls, and processes information through headlines, we’re losing our ability to focus and actually use our brain power, to grow and function as human beings not just consumers of data.

I hear meditation is really good for focus issues, I haven’t tried it, but I did try a few Mindfulness exercises that really help, not just to focus but to really clear your head. My mind always seems to go in overdrive and this really slows things down. Putting my mind on pause, stopping it from burning “fuel” was crucial to help me stop the wandering.

If you feel like you’re always full of thoughts, that you just keep jumping from one thing to another, without ever being able to just clear everything off, you should really try a few focus exercises. And if you really need to split yourself between your phone and the real people around you every time you’re out, you should really try to break that relationship.

For starters keep it in your pants.



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