Attention and Emotions

The ability to pay attention is associated with the capability to regulate emotions (Tan, 2012). Many individuals are not aware how negative self-talk impacts their behavior. When humans increase their ability to pay attention, they recognize how often their mind wanders, and where it tends to go.
Drifting off and listening to negative self-talk can be habit forming. The more the mind focuses on a thought or subject, the stronger the belief becomes. Those beliefs motive actions, behavior, and attitude. Simple steps can be incorporated into one's personal and professional life to begin a practice of increasing the skill of paying attention. Learning actionable steps to increase attention is simple but requires discipline and practice.

  1. Where? I like to practice in a position that decreases my chances of falling asleep and increases my chances of being aware of the moment. In the office, I sit upright in my chair, take three deep breaths, and count to 10 before opening my email each morning (which has become a habit now). Find an exercise and position that works for
  2. When? I now meditate throughout the day but when I was just starting out, I practiced in the mornings. I started small with just 5 and 10 minutes at a time. I recommend apps such as “Mindfulness” and “10% Happier” to help with get started.
  3. How? When I first started meditating, I focused my attention on my breath. It became an anchor (a focus point). When my mind would wander, I could go back to my breath and focus on how it felt entering my body and leaving my body. Counting the inhalations and exhalations works to bring my attention back to the moment when my mind wanders
  4. Kindness- It is very important that you do not judge yourself negatively. BE KIND TO YOURSELF! Each time you notice your mind wanders, smile, return your awareness to the present moment and pat yourself on the back. Your ability to notice when your mind wanders will increase with
  5. Sixty Second Sabbaticals– Taking 60 seconds throughout the day really keeps me focused. Here are some examples: when I brush my teeth, take a shower, drive to work, when I eat, drink, and listen to people talk. I enjoy these activities much more when I am aware of the moment. Life is meant to be enjoyed. Be PRESENT and ENJOY!

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