Thursday, January 08, 2009

Do You Get Distracted Easily? Does Your Mind Wander Too Often?

Lobes of the brain, wiki


Here's One Technique That Can Help You Concentrate Better

Does your mind wander so much that you are unable to concentrate on the task at the hand? Does it take you more time than is necessary to complete a given assignment? Does your mind wander to events and happenings and who-said-what-to-whom, while it should be focusing on the words on the screen or in the textbook? Does the noise of the mason or the carpenter working in the background distract you so much that either you get up and go away, or you decide to postpone your own particular work till silence returns?

image by jando, sxc.hu

Increasing the mind's focus, like a lens, is a desirable trait, and one that yields rich dividends in just about any human activity. When the rays converge to a sharp point, they develop the power to burn whatever it is they are converging on. However, we all know that we fall short in "converging the rays" to a point, and that something happens to the "lens" and it grows defocused with time and age. And no one amongst us is growing any younger, are we?

image by cierpki, sxc.hu

There are very good techniques to keep the lens sharpened, and also increase its focusing power. There are some links in the right panels on this page, where this article is being posted, which offer products that help you in the sharpening. The impact of one particular technique on the lens-sharpening process that I would like to highlight was measured by a team of researchers from the Medical School of the University of California and the Scripps Research Institute, California, as part of an experiment on a group of 16 people of ages ranging from 24 to 56. The criterion for being selected to be part of this study was that the individual had to have imbibed this technique in their daily regimen for a certain period of time. (The research paper has been published in the International Journal of Psychophysiology, the volume is still in press as of writing this article, and here is the link to the online piece: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2008.03.013.)

image by lusi, sxc.hu

What the researchers found out was that the EEG graph of these people consistently showed a greater resistance of the brain to not be distracted by any ambient noise around them. So trained the brains of these people have become that, no matter what, the lens stays focused, the rays continue to converge on one sharp point, and whatever-it-is-that-they-are-converging-on continues to burn with the same intensity.

image by craigpj, sxc.hu

So what was the particular technique followed by these men and women? These people are meditators; they have been meditating for an average of 20 years, and the criterion for selecting them for the experiment was that they have been doing so for at least one-half hour or more each day.

image by erwinbacik, sxc.hu

Meditation involves maintaining a state of mental awareness about all that is happening in the body and the mind, but without reacting to any of the sensations taking place and thoughts passing through.

image by pmartike, sxc.hu

Meditators with years of practice can fob off feelings of drowsiness in conditions when there are no external sensory stimulations; so if it is a job involving keeping watch over prisoners, or peering closely at monotonous signals coming from some distant spaceship - you wouldn't find yourself dozing off, or wishing you had a better job or were doing something else. The brain develops such strength that when there are distracting noises in the background, a person who has meditation practice can actually shut them out to a great extent, if not absolutely completely.

image by taluda, sxc.hu

Just like bench press and the dumb bells are exercise for the body, meditation is an exercise for the brain. Getting it to focus on the task on hand is not the only benefit that accrues from this technique. Continuous meditation practice arrests the aging of the brain, and there are encouraging reports of meditation halting the spread of HIV virus in the body. With daily practice, you can bring into control disorders of psychosomatic nature. Meditation has also been found to be effective in keeping in check the irritating tinnitus. (In fact, if you are interested, you can surf to the blog here: http://success-nirvana.blogspot.com, for a host of articles and useful information on the subject.) Strange, isn't it, that here we are, spending money on costly medicines and expensive treatments that are not only painful but also have negative side-effects, and here is such a simple, cost-free technique of simply sitting idle for about half-an-hour every day (at least half-an-hour every day) that achieves the same if not better results.

image by tung072, sxc.hu

So if you are a student and very keen to score well in exams, you know now what to incorporate in your daily regimen. Once you get the brain to shield itself against any noises, your concentration on your studies will see you cover more chapters than what other non-meditator students can manage to cover; your grip over your brain will see you tackle problems - be they academic, managerial, or any other problem in life for that matter - more sharply than was possible otherwise.

image by code1name, sxc.hu

5 comments:

  1. That happens with me a lot i get distracted easily

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your blog is lovely, I come here wanting to read some article about self development, but the length of your page actually distracts me, my friend. I'd love to come here now and again, but it will be much easier to scroll your articles if you put may be only one post in your front page.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Very good article. I meditate faithfully every day. If more people would do it - it would be a much better world. Thanks for all of your wonderful articles. Love your blog!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Many institutions limit access to their online information. Making this information available will be an asset to all.

    ReplyDelete