Attention to Attention
Sustaining your effort requires open awareness, which means awareness of time, your environment, and your state of attention. If not for awareness of your attention status, how would you know when it is off the tracks? A brain that’s locked up in a deeply focused state is like a head in the sand. You see only sand, nothing else.
There’s a method to practicing pausing and stepping back. It’s never enough just to learn about attention training. It’s like learning about physical conditioning, if you never exercise, you will never experience the conditioning effect. The same is true for exercising your brain and developing new habits. Focusing on ridding yourself of bad habits is seldom productive and less depressing than cultivating new habits through practice.
My optometrist tells me we see with our brains and that our eyes are only part of a larger picture. I’ve learned that lesson firsthand in eye therapy. My complex vision problems are mild, but for optimal vision, I need more than eyeglasses.
I Practice exercises that I’ve taped to doors in my house. I have others in a folder. I’ve strengthened my ability to shift my visual attention. My speed at shifting from close-up to distance and distance to close-up, from focus on one object to another and back, tracking moving objects, touching an object using location memory, have all improved with exercise.
Mental exercise is like visual training and physical training. There’s no gain without effort. But what does the effort in mental exercise look like? I will be addressing this topic in a July workshop on mindfulness practice for adults with ADHD and/or anxiety. Revisit my website for details coming soon (and read my September, 2022 blog). This is an in-person workshop.
Exercising attention and mental flexibility is good for your physical and mental health and good for your relationships.