We all must have had issues with our attention, at some or the other point of time in our lives.. be it in the classroom or in an important meeting etc. Ever wondered why is that so hard to be focused on something? Lets dig into it!
Attention has been a bigger issue not only in school going children, but even in adults of all ages.
What is Attention?
Attention, also referred to as enthralment, is a cognitive process of selectively concentrating on a discrete happening or information, whether deemed subjective or objective, while ignoring other perceivable information. It is a state of arousal.
What can cause lapse of attention?
At any point of time, there exists a lot of perceivable information and environmental noise that we need to chose from. we have innumerable audio and visual cues striking our sensory organs every second, from which our brain needs to chose.
Even if we voluntarily chose to hear or see a particular information, there are many stimuli in the environment asking for attention. They literally knock down the doors of our brain, even though our brain manages them with cool.
Levels of distraction
The importance to a particular disturbing stimuli results in varying levels of distraction in different individuals. For example, some people are seriously irritated by snoring while some others dont hear it. Some people immediately respond to a branded car passing by while others might not even notice. So the distraction caused is dependant on the prior programming in our brain against that particular stimuli. If a particular stimulus is programmed as very important, our brain alerts our attention on to it no matter what.
“Some people immediately respond to a branded car passing by, while others might not even notice.”
Understanding your Brain
Every second of out life, our brain is engaged in a continuous process of classifying external stimuli, sending more important things to its deep layer ie; Long term memory, and the rest are handled in short term memory, which are deleted after a few seconds.
Even though there are thousands and lakhs of such unwanted stimuli, they are just outsiders (processed even before entering our Short Term Memory), until our brain gets interested in them. Once our brain feels interested and let them in (to our Short Term Memory), we have a cluster of stimuli inside our brain fighting for processing space. At this level, our brain looks for rational reasons to differentiate between important and unimportant information. In order to prevent such a cluster and avoid distraction, we need to give our brain a standing instruction regarding the information we are looking for.
How to tell our Brain to pay attention?
Many people simply ask the brain to listen to something, without telling “why?”. But here is why its important.. Like a computer taking in our instructions in the form of commands, our brain takes in our commands in the form of “reasons”. Our rational brain which acts as the gate keeper for information flow, takes our reasons to listen something or see something and follows the same.
Reasons can be understood as motivation behind doing something, which means that statement which we tell ourselves before we do something (Yes, it happens before almost every action without our intention). The stronger the reason/motivation, the stronger the attention. This is why we cannot focus on maths class on normal days, but when it comes to exam days, we get to have better levels of attention. The more important something is to you, the more attention you pay on it.
So, the Key is folks, to clearly understand your priorities and make a strong statement to the brain. Dont expect your brain to do otherwise. Our brain strictly follows our priorities.
Importance of Meditation
Many people can face problems in clearly understanding their priorities and communicating the same to the brain. Lack of inner integrity (looking at one’s self) leads to deprived levels of communication with brain. They cannot help themselves, even if they know that they are not able to pay attention.
Exposure with digital appliances has increased the communication gap between us and our Brain.
So meditating everyday can easily boost up the levels of friendship between you and your brain, thus resulting in a healthy level of understanding between each other. Then you can easily see your priorities on the go and change them very quickly.
This way , you can literally talk to and control your brain to pay attention on whatever you want. But only after a good amount of practice.