8 ways to focus your wandering mind
Do you know the difference between ‘hearing’ and ‘listening’?
Hearing is simply recognizing and identifying a sound. Listening requires making an effort to understand the meaning of the sounds you’re hearing.
Just like people, pets always know when you’re really listening… or when you’ve tuned them out.
If you don’t know how to focus your mind you’ll miss out on their messages and opportunities to connect, heal, evolve and grow.
Here are 8 tips that will help you focus your mind…
Losing focus happens to the best of us…
It’s true, my mind will wander sometimes. I’ll be having a conversation with a friend or an animal when I suddenly realize I have no idea what they just said. I had drifted off daydreaming.
Maybe you’ve fallen asleep while meditating or struggled to pay attention while your boss explained a new procedure at work.
It’s natural to have these lapses in concentration, in particular if you’re already feeling under the weather, or just tired in general. But there are ways to tackle your wandering tendencies. Here is how to focus your mind.
1. Add a deliberate distraction
While there isn’t a consensus on the matter, there’s a growing body of research stating that having some noise in the background improves your powers of concentration.
Whether it’s instrumental music or ‘white noise’, introducing a planned distraction into your atmosphere actually helps you focus.
2. Go ahead and daydream
Pause to allow thoughts and feelings to surface so you can process them. Even if it’s completely unrelated to what you were trying to do, this can invigorate your focus when you return to the task.
Pro Tip: When communicating with animals, you might need time for the messages to percolate through your subconscious mind’s filter until it’s clear and ready for your attention.
3. Identify and eliminate stressors
This is just a good life tip for everyone. If you want to know how to focus your mind, give it a clear space in which to do its best work.
Try some mental imaging and put each concern or problem at a distance, but someplace accessible so you can look at it again later. Mentally put the distractions…
- in a drawer or bucket
- on a boat out on the water while you sit on the shore
- on a shelf in another room
Don’t worry, you are not throwing your problems away! Instead, you are just tucking them out of sight so you can devote your energy to the task at hand.
4. Grab a cuppa coffee
Not surprisingly, researchers have found a link between caffeine and improved cognition. Just be careful, because too much of this stimulant, which produces dopamine in your system, can interrupt your sleep and actually make you too jittery to be attentive.
There are other options if coffee is not your thing! Try a square of dark chocolate for a boost of serotonin and a dose of antioxidants.
Even the act of making yourself a cup of coffee or getting a piece of chocolate gets your body moving and creates a planned distraction to give your mind a break.
It might look and feel like a waste of time, but studies have proven that taking a minute or two and doodling improves focus. Doing so allows thoughts to come together.
Keep it simple: shapes, patterns, and designs work best!
Pro Tip: When you’re communicating with animals, imagine giving them the pen and let them doodle through you. This could allow their messages to pop through the images you’re doodling on the paper while you idly doodle through your thoughts.
6. Breathe and count
Whether you follow the Buddhist practice of “Anapanasati” or another technique of mindful breathing, you’ll find clarity in taking time to breathe with intention.
Start simply: Slowly inhale (1,2,3) then hold (1,2) and slowly exhale (3,2,1). Repeat this pattern until you feel the cleansing sensation in your mind.
Beyond the spiritual benefits of grounding yourself through breathing, science tells us your brain is getting a much-needed boost of oxygenated blood. It’s hard to know how to focus your mind when it’s running low on fuel…
7. Monitor your wandering
Be gentle with yourself when you realize your mind is wandering. That being said, make an effort to bring it back to the task as soon as you realize you’re drifting.
Try acting as a third-party observer when your mind wanders off. Make a mental note of it like you’d notice your kitten suddenly chasing a butterfly or your dog picking up a scent to pursue.
With practice, you’ll discover that you catch yourself more quickly and get yourself back on track more quickly, too.
8. Chew gum
Believe it or not, chewing gum can increase your attention span and make you more alert.
Are you in a stressful environment?
Chewing spearmint gum has been shown to relieve the stress that can cause your mind to wander.
Whether you’re having a meaningful conversation with another person or with your pets, they deserve your full and undivided attention.
When communicating with animals it’s especially important to maintain your focus. Some of their intuitive, telepathic messages can be subtle and fleeting impressions.
You don’t want to miss them so pay attention, breathe, go still, connect and FOCUS.
Play around with these different strategies and find the ones that work best for you.
Like any muscle in your body, flex your mental muscles to build up their strength and resilience…then you’ll be ready to explore meaningful conversations with your pets.
Did you find this article useful? Here are some more to help focus your mind: