I’m always looking for ways to better myself when it comes to being able to focus more, and what I’ve realized over the years is meditation can be your concentration master.
So how do meditation and focus correlate?
The purpose of meditation is to focus the attention of the mind. This can be achieved by focusing on a mantra, a candle, a sound or simply your breathing. Whichever technique you use the goal is the same; to help remove your mind of all of the negative head clutter which distracts and frustrates you.
The evidence that meditation improves concentration is extensive and compelling. In a 2000 study published in the “Journal of Research and Development in Education” which looked at the effects of meditation on middle school children, it was shown that when meditation was made a daily practice that there were marked improvements in work habits, focus, attendance and GPA scores.
In another study published in the Boston Globe used a button pressing game which required both speed and concentration. Those players who meditated for 40 minutes significantly outperformed those players who were given 40 minutes of sleeping time. This demonstrates that the benefits derived from meditation go beyond simply being rested and relaxed.
You may by now be convinced of the benefits to both your productivity and concentration by making meditation a regular practice, but what type of meditation should you perform? To help with this we have listed some simple meditative techniques that you can use in order to improve your focus and concentration.
Simple Breathing Meditation
Step One: First you should find yourself a quiet place where you will not be distracted while meditating. If you have a busy household, consider waking earlier than the other members of your family so that you won’t be disturbed. The early hours of the morning are often better suited to meditation.
Step Two: Sit on a chair, cushion or stool. Keep your back straight but not rigid. Make sure that your back is unsupported.
Step Three: Begin to slowly inhale and exhale through your nose. Then close your eyes and allow your body to relax. Listen to the sound of your breathing and keep your focus on your breath.
Step Four: Now we are going to introduce a mantra or a low humming sound. This mantra should be made on each breath. The most common mantra is “Om” but you might like to replace this with the word “one” or another word that makes you feel relaxed. You can say this word in your mind or out loud, whichever you are more comfortable doing.
Step Five: Continue this practice for 5 minutes. Over time gradually lengthen your mediation period so that you eventually are meditating for 25 – 30 minutes in each session.
Candle meditation is an excellent technique for developing concentration and focus. To many people the flame of the candle symbolizes the light of Buddha’s teachings. The flame also has spiritual and religious connotations to many other people as well and so can be a powerful object to focus your attention on.
Step One: Find your quiet place as you did for your breathing meditation. Place the candle so that it is eye level with you and then light the wick.
Step Two: Sit with your back straight and unsupported. Tense one by one the muscles from your toes through to your head, until you feel completely relaxed. If you notice any tension remaining in your body, tense and then relax those muscles.
Step Three: First simply focus on your breathing, and then gradually move your attention to the flickering flame of the candle. Simply be aware of the candle. If distracting thoughts enter your mind, allow them to drift away, and then return your focus to the candle.
Step Four: Continue this practice for 5 minutes. Over time build up the length of time until you are meditating with the candle for 25 – 30 minutes at a time.
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