Focus is a fundamental requirement in today’s workplace. In the knowledge workforce focus is necessary for productivity and efficiency; It’s necessary for quality and for safety; It’s necessary for self-awareness; And it’s also necessary for the practices of mindfulness and meditation. A colleague of mine who suffered from alcohol addiction, found it impossible to focus for any length of time in order to do the meditation and prayer taught in some of the 12-step Programs for a sober life. She was however, able to re-wire her brain and train herself for focus and meditation, and she shares her story in her book “Madly Chasing Peace – How I went from Hell to Happy in Nine Minutes a day”, by Dina Proctor.
Dina is a bestselling author, speaker, and coach for corporations and individuals. She developed a very simple and quick technique to focus within. Dina’s 9-minutes a day, 3×3 Technique (3 minutes, 3 times a day) delivers impactful changes and has earned the support of co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul, Jack Canfield, renowned cell-biologist Dr. Bruce Lipton, professional coach and teacher Bob Doyle from The Secret, and a featured presence on Maria Shriver’s blog, among many others.
Dina has given me permission to share her technique which is found on page 141 of her book.
“Many times I will do nothing more than sit quietly with my eyes closed and count how many times my heart beats during the three minutes. When I first started meditating, I tried counting how many breaths I took but kept getting distracted – maybe because there was so much time between breaths that my mind had a chance to wander. For whatever reason, putting a hand over my chest to feel and count my heartbeats with my eyes closed keeps me completely focused. Even if my thoughts are negative or overwhelming before I sit down to meditate, distracting myself with this little task always gives me relief.
It also helps for me to have a mantra or some words I can repeat over and over to give my crazy mind something to put its focus on. My favorite mantra that I use when I’m feeling overwhelmed, anxious or paralyzed with fear is: “I’m open, I’m willing. Show me. Guide me from within.” This mantra puts space around whatever thoughts are choking me and creates an opening inside of me for willingness, letting go and a bit of peace. You can choose whatever words suit you. Other examples are:
a) “I know there is another way to approach this. Just because I can’t see it right now doesn’t mean it’s not there. I am open to the possibility of a new idea, a new way of doing this.”
b) “There is space inside me for new ideas to flow in and to show themselves. I don’t have all the answers and I don’t need to. I’m open to new ideas.”
It can be as easy as setting the timer on your phone for three minutes, three times a day. If you find at first three minutes is just too long to do this, then start with just one minute and increase the timer by 15 seconds every day until you’ve made it to the three minute mark. You will soon notice that the three minutes flies by in no time at all. It is in these moments of total focus that your emotional energy is in harmony within you and around you.
Remember, the more time we spend in the positive, the greater our capacity for achieving peak performance, for building and maintaining good relationships, and for experiencing good health.