How to Focus in a Noisy World

How to Focus in a Noisy World

Image by Kievmeister via Flickr

In the modern world, trying to figure out how to focus can be difficult. There is simply a lot of input on our senses these days. Even if you live in the wilderness, as several of my friends do, you have television, radio and the Internet, all streaming images and sounds to your eyes and ears, streaming things to think about or try to ignore.

And that’s just in our homes. Out in public, we are bombarded by images and advertising at almost every moment of our day. It’s on the sides of buildings, on cars, on benches and garbage bins, on every surface including the floor of the supermarkets, on billboards which now actually move like a television screen, distracting us even more than the stationary ones.

And the sounds we are inundated with are sometimes overwhelming. If you live in or near a city, there is a constant drone of traffic, the shouting, laughing, crying and banging around of neighbors. It’s not that much better in the suburbs, either. I don’t have to list all the distractions, just look (and listen) around.

Human beings are designed to filter out what isn’t relevant to the moment. That is how we evolved, how our minds work. We do that for survival. If it isn’t vital to survive, our mind pretends it isn’t there. What happens, however, as there is more and more to filter out, is that our stress level increases.  As our stress level increases, it becomes harder and harder to focus on any one thing.  That seems to be modern man’s disease.

Never fret, though, there are many things you can do to reduce the stress of all that sensory input and focus on the task at hand. One simple thing to do is an exercise I created way back when I was teaching acting classes to get the students centered and focused on the class rather than on the day they’d had up until they got there. It is fairly simple and very effective and should only take a few minutes.

You can do this sitting or standing. Before you start, briefly think of the task you need to accomplish. Don’t worry about it or judge it, just think about it.

  1. Breathe in slowly and deeply, hold the breath for a brief moment, then breathe out fully. Do this three times.
  2. Close your eyes.
  3. Imagine a beam of light coming from the heavens, slowly moving through you from the crown of your head, through your head, arms, torso, legs, then out of the bottoms of your feet to the center of the earth.
  4. Notice the sensations of being part of this beam of bright white light. Don’t judge it, just notice it.
  5. Now gently hum with an audible sound into the light and imagine the hum moving from the crown of your head, through your head and neck, across your shoulders, down your arms, through your torso, your hips, thighs and calves, through your feet and down into the center of the earth.
  6. After a brief moment, stop humming and notice the vibration in your body. Notice how your body is now centered, balanced and relaxed.
  7. Open your eyes, then begin your project.

After doing this simple exercise your mind will be much more centered. You will be able to focus on what needs to be done, without thinking about all the distractions.

If you want to learn how to focus in a noisy world, try this simple exercise.

There are many more exercises that will help you to focus, center and de-stress, but this simple one can be done immediately.

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