Self Improvement

Mandy Kloppers

Focus your mental energy where it matters


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Focus your mental energy where it matters

What do you focus on every day? Think about it – do you spend a lot of time thinking about what isn’t right and how annoyed you are with your life and others? The content of our focus determines the quality of our life. It makes sense – if we focus on all the negatives, we are going to feel pretty fed up and miserable and this will translate into someone experiencing a sad life. Not much quality of life. This is why it is important to focus your mental energy where it matters.

If we make a concerted effort to focus on what is good, we can immediately feel better about our lot in life. Of course, it isn’t possible to ignore the negatives but research has shown that humans tend to default to the negative. One theory suggests that when we were cavemen hunting and gathering, we had to be tuned in to danger – hence the negatives in our environment. The nature of that threat has changed now but the same ‘fear parts’ in our brains activate when we feel anxious.

One way to cope with anxiety and negative thinking is mindfulness. Sit quietly for 2-3 minutes and focus on your immediate environment. Feel your toes in your shoes (or wiggle them if you are bare foot) and keep our focus on your body. Can you hear any sounds? Taste anything (if you are eating)…the more we focus our 5 senses in the here and now, the less time our brains have to wander off and cause trouble for us by inviting more worries in.

Focusing on what you can control rather than worrying obsessively over things you cannot control is also a waste of mental energy. Focus on what you can affect.

Becoming an efficient ‘mind manager’ who can dismiss unhelpful thoughts and can exercise psychological flexibility is the key to a happier and more contented existence. Your thoughts will come and go, you can pick and choose the ones you wish to focus on – remember thoughts are NOT facts.

Mandy X