Where our mind focuses attention has a powerful effect on our state of mind, how we feel, and what happens in our life. Top athletes have long known this. Success and happiness are created by the way we think. This basic fundamental understanding is at the core of peak performance and optimal wellbeing. Our focus affects how we feel and is the driving force behind our behaviour, choices and actions. Whether it be to enjoy the present moment, feel good about the past, or create a compelling future, your focus will determine your reality.
Where is your attention most of the time? Do you find yourself reacting to your environment with habitual thoughts, feelings and behavioural responses? If we don’t change how we think we will keep getting the same results. Do you focus on lack, on what is missing from your life? Do you focus on things that you fear, on what might go wrong? Things that you can’t control? Your failures and shortcomings? Or do you focus on things that make you feel good, excite and inspire you? Your reality is showing you where your focus is. Ancient teachings and neuroscience agree that what you focus on you experience more of (whether you want it or not - wherever focus goes, energy flows). The more certain neural pathways in the brain are used the more established they become. Our brains are constantly sculpting new pathways to keep efficient. Unused connections die off and in addition can reorganise and restructure to form new pathways to respond to new situations as they arise. We can intentionally train our brains to cultivate new healthy thinking habits that promote well-being.
Worrying and focusing on things that you fear might happen in the future, on variables beyond your control, not only drains on your time but affects your mental clarity, your state of mind, and the results. If we expect a negative outcome, our focus of attention to it will ensure it becomes reality, reinforcing the belief. So, we expect more of it! And the cycle continues…
Although we can control some events in our lives (and can probably influence many more) we have full control over our emotional responses - we can choose the emotional tone we assign to any situation. It is the most accessible, powerful resource we have to increase health, success and happiness.
Make these shifts to focus attention more positively whether present, past or future:
1. Take control of your current situation
When an event impacts your life, ask yourself, “is this something I can control?”
If the answer is “no”, ask yourself “is this something I can influence?” If the answer is no, let. it. go. If yes, empower yourself by focusing on the aspects you have full capacity to influence (through your own choices and actions).
Sometimes, as much as we would like, we have no control over other people’s decisions and behaviour. Trying to control situations we have no influence over is disempowering, takes away vital energy, and leads to unwanted stress.
Fulfilled, happy people practice conscious awareness of what is happening in their lives. They focus on the present moment, on things they have the power to change. They notice what is beyond their control and don’t focus on it or allow it to create (di)stress. Research shows that forty-three percent of adults suffer adverse health effects from stress. Up to 90 percent of all physician visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints, and chronic stress is linked to the six leading causes of death worldwide (not to mention day to day symptoms that affect well-being such as headaches, dietary issues i.e. upset stomachs and sleep problems.)
2. You can create your own story – past or present
The meaning you assign to everything in your life, defines your life. This applies to past or present. We have full control to determine what emotional tone we assign to any situation and therefore change the meaning and determine its definition. The words (internally and externally) you use to describe your experience constantly create and reinforce the reality you live in. No matter who the characters are in your story or what they have done, past or present, only yourself can give their actions their meaning. Past beliefs of being wronged can bring feelings of anger into the present but this can be released by assigning a new meaning to your story. You are the only one who can define what role you will play in your own life. If you portray yourself as a helpless victim, habitual loser, or unlucky, you’ll prove yourself to be just that. Your focus will direct you toward situations and choices that will make this meaning true - you will take action and make decisions to ensure only negative things happen and reinforce this belief. However, if you choose a life story that supports you, one that proves your resilience and creativity, if you believe yourself to be the powerful master of your destiny, creator of your desires, you’ll become that too.
3. Instantly increase well-being and align to create a compelling future
Focusing on what we want but noticing it is missing from our life creates feelings of disappointment and these cravings reinforce emptiness and lack. Neuroscience shows that focusing on what we are thankful for, expressing gratitude, heals at the biological level. Experiencing feelings of happiness through appreciation activates the brain region that produces serotonin and dopamine. These are the neurotransmitters that common antidepressants such as Prozac are known to boost. It increases happiness and reduces depression. Goal setting and visualising from this high energetic frequency we are more likely to achieve what we want, and faster. Focusing on feelings of gratitude before bedtime also helps you sleep better, wake up in a better frame of mind and increase overall well-being.
You can choose where you focus your attention, therefore your state of mind, how you feel, and what happens in your life. You can rewrite the story you tell yourself; you can rewrite the past, change how you experience the present, and expand all possibilities for your future. Your focus determines what you experience and how your life unfolds - so where is your attention taking you?
Working with a qualified, experienced well-being coach & EFT practitioner can help to release unconscious limiting beliefs and emotional blockages such as fear, anger and resentment and work towards cultivating new healthy habits of mind that promote health, success and happiness.