What does it mean to focus?
Its never been harder to stay focused than it is in today’s world.
Be it the autoplay of the next youtube or Netflix video, the impulse to pick up our phones or continuous temptations of instantaneous gratification.
Discipline is hard and takes practice. However, meditation is the perfect tool to help you build that mental muscle and stay gripped on the task at hand.
Certain meditation techniques, such as Mantra, are particularly useful in promoting focus due to its emphasis on concentrating on a specific thought in the mind and bringing it back to that thought when we’ve wandered away from it.
By coming accustomed to concentrating on the mantra, we can call upon that mental atmosphere of deep focus whenever we require it.
How we focus
Our attention spans have two mains aspects to it. The ability to maintain concentration on a specific task and the capability to return to that task when we’ve become distracted from it.
Maintaining concentration is exactly what we are practising when we meditate. Setting ourselves the simple task of repeating a mantra or staying aware of our breath helps us build that skill and gives us an arena to practise in without risk.
Directing ourselves toward better concentration
One of the first lessons we learn when beginning to meditate is the struggle to stay focused on one thing without a rogue thought popping up and distracting us.
Unfortunately, there’s no easy fix for this, we all have busy minds and that’s the way of things. Making our thoughts submit to our will is no easy task.
Vipassana meditation is centred on building up the capability of bringing our minds back to our chosen focus point when it wanders.
By repeating this task, we teach ourselves that we can actually control what we focus on. Whether it’s focusing on your breathing, or a tricky task at work, studying for an exam, or trying to enhance your time efficiency, we have the choice and power to bring our attention back to where we need it. This ability is perhaps the key to unlocking your concentration potential and meditation has long been shown to help find that resource within you.
More than just focus
A research paper on mental training and meditation said “Our findings suggest that 4 days of meditation training can enhance the ability to sustain attention; benefits that have previously been reported with long-term meditators.”
The exciting implication of this research shows how adaptable and responsive our brains can be in producing the qualities we want.
But the ability to focus isn’t the only positive effect that meditating can have on our minds. One study found  and increase in not only focus but evidence to suggest that problem solving and memory retention increased too.