What’s in a game: focus

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Focus. It’s a key ingredient for everyday life, and athletes tend to be quite adept at the practice; however, it’s not just for athletes. 

Focus enables you to shut out all unnecessary details and emotions in order to drive towards a goal. It’s a type of “tunnel vision.”

There are many techniques people utilize in order to gain, regain or maintain focus. One technique, originating from Hindu and Buddhist cultures, is to repeat a mantra in your head. To aid their concentration during meditation, monks would recite a mantra.

A mantra is almost like a life slogan. Since mantras are thought to interrupt negative energies, repeating one helps to pinpoint and reorganize your energy. Some common mantras are: “I create my own path and walk it with joy,” “I have the power to focus” and “My focus is a muscle, and I can strengthen it with time and practice.” 

A technique an athlete could quickly utilize is a breathing exercise. Sometimes when thoughts are scrambling through your brain and your emotions are running high, it helps to take a couple breaths to recenter yourself. Inhale for five seconds, hold five seconds and release for five seconds. And repeat until you feel you are back at an equilibrium.

In addition, scientists argue that a caffeinated drink can help improve focus. However, be careful not to drink too much or it will have the opposite effect. 

It’s important to keep your body fueled by eating a light snack in order to avoid becoming “hangry” and distracted. Berries and walnuts are a perfect balance of antioxidants, sweet goodness and protein. 

On top of these, there are other things you can do in order to regain focus. Step one: Get rid of distractions. You can accomplish this by moving to a quieter environment. Turn off notifications on your phone and close out any tabs or apps that are not essential to the work at hand. 

Whether you like it or not, your sleep schedule affects your ability to focus. If you haven’t restfully slept the night before, that can creep into your focus during the next day. In order to take care of your mind you must also take care of your body.

Maintaining good focus starts when your head hits the pillow the night before. If the body is being neglected, there’s no way you can start to exercise the muscle of focus. Eat well, get enough sleep and go for a walk. When your physical demands are satisfied, you can turn your attention inwards. 

You may find it surprising that you can be “good” at focusing, but you absolutely can. However, it doesn’t just happen. It’s a muscle and a habit that you have to exercise and pursue. Start with the techniques above and see how it goes! I think the results will shock you.

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