A big problem I see all around me nowadays is a lack of FOCUS. Technology such as computers, tablets, the internet, email, phones, etc., can enhance our productivity, but these technologies can also pull our attention in multiple directions limiting our ability to maintain focus. Recent research has shown that the average human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000, or around the time the mobile revolution began, to 8 seconds, one second lower than the attention span of a goldfish! I wrote a bit about how Mindfulness can really help with focus on my post on the Sunlight Mind blog recently. For sure Mindfulness helps tremendously and for me is an essential practice, but what are some of the other techniques we can use to gain momentum and clarity in our actions towards our goals, and why is Focus so important anyway?
Before I get on with my April Update, and plans for the month ahead, I want to talk about Life Experimentation. It can be so hard to be stuck in a rut and not see any way out. I lost a close friend a few years ago and went into a bit of an emotional meltdown which caused me to re-evaluate the life I was living (or rather existing in) and the direction I was heading (nowhere really). I felt my life had become mundane, stagnant and predictable. My first reaction was to book a charity trek to China for the following April, book a course on Hypnotherapy after I had some success myself as a client on the couch, volunteer for Trees For Life conservation and book up to climb Ben Nevis later in the year. I then personally looked into decreasing my alcohol consumption, improving my diet and increasing my yoga and meditation practice which brought me peace and a state of comfort. I have to say that looking back, it feels like I am looking at someone else as the positivity and excitement I feel on a daily basis is a long way away from those initial feelings. It taught me that we can self-heal and change our direction in life, just with some space to think and some effort to put in place steps to take us to where, and who, we want to be.
So, Spring has officially sprung! As another month of 2016 draws to a close I usually like to reflect on the month, the main ‘wins’ achieved, the struggles that have been overcome and then look ahead to April with relish. I’m still trying to figure out how I can put together a more regular blogging schedule, for now though I am happy with once a month given my work, training and education schedule.
The great thing about taking on board plenty of mini-experiments is that it becomes clear pretty quickly what you like and what doesn’t drive you quite as much, so it allows for more drilled-down focus in your life. For example this month I went with a 30-day squat challenge but only managed 15 of them mainly due to flu, recovering glutes through Yoga and Pilates and just sheer boredom of the squat exercise itself. I had another few online challenges that fell by the wayside but completed the Fizzle Roadmap quite quickly as well as the How Dare You online program and made good progress on a new online venture with the Blog Marketing Academy.
It’s the last day of January and I’ve managed to stay away from alcohol with no problem whatsoever and raised £226 for Cancer Research via their Dryathlon. There is still time to donate and help me get closer to the £300 target, I’m still amazed that some people will spend hundreds on cocktails, beers, cigarettes and yet not find £5 or £10 to put towards a very worthy cause but hey-ho. An inspiring young woman called Hannah that I met in China last year on the Great Wall of China trek is doing a 26-Mile Charity MoonWalk for Breast Cancer so please help her out if you can by donating.
Some of you may know that I am training to become a fully qualified Hypnotherapist and am currently a member of the National Hypnotherapy Society. The year-long course comes to an end in May 2016, just 4 months away now, and part of it involves 3 case studies, so I’m looking for some willing volunteers to take part in a 1-2 hour Skype session to help them stop their unhealthy habits.
At some point in January there may be a feeling of low mood as the celebrations and partying at Christmas and New Year start to fade. The reality of being back at work combined with often cold, wet, windy weather, dull mornings and shorter days can cause the ‘January Blues’ to kick you where it hurts. Add in some failed New Year resolutions, a little weight gain maybe and struggling to break excessive alcohol habits with the resulting hangovers can lead to SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) which is a very real thing, you can read more about it on the NHS website but it is a form of depression and it can really have a big, negative impact on your life.
Tonight I had my first real taste of Ashtanga Yoga MySore style at Merchant City Yoga in the heart of Glasgow, 10 minutes from my work, designed to be an assisted self-practice with guidance from a wonderfully supportive teacher in Judi Farrell. I’ve written a bit about that first experience a little further down. I am already enrolled in a 6-Week Beginners Ashtanga Class with Cathy Moran from Ashtanga Yoga Glasgow at the Movement Studio in Ashton Lane and it’s a style of yoga I think I could become addicted to. Cathy gave us a fantastic introduction and shared knowledge about the history of Ashtanga in my first class there last week and it really helps that the Movement Studio is literally across the road for me, so no excuses.
Well I didn’t expect my writing challenge to start today at 4am but I’ve been suffering from insomnia last few nights and so I wanted to get this out there while I was at least still awake in zombie-like state.
It’s funny but I did yoga, meditated, drank some herbal tea called “Good Night” which contained, amongst other things, Valerian root…yet still here I am wide awake 5 hours after going to bed. It’s the thoughts, the ideas, the worries, the inspiration that just don’t want to seem to switch off the last few nights. I have been cramming a lot in of late but something else is going on I think and I have to be at work in 5 hours which I just know isn’t healthy and will impact the rest of my day.
Seriously, though…how hard can it be to write 500 words a day over 31 days?
Well, I guess it’s pretty hard and I think I’m about to find out as I’ve just signed up for Jeff Goins “My 500 Words” challenge. I like Jeff’s work and attitude and there is a Facebook accountability group to keep me ‘honest’.