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10 Tips for Razor Sharp Focus

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10 Tips for Razor Sharp Focus

“Your focus is your reality!”

George Lucas' Master Yoda, Star Wars

If you've ever seen the 'Double Slit Experiment' where focusing on particles by observing them, changes their path, then you might never look at the power of focus in the same way. While the world of metaphysics remains something of a mystery – the more rational power of focus is undisputed; taking the time to choose where we direct our attention, tends to determine what we see in the now and future with respect to goal-achievement and indeed, our reality. As elegantly stated by Master Yoda in Star Wars – 'Your Focus is Your Reality.' These 10 Tips for Razor Sharp Focus are proven ways to direct your attention towards success...

1. Become more mindful – but remember the bigger picture

Every day we face the challenge of staying in the present moment, or being led astray into random 'What If's' in the future. Drifting into the future can blunt your perception of the 'now', changing your focus, thoughts, decisions – and therefore, your reality. To become more present, it's essential to develop a calm state of mind, find a flow state and ideally condition the brain to reduce internal dialogue, become more immune to distraction and resilient to stress; from here, your focus can become sharp. Regular meditation, yoga, exercise, breathing exercises and taking calming breaks are all ways to cultivate mindfulness. Of course, sometimes it's necessary to focus on the now but be aware of the future, so it's vital to analyse your thoughts and success to find your sweet spot. In addition, if you're losing focus, remembering your big long-term reason for 'doing this' can snap you back into the zone.

2. Know thyself – take a break

Cognitive exhaustion is a real threat to focus, leaving us unable to concentrate, learn and work productively. Recognising the signs of mental fatigue (reduced productivity, anxiety, irritability and feeling drained) and taking rest is crucial to prevent burn-out and renew focal capacity. Researchers have identified two key ways to rejuvenate the mind are enhance focus – micro-breaks and extensive rest. Micro-breaks are short periods of recuperation during the day, such as a ten minute tea break, a walk or a non-work related chat with a colleague, while extensive rest refers to leisure activities such as a day off.

3. Develop goal-driven habits

Everyone knows they have 'more than one self' within their brain – with the extreme example of split personality disorder. However, when it comes to focus – knowing your upper and lower mental systems is crucial. The 'lower mind' is fast, involuntary, intuitive, evolved for survival and uses little energy. The 'higher mind' is conscious, slower, voluntary, energy-demanding and lets one 'know thy self' more deeply. Developing consciousness through methods such as meditation can help you train your mind to stay focused, and maintain state for longer. However, developing goal-driven habits will magnify results by automating positive actions; for example, a financial trader may develop the habit of positive self-talk and gratitude after a losing trade, compared to instinctive lower brain sabotage. Developing positive habits saves energy, enabling you to focus on new tasks and learning. To develop habits, identify them, write them down, and repeat them until they become ingrained over weeks and months.

4. Create a sound sleep strategy

Sound sleep is something that research is unequivocal about when it comes to the positive impact on concentration levels; but how many of us consciously ensure we're doing more to optimise it? Fresh sheets, good décor, meditation, journaling, soft lighting, shut-out blinds and essential oils are all small things that have a compounding effect on sleep. A good Night Time Routine can work wonders, along with Neubria Drift.

5. Develop willpower by following your passion

According to research, willpower is like rocket fuel when it comes to applying focus and achieving your dreams – particularly if it's business success you're chasing. However, like energy in a muscle, willpower is a limited reserve, meaning mental fatigue tends to start sabotaging focus and productivity after a certain period of time. Fortunately, experts suggest that the brain can be sculpted over time, by making an effort to develop more willpower and focus – paradoxically, by focusing on it! However, the reality is, we innately have more enthusiasm for the things we truly – so by following your real passions in life, you'll have more willpower and focus.

6. Build emotional resilience

Developing a stronger level of emotional intelligence is a key to implementing and maintaining focus. Research suggests there are many ways to cultivate the trait, but ensuring healthy social interaction is a powerful allay in your quest. Indeed, studies suggest that positive social bonding and support, releases Oxycontin, which has a potent anti-stress effect on the body and mind. In turn, lower levels of stress promote an enhanced capacity to focus and maintain it for longer. Seek out friends and colleagues who understand your life and goals.

7. Regulate blood sugar & hydration

Focus can be strongly influenced by what we eat and drink, making it imperative to fuel a high performance mind in a self-serving way. Firstly, staying hydrated is important, with a 1-2% reduction in hydration leading to a loss of mental focus and concentration; typically, the recommendation of eight glasses of water a day will serve you well. The second key is stable blood sugar levels, which are critical for a calm mind; opt for meals that contain a serving of complex carbohydrates (such as oats, berries and whole grains) and consume a small slow-releasing snack between meals. In the long-term, consuming a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids and supplementing with Krill Oil will support healthier brain cells.

8. Take Neubria Edge

Nootropic nutrients such as Bacopa Monieri are proven to support cognitive function, memory and focus, making a supplement like Neubria Edge a key tool when it comes to mastering focus and drive. The supplement contains Bacopa, plus Ashwagandha to help reduce stress and boost concentration, Ginkgo for cognition, Blueberry and Sage to aid focus and Rhodiola Rosea to help neutralise mental strain.

9. Cultivate a productive environment

While developing emotional intelligence can help to shut-out negative influences on focus, there's no getting away from certain factors in your surroundings – such as mess, noise, unprofessionalism and general disorder. Most people work best in a clean, tidy, minimal and peaceful workspace – your outer world will be reflected by the state of mind in your inner reality.

10. Create a strong circle of influence

It's become something of a cliché, but there's significant truth to the assertion that we're the sum of the five people we spend the most time with. Put another way, the Law of Pareto would suggest that 80% of your reality is influenced by the most influential 20% of people you interact with on a regular basis. If people are influencing you in negative ways that cause distraction, bad habits, stress and constant rambling in your head – the chances are it's negatively affecting your focus. Change can be difficult, but it could serve you.

References

Alhola, P. and Polo-Kantola, P.. 2007. Sleep deprivation: Impact on cognitive performance. Published: Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat.

Amishi, P. et al., 2007. Mindfulness training modifies subsystems of attention. Published: Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioural Neuroscience.

Baumeister, R. et al., 1998. Ego depletion: Is the active self a limited resource? Published: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Heinrichs, M. et al., 2009. Oxytocin, vasopressin, and human social behaviour. Published: Front Neuroendocrinol.

Konfkeaw, C. et al., 2014. Meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials on cognitive effects of Bacopa monnieri extract. Published: Journal Ethnopharmacol

Riebl K. et al., 2014. The Hydration Equation: Update on Water Balance and Cognitive Performance Published: ACSMs Health Fit J.

Zheng, F. et al., 2018. HbA1c, diabetes and cognitive decline: the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. Published: Diabetologia

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