How often do you find your attention wandering? Do you sit in class, gazing out the window? Do you find yourself contemplating the posters on the walls or staring mindlessly into empty space? What if I said you can use this habit to your advantage?
Daniel Goleman recently wrote about distraction in the workplace. I suggest you read his article here, it explains why diversions and “partial attention” hamper your ability to achieve. Goleman also provides a simple exercise to help you concentrate.
Even though Goleman is talking about the working world, it’s easy to see the same problems occurring inside the classroom. It is even easier to recognise the benefits of being attentive in class. This is a skill that can be transferred. In other words, being mindful is a skill students learn in school that has direct implication for success outside school.
Regular readers will know I am a passionate believer in the power of meditation and mindfulness. The more you understand about yourself, your motivations, your emotions and the thoughts beneath them, the greater opportunities you provide yourself. Becoming aware of the stories within, gives you the chance to choose the stories you want to live, rather than allowing others to make the choices for you.
This is equally true from a study perspective. When you manage your mind (note: I did not say ‘control your mind’), you place yourself in a position to control your study. You make the choices. This power brings a sense of freedom, this freedom generates creativity.
Because you feel in control of your learning. You know you are responsible for the outcome. This means the rewards are also yours.
However, choosing a mindful path is not always easy. Like any skill it requires persistence and practice. Those starting out need support – which is why schools are perfectly placed to help. Although many schools are beginning to realise the benefits of meditation and mindfulness, we need more schools to embrace the concept of wellness and thoughtful study practices. Meditation is not just a monk sitting on a mound – just as a teacher is no longer a sage on the stage. Meditation and mindfulness may be used to gain access to our own resources, to use our own mind to become flexible, confident learners.
Workshops such as MyStory Mind can help you recognise the link between self esteem, problem solving, creative focus and mindful study. If your would like to know more about how to introduce mindful study to your life (or classroom) please contact me – email@example.com
So, how can use the habit of mindlessly staring out the window to your advantage? Redirect your focus, pay attention to your breath, train your mind to focus. Try Goleman’s exercise. Who knows you may just find yourself more becoming attentive.
Welcome to a World of Expression
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