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Focus has never been so under threat as it is currently.

Between the constant media barrage, including things like on demand streaming services, which I love by the way..

And also your email, your social media, gaming and so on.

Non of this is conducive to high performance.

Even I struggle with this, a quick look at my facebook leads to a silly amount of time scrolling, then since I checked there, why not check insta.

Did I receive any emails?

Ah sure, the phone's in my hand, let's just do a quick level on that game I downloaded...

And before you know it, time is gone, we're now in a rush to do the stuff we should have been doing.

Not only that, our brain now feels flat.

It's been spoon fed excitement, it's had an almost passive supply of dopamine fed to it from the scrolling.

And now, putting the device down, our brain has to work for that dopamine hit, it has to fire up it's creativity circuits to get back to doing real stuff in the real world.

Now don't get me wrong, the phone is a great tool, I'll not be getting rid of mine any time soon. But we have to recognise the limitations it can place on us and how it can have a negative effect on focus.

In order to perform well, we require focus.

Focus on this task Do this thing Do it well and only move to the next task when appropriate, not because our attention drifts and we drift with it.

Over the 20+ years I've been involved in coaching and rehab, a huge obstacle I've come across time and again is the disconnect between people's physical body and their attention.

So many folk in the modern world live and work in the virtual environment of the internet. They work at a computer screen, then to relax, they sit at a computer screen or TV, or mobile device.

Again, there's nothing wrong with this, so long as we find a balance with some physicality.

The intellectual work that makes up many peoples lives, is great and well needed, but it does not "feed the animal" ie move the physical body, with it's physical hormones, synovial joints, lymph and blood flow.

I mentioned Dopamine earlier, this is a hormone that stimulates us to seek reward.

The mobile device gives us that reward all too easily, hence the almost compulsive behaviour it can encourage.

Instant action.

Instant reward,

Or rather the promise of reward.

Once that seeking behaviour ends, so does our dopamine, and this is the feeling of flatness we feel.

As the dopamine is a "seeking" hormone, it stimulates action, you can feel unfocused but agitated. Our nervous system is saying to DO, but a bit like if we've had too much coffee, we can't get our focus in line to do any one thing well.

But if we take a few slow breaths, easy inhale, longer exhale. If we look up, even better look out the window and take in a panorama If we move and stretch, like your pet dog or cat would do after a period of inactivity Then we shake. Shake the limbs as if "shaking the muscle off the bone" We get a reset.

We reconnect with our physical body, we move, which what the Dopamine is really looking for in the first place. We tone down the nervous system, find a calmer mind set

And now we can find focus.

Once we start our actual activity, we will have an easier time getting into it.

Take regular intervals through your day to "lean on your shovel" no matter what line of work you are in.

Use these moments, to check your breathing.

Small in - longer out.

Shake and / or stretch the body, the word for this is Pandiculation.

Even do a few push ups, or Squats, or reps of your rehab exercises.

These moments help you reset and regain focus.

You will be more productive You will be more focused.


Dave Hedges

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