The physical, mental and emotional benefits of practicing mediation, including expanding grey matter, strengthening the immune system, relieving stress and promoting a sense of well-being, are well documented.
Now, a recently published research suggests that meditation can increase attention span. This is the reason why Buddhist monks, thanks to the hours they spend on meditation, have a heightened attention span compared with the average person. Meditation benefits our brain/mind, the most important muscle in our body. Aside from using it to determine logic and reasoning, our mind is our tool that allows us to concentrate on an object and remain focused on processing it for an extended duration.
Our attention is tested every day – we are forced to multi-task to accomplish several things in one day. Do you have trouble paying attention on a story a friend is telling over dinner or coffee? Does your mind wander when you should be focusing on finishing a particular task? If you have a problem on this regard, follow these simple steps:
Focus on your Breathing
Meditation involves concentrating on a single point and let other thoughts go. This can’t be easy to accomplish for people with problems on attention span. To get you started, focus on your breathing.
Find a comfortable position while sitting. Shut your eyes and concentrate on your breathing. Inhale and exhale through your nose; breathe normally. If your find yourself being bombarded with so many thoughts, allow them to fade away and get your mind back on your breathing. Feel your breath as it passes through your nose, throat and abdomen. Try to keep at it until you no longer can.
By not moving, you gain control over your physical body instead of you being controlled by comfort. Get into a comfortable position, but don’t listen to your breathing. With eyes closed, try being still as a statue. You will feel all kinds of discomfort that you would want to fidget such as itching on certain parts of your body or aching joints. Unless your discomfort level is beyond normal, don’t give in to your fidgety feeling. The concentration needed to remain unaffected will quiet your mind and improve your concentration powers over time.
Utter a Mantra
After you become accustomed to listening to your breath and sitting comfortably still, you can now integrate a mantra, a syllable, word or phrase that you repeat to help you concentrate. Say your chosen mantra repeatedly while meditating.
One of the simplest mantras that you can use is “ohm”. This syllable is uttered every time you let out your breath. As you breathe in, your mind will be barraged with thoughts, and you will need to pay attention to maintaining a serene mind as you say “ohm”. This repeated action will let you focus on one thing even with all kinds of distractions around you.