Give meditation a try
Think about meditation as a form of mental exercise, an active process that involves intentionally focusing your attention while creating a distance from the constant stream of thought. In other words, meditation is in and of itself a focus-training act, with the added advantage of increased mental calm.
There are many different ways to meditate; several forms of meditation involve some sort of visualization, others focus on the breathing, while others still include the repetition of a sound or a mantra. The common denominator to all approaches is similar. You learn to:
- pay attention to your stream of thought;
- notice when your attention drifts off;
- gently return your attention to your thoughts.
Meditation is a powerful meta-skill. Ultimately, it can make you better at just about anything you do. It can improve your key executive functions within eight weeks of daily practice. Over time, it strengthens key structures and pathways in your brain, giving you more control over your mind (and by extension, over your life). It is this powerful impact that meditation has on brain performance and wellbeing that explains why the vast majority of world-class performers, in sports, science, art and business, have some form of meditation practice integrated in their everyday life.
- Try apps such as Calm, Headspace or Buddhify.
- Browse YouTube and Spotify for free meditations. You can experiment with different types (e.g. with/out music, with/out guidance, different voices, different lengths) to find the style that suits you best.
- Join an online course – the commitment to the practice may help.