Meditation (a Series) – Getting Your Focus On

Sometimes life can get a little hectic, and a little crazy too, or both, especially when it comes to marketing and selling yourself, being productive, and work in general. Being your own boss as a direct sales consultant, entrepreneur, or small business owner can be stressful and unfocused at times, to say the least. Trust me, I know. But when it seems like stress is the driving force in my day, I find it extremely helpful to take a step back and breathe, focus, and re-balance with an amazing meditation session. This is called being mindful, and allowing myself to control how I function under stress, to re-focus, and increase my productivity.

Knowing you need to meditate is the first step. After that, getting started can be a little intimidating. It was for me when I first began. When starting out, focusing was the hardest part to getting comfortable with meditation – forcing my mind to “shut off” and focus on my happy place. I finally learned this in college as a way of mediating stress. I was overloaded and my body’s metabolism went into hyper-drive, and I lost about 80 lbs over the course of 9 months. Yikes! Looking gaunt, and making a trip to the doctor’s office, a battery of tests could not pinpoint what was going on with my system. Enter meditation. I practiced for about 3 months before I really was able to hone my craft, but eventually everything stabilized and I returned to a healthy, normal, balanced weight (this was more than a decade ago).

Turns out, this is one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever given myself (along with genuine self love). I can apply it to work, or going to bed, or any high anxiety situation. Force my brain to focus, and boom! excellent overall well being, brain power, and focus. Lately, I have been really putting meditation to use as an aid in productivity in starting my day, and I haven’t been disappointed. I still have to work on focusing for each meditation session, and each day has differing levels of care required to really get my brain in the zone, but it certainly gets easier the more I continue to practice. Here a couple of my steps I use to focus my mind at the beginning of my sessions. Remember, like all learning, this is a process and you must re-route some of your neural pathways in order to maximize the benefits. It’s an iterative process, takes times, and best learned in small, digestible nuggets. Rome wasn’t built in a day. (for tips on learning new skills, check out our 8 Steps to Learning New Skills Faster)

Forcing my mind to return back to my thoughts –

At first this seems impossible, but it’s literally breaking down the thought process a quarter of a second at a time. With each meditation invasion or thought that breaks my cycle, I acknowledge the invader, and then force a return to meditative thought; even it’s a quarter second of relief. Then a half a second. Then a full second. Eventually I was able to work my up to 5 full seconds, then 10, then 60.

Focusing on self love –

This is an easy and fun way to break through the noise. There are warm positives feelings associated with telling myself “I love you!”. I know it sounds silly, but give it a try! If you mean it from the bottom of your heart, and you do get that warm fuzzy feeling, it makes it easier for the rest of your system to relax. This helps break the cycle of mind overload that often deters us from the practice of meditation. This is one of my favorites.

Extending gratitude –

It’s not just about self love! When I am trying to maintain my focus to get into a deeper meditative state, I often envision balls of positive energy leaving my body and making connections to those around me that I am grateful for in my life. This can be in the next bedroom, halfway across the city, or even around the globe. It’s this release of gratitude that allows me to further evoke a warm fuzzy feeling that has an extreme calming effect on me. I like to think of it as extending my own positive energy, and spiraling out and connecting to the world.

Seeing a darker and darker black –

With each mind interruption and thought invader, I may also force my brain to envision black, and then a blacker black, and then even blacker black. This is a never ending process as my brain can seemingly focus on blacker and blacker blacks. Who knew?! It literally is endless and just keeps going. I use this when I am meditating right before falling asleep. It’s a classic and also one of my favorites.

Counting my breath –

Sort of like counting sheep, but this won’t bore you to sleep. Instead, I focus on a :16 second breath cycle – :04 in, :04 hold, :04 out, :04 hold. Aligning my breathing with my cleared thoughts helps to maintain focus. I’m amazed at what this does for my overall mindfulness as it relaxes everything in my system. The goal is to monitor your breath, count accordingly, and don’t fall asleep!

Envisioning positive energy –

I visualize a white, positive energy becoming one with every inch of my body. This is super helpful in tampering my wandering thoughts too. For me, it’s a white light (sometimes a light pink) I visualize running through my entire body.  As it gets closer to my brain and my head, I feel a greater sense of relief that washes over me completely. This one takes a little practice, and generally comes after some of the aforementioned steps I take, but is definitely a part of the regular rotation.

Don’t be discouraged by a wandering mind when you first start, or even every now and again! All it takes is a little practice, self awareness, and focus and you will eventually learn the artistry of the focused mind. Yes, it takes focus to learn to focus. You can then  apply your new learnings and skill of focus to anything you might be doing, whether it’s gearing up for your first Facebook Live session, coaching your downline, pushing yourself that extra mile to crush your Younique or Lularoe goals for the month, content marketing on Facebook, or simply running the household.