Paying attention to attention - How to Tame Your Wandering Mind


The truth is, human beings use 100 percent of their brain capacity. The brain is a highly efficient, energy-demanding organ that gets fully utilized and even though it is at full capacity being used, it suffers from a problem of information overload. There's far too much in the environment than it can fully process. So to solve this problem of overload, evolution devised a solution, which is the brain's attention system. We can think of attention as the leader of the brain. Wherever attention goes, the rest of the brain follows. In some sense, it's your brain's boss. attention changes perception. And it does so very fast.

They tell us that attention is very powerful in terms of affecting our perception. Even though it's so powerful, it's also fragile and vulnerable. And things like stress and mind-wandering diminish its power. we take our mind away from the task at hand, about 50 percent of our waking moments. These might be small, little trips that we take away, private thoughts that we have.

Our mind is an exquisite time-traveling master. It can actually time travel very easily. If we think of the mind as the metaphor of the music player, we see this. We can rewind the mind to the past to reflect on events that have already happened, right? Or we can go and fast-future, to plan for the next thing that we want to do. And we land in this mental time-travel mode of the past or the future very frequently. What's worse is when we experience stress. When we're in a moment of overwhelm. We don't just reflect on the past when we rewind, we end up being in the past ruminating, reliving or regretting events that have already happened. Or under stress, we fast-forward the mind. Not just to productively plan. But we end up catastrophizing or worrying about events that haven't happened yet and frankly may never happen.

Solution: Mindfulness Exercises to Pay Attention to your own Attention
Mindfulness exercises are very much like physical exercise: if you don't do it, you don't benefit. But if you do engage in mindfulness practice, the more you do, the more you benefit.

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