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Why Can’t I Focus?

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Hi, welcome back to your Daily Mindfulness. In today's session, we're going to talk about why you may not be able to focus. A lot of people come to a meditation practice because they're trying to improve their focus. Maybe you've received a diagnosis of ADD, ADHD. I got that when I was younger.

And we see this as a practice, actually train our attention to, to focus more one pointed and in a way that we can bring that into our conversations and in our life. And it's true. Meditation practice can develop that focus. We see this through the research consistently. However, sometimes the reason we're not able to focus isn't just because we haven't trained our mind well, but instead, because we're navigating a lot of stuff beneath the surface.

Maybe we're going through something difficult that is putting our nervous system in a fight flight freeze or fawn response. This could be an isolated trauma or even just the ecosystem that we're in that is perpetuating a sense of needing to be in survival mode or protective mode. When you're in that state, the last thing your mind is interested in is focusing on your breath or doing something like a body scan. It wants its awareness to be expansive to all the things around you so that it can be assessing what the next threat is and have it scarred up in relationship to that. Can you imagine how it would be very difficult to focus on one thing when you're in that state? And yet many of us live our lives in that state.

And it's one of the, one of the things that I can sometimes get frustrated with in relationship to teaching meditation, where it's not necessarily that a person just needs to, okay, get better at focusing on the breath. There's a more holistic approach that can be needed. Looking at your environment, looking at the things that you're going through, maybe changing a toxic relationship that you're in. All of those things are important and sometimes get excluded from the narrative of personal growth and wellbeing through the lens of meditation. So I want, at the very least, to acknowledge that.

And if you are going through something like that, it doesn't mean that you can't meditate. What I would suggest, though, is at the beginning of your practice, just to acknowledge that you might be experiencing something difficult and your nervous system may be in a more reactive state and it could be hard to focus on the breath. It doesn't mean you're doing it wrong. It's just a natural part of the experience when the nervous system is like that. So you can do some grounding things.

Remind yourself that in this moment, explore what are the ways that you are safe. You might look at the ceiling above you, the walls around you, something that you might hold on to like a rock or even a teddy bear that's comfortable, something that's soothing for the nervous system. And then instead of going directly into a more concentrated practice, like the breath, just give yourself the space to do some deep breathing, but in a spacious way. Breathing. And exhaling.

And allow your body to settle some of that extra tension that you're noticing in the nervous system, give that the space just to soften. And when you find yourself to start to recollect into a more centered, calm state, then you can move toward more of those one pointed practices, like focusing on the breath or doing something in the body, like a body scan. But first, often, we just need to give ourselves the space to settle. Let the nervous system be reminded that in this moment it's safe. It doesn't need to be on guard, and then move into our meditation practice.

This is just a nuance that I think is important as we're navigating our meditation practice and is relevant at different points in our life. Thank you for your practice. Let's settle in for today's meditation.

Cory Muscara

4.7

Why Can’t I Focus?

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Duration

Your default time is based on your progress and is changed automatically as you practice.

Hi, welcome back to your Daily Mindfulness. In today's session, we're going to talk about why you may not be able to focus. A lot of people come to a meditation practice because they're trying to improve their focus. Maybe you've received a diagnosis of ADD, ADHD. I got that when I was younger.

And we see this as a practice, actually train our attention to, to focus more one pointed and in a way that we can bring that into our conversations and in our life. And it's true. Meditation practice can develop that focus. We see this through the research consistently. However, sometimes the reason we're not able to focus isn't just because we haven't trained our mind well, but instead, because we're navigating a lot of stuff beneath the surface.

Maybe we're going through something difficult that is putting our nervous system in a fight flight freeze or fawn response. This could be an isolated trauma or even just the ecosystem that we're in that is perpetuating a sense of needing to be in survival mode or protective mode. When you're in that state, the last thing your mind is interested in is focusing on your breath or doing something like a body scan. It wants its awareness to be expansive to all the things around you so that it can be assessing what the next threat is and have it scarred up in relationship to that. Can you imagine how it would be very difficult to focus on one thing when you're in that state? And yet many of us live our lives in that state.

And it's one of the, one of the things that I can sometimes get frustrated with in relationship to teaching meditation, where it's not necessarily that a person just needs to, okay, get better at focusing on the breath. There's a more holistic approach that can be needed. Looking at your environment, looking at the things that you're going through, maybe changing a toxic relationship that you're in. All of those things are important and sometimes get excluded from the narrative of personal growth and wellbeing through the lens of meditation. So I want, at the very least, to acknowledge that.

And if you are going through something like that, it doesn't mean that you can't meditate. What I would suggest, though, is at the beginning of your practice, just to acknowledge that you might be experiencing something difficult and your nervous system may be in a more reactive state and it could be hard to focus on the breath. It doesn't mean you're doing it wrong. It's just a natural part of the experience when the nervous system is like that. So you can do some grounding things.

Remind yourself that in this moment, explore what are the ways that you are safe. You might look at the ceiling above you, the walls around you, something that you might hold on to like a rock or even a teddy bear that's comfortable, something that's soothing for the nervous system. And then instead of going directly into a more concentrated practice, like the breath, just give yourself the space to do some deep breathing, but in a spacious way. Breathing. And exhaling.

And allow your body to settle some of that extra tension that you're noticing in the nervous system, give that the space just to soften. And when you find yourself to start to recollect into a more centered, calm state, then you can move toward more of those one pointed practices, like focusing on the breath or doing something in the body, like a body scan. But first, often, we just need to give ourselves the space to settle. Let the nervous system be reminded that in this moment it's safe. It doesn't need to be on guard, and then move into our meditation practice.

This is just a nuance that I think is important as we're navigating our meditation practice and is relevant at different points in our life. Thank you for your practice. Let's settle in for today's meditation.

Cory Muscara

4.7

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