As mentioned in our previous article about how people manage to stay focused, now we are looking at how successful people concentrate UNDER STRESS! Something that can be fairly easy to do when everything is going well can become quite difficult when stress comes into the picture.
We asked the same authors this second question - what do you do to stay focused when you are under stress? These are their replies:
Dr. Tammi Baliszewski
Dr. Tammi Baliszewski is a Holistic Life Counselor and Hypnotherapist.
She is also the author of Manifesting Love from the Inside Out and Manifesting Prosperity from the Inside Out. Tammi's website: www.tammibphd.com
When things become stressful in my life, I remind myself that stress comes from the mind.
Then I drop my awareness into my heart, I set my intentions, and I ask for support from the organizing energy that is the Universe (AKA God). I believe there is a benevolent Creator that is on our side and wants our happiness and success. And I frequently ask for help, support, clarity and guidance.
I have found the sooner I surrender to this Force and ask for support, the sooner my stress is alleviated. The quicker my mind becomes peaceful, and the more rapidly my grace-filled path becomes clear.
When I am stressed, I focus by taking frequent breaks and meditating. I periodically re-prioritize and let go of things that are not important in the moment… delete, delay, delete.
I talk sassily to my computer when it is not behaving properly. I go for a walk around the block or for a hike in the park.
My sweet wife helps me stay grounded by suggesting breaks and taking care of myself—and sometimes I actually listen.
I stop what I am doing and try something mindless, like gardening, sweeping, washing dishes or the laundry for brief periods. I take some time out to do planning for a long weekend away or vacation—when you hang a “carrot” in front of yourself, everything starts looking better!
I exercise, I stretch. Sometimes I focus on getting the task at hand, particularly a deadline, over and done with so I can move on from it—ah, the sweet relief of freedom from the tyranny of the task of the moment.
And when I am truly inspired, I give and get a hug.
Whitney Vosburgh is co-author of two books: WORK THE FUTURE! TODAY and the WTF! 2019 POCKET PAL.
He is also a consulting Chief Marketing Officer and change agent for Fortune 20 companies and Silicon Valley startups, guiding over $20+ billion worth of value creation.
Find Whitney at Work The Future! Today
Stefania Magidson was born in Romania and in 1983 immigrated to the United States. She received a BS in Health Education and a Master’s in Applied Spiritual Psychology.
In 2002 she founded Blue Heron Foundation, one of the largest non-profit organizations in the Romanian diaspora.
She is the author of the book "Searching for the White Magician," a series of dialogues where she explores themes ranging from immigration and philanthropy to spiritual psychology and self-realization.
I usually take a quick inventory of 4 levels:
- Do I need a little bit of food to bring my blood sugar to just the right level? Do I need a hot chamomile tea to bring down the anxiety /adrenaline that might be present? Do I need water?
- Do I need to open a window? Turn down music or find a quiet spot? Take off my high heels?
Mentally & emotionally:
-Become aware of my thought patterns. If negative or irrational thought patterns are present, I switch to positive and encouraging ones, i.e. “stay focused for now, this is really important, you can do it; you can take a break in an hour. What are the most Important items I need to attend to right now? Is there anyone I can ask for help or delegate to?”
-Access Sacred Sanctuary mentioned in Question 1; inner peace and knowing we are always connected with the Divine are always available to us.
If I want to maximize my focus when I’m stressed or feeling pressure in any way, I simply talk to myself and say things like “Focus!”, or “Concentrate!”, or “On it!”, or “I got this!”.
The act of saying these things feels like I’m being a friend to myself to help myself. Similar to how a coach coaches athletes, I coach and encourage myself… and if my mind was wandering, it helps bring me back into the zone of concentrated focus.
Deliberately breathing slowly and deeply while closing my eyes helps reduce stress and brings me back to my center.
Once I’m feeling calm and centered, it is much easier to focus on the task at hand.
Brent Hunter is a Program Management executive consultant.
Brent is the award-winning author of five books. One of Hunter’s books, The Rainbow Bridge: Bridge to Inner Peace and to World Peace, is about universal wisdom and has received 22 literary awards.
Hunter’s website is http://www.BrentHunter.TV
Denise McDermott M.D.
Denise McDermott M.D. is an integrative adult and child psychiatrist, a healer, a podcast host, author, and is a social media influencer.
In the fall of 2018 she had the honor of speaking in Dharmsala India at the Dalai Lama’s Tibetan Medical Society’s Body Mind Life conference on “Nurturing Children’s Mental Health.”
For the latest shows and articles visit DrDeniseMD.com
Our inner most thoughts are powerful beyond words. If we are able to stay in the present moment we are able to stay focused under stress.
How do we do this when we are living in the age of technology when we are bombarded with texts, emails, calls and a plethora of distractions?
For example, if we are working on a deadline and want to knock it out of the park we can make choices and ask ourselves, “Do I need to look at my text messages right now, or answer that email?”
Being aware of what our distraction challenges are allows us to be in control of what we focus on.
A practice of gratitude helps one to stay in a positive space so that when we write our intentions for the day we have a clear vision of what we set out to accomplish.
Another trick if we are feeling anxious or stressed is to pause. Take a deep belly breathe and give yourself a positive affirmation, “I will get this done!”
To remember to stay focused, we can set specific intentions, be mindful, and then take action!
Just like strategies to stay focused in general, everyone has a different approach for how to concentrate under stress. You will need to experiment with different ideas to find what works best for you. There is no one size fits all when it comes to focus, but there are many ideas that can work!
At BrainSpeak, whether we are under stress or not, we tend to use one of our programs to help us to be focused - like a Synaptic Symphonies Focus and Concentration program or BrainSpeak Pathways Find Clarity and Focus. We find they work quite well for us!