By Claire Bacon, ACN, CNC
The third “F” of our Livin’ the Dream program is: Focus. (The first two are Fuel and Function). This segment is to inspire you with motivation to define a clear focus for your life. Like Dr. Martin Luther King, we hope you find the deep meaning that gives your life purpose, from which you never deviate. Depending what you need most, whether an attitude adjustment, more gratitude tools in your toolbox, or supplements to help you physically maintain clear focus, we’ve got great tips for you to consider…
Attitude is Essential for Focus
In times of adversity, the common reactive thought is to focus on self. However, when life becomes more challenging, that’s exactly when you need the people in your support system the most. Being self-centered tends to repel close relationships and increases your internal stress level. Having an attitude of generosity and gratitude towards others, giving more than we receive, and showing compassion at all times goes a long way to put any current situation in perspective.
“You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with,” is a quote attributed to motivational speaker Jim Rohn. You want to surround yourself with people who are like-minded, but also people who can lift you up. Being with people who are more happy, more successful, and/or more focused than you can have a beneficial effect on how you live your life.
Here’s our favorite exercise to reset our attitude: open your Bible and read Philippians 4:8. Even better, pick up a copy of The 4:8 Principle by Tommy Newberry, which was written based on this verse: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
The main idea is to focus on the positive – never on the negative – and in that way, we maintain a peaceful mental outlook. We are instructed to love others as we love ourselves. We can only be a benefit for others and serve God’s purpose for us if we are open and harmonious with our community. Whatever we focus on multiplies – so focus on the positive!
Structure to Help You Focus
From time to time, all of us need a little help to stay on track. Our friends and colleagues on the same mission can help reinforce what’s needed when you get unmotivated. But most of the time, we need to keep ourselves on top of the details and going in the right direction. Having a good time management structure and a few tools can help you meet your goals:
- Write down one main long-term goal, with several small milestones that are measurable along the way.
- Schedule time in your calendar for accomplishing the necessary tasks – and say no to what you truly don’t have time for.
- Plan several incremental dates to evaluate your progress.
- Discuss your plans with a mentor and brainstorm ideas that will help.
- When feeling discouraged, write some positive affirmations and place where you can see them daily.
Now that you’re armed with a detailed to-do list and dates on the calendar, your next move is to avoid getting distracted. Primarily, you’ll need to learn how to manage notifications, “emergency” tasks that get dropped on you, and difficult people who suck your time. This is going to require some self-discipline and self-awareness. You may have to learn to wait for the gratification of checking that message. You’ll have to start saying “no” and making people wait when you’re in the middle of accomplishing a goal. A few tips:
- Remove certain distracting apps from your phone.
- Set your phone on Silent or Airplane mode when you don’t want to be disturbed.
- Close your office door when you need to work quietly without overhearing conversations.
- Get to a good stopping point before you try changing tasks.
- Maintain an uncluttered, updated to-do list each week.
Physical Considerations for Focus
Sometimes, there’s a physical reason why we find it so hard to focus. We have previously written about brain health, and how important the right foods can be for cognitive function. Children often need different solutions than adults.
Possibly more than any other reason, we see stress as the major contributor to whether someone has good focus or not. Have you ever noticed how scattered you get when you’re stressed out? Where did your keys go? Who were you supposed to call? When we get stressed out, a cascade of various hormones occurs… cortisol increases, which causes insulin to increase as well. The heightened cortisol has a damaging influence on the hippocampus of the brain, which is our short-term memory center. Certainly, employing more stress-management techniques can be hugely beneficial to our focus. In addition:
- Thyroid hypofunction can cause chronic brain fog
- Sugar handling issues fatigue the body’s energy systems and reduce concentration
- Lack of fat and protein in the diet can impair the brain’s ability to work
- Food sensitivities can cause headaches and foggy thinking.
- Physical injury, such as a concussion, could take months or longer to heal.
Supplements to Maintain Clear Focus:
Sometimes, a simple switch to our supplement program can be immediately effective to how our brain works. Here are a few of our favorites:
Hypothalmex – The hypothalamus is the master gland that coordinates all functions of your hormonal system. This product contains the nutrients the hypothalamus needs to function at its best. The hypothalamus is your perception center; it helps you zero in on things, supports a positive interpretation of your surroundings and a happy mood.
OPC Synergy – OPC stands for “oligomeric proanthocyanidins,” otherwise known as grapeseed extract. This product supports circulation to the brain and prevents free radical damage. This is an extremely helpful product to maintain good cognitive function if you tend to have periods of brain exhaustion after computer work or the end of the day.
Adrenal Complex – This product contains Rehmannia and Licorice – two herbs that work in concert to strengthen your adrenal glands. Technically, this helps preserve your natural cortisol in your system, so your adrenals can relax and don’t have to constantly produce more. It’s one of our favorites to take the edge off and quickly feel better focus.
In order to be Livin’ the Dream, you’ve got to have a purpose and a clear head on your shoulders! If you’re not feeling as focused as you should be, you better get started now! Life is short. We need to make every second count!
“We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.” ~ Albert Einstein
There are so many reasons you should improve your focus. That’s why it’s the third pillar of Livin’ the Dream!