What really is the ability to focus? It is to accomplish the task at hand? It is to hold a solid conversation? Is it to make sure you get to bed at a decent time by not becoming hypnotized to the TV and/or computer? Ok maybe not “and”, if someone can focus fully on TV and computer at the same time, that’s simply skill. Anyways… my point is that what does it really mean to focus? I’m not sure if any one really knows the answer to this because it’s so diverse. For me focusing means that I am able to get my school work finished, but it also means focusing on recovery versus the eating disorder thoughts. Focusing is deep breathing when I feel my anxiety creeping in, it is not wasting my time and doing what needs to be done.
I think the idea of someone’s ability to focus doesn’t get enough credit. I mean really, not everyone can sit down and finish a project or motivate themselves to just get through a hard spot… Which brings me to my next idea, do the ability to focus and internal motivation play hand in hand? I vote yes. Wait nope, YES. To put it as simply as possible, if a person isn’t able to motivate themselves then will they be able to focus on what they need to accomplish? Probably not. They will most likely just go through the motions, doing the minimum require but never going above and beyond. It’s almost like living sub-par. One foot in your life and one-foot with all the hopes and dreams of what life would be like if your were really internally motivated and happy with what your life is.
Our thoughts become clouded on a daily basis with what we want to be doing, what we should have done, what we wish we could do if one x, y, or z would just fall into place. The thing is x, y or z will never fall into place unless we put them in place. It’s truly in our control to self motivate, focus, and achieve the things we really want for our lives.
Perfect example of our thoughts becoming clouded which in turn affects our life – this last Tuesday I was going through my usual morning routine but little things kept happening. I spilt my coffee, my back account wouldn’t let me log on, my ankle (story for another day) was not doing so well, and my mind was in a funk. I was headed to a 9am appointment and hit traffic. Now this is where the situation could have gone two separate ways. One way is I could have called where I was going and just not worried about it, if the traffic dissipated I’d be fine and if not re-schedule. I didn’t do that, because my mind was already clouded with negative. About 20 minutes passed and I had moved around 50 feet. 100 feet tops. I felt my anxiety raising and wasn’t able to stop it in the moment. I pulled a U-turn (as did pretty much everyone else) and headed back home. Tears began streaming down my face, anxiety rising even higher, shaking, trembling, and screaming. Full blown anxiety attack in the works due to the way I handled a specific situation.
I understand that it’s extremely hard to re-focus thoughts after negative emotions are already in play but sometimes it’s the only way out. Focusing comes from within. Looking back now I see that if I had made sure I was calm before driving to my appointment and just re-scheduling right when I realized traffic wasn’t moving the situation would have probably ended much differently. It’s all in our surroundings and mindset. Mental clouding has a huge play in our day to day lives, our self motivation, and our ability to focus.