A is for ATTENTION

Attention is what you choose to focus your energy on.

Attention rather than time should be our most prized possession. Our minds are constantly battling against the many distractions that exist, with the biggest being our own thoughts. Through consistent practice such as meditation we can improve the ability to bring ourselves back into the present moment and place our attention on what truly matters.

Time passes by regardless so we may aswell make the most of it.

What you attend to shapes your experience, which shapes your decision making and ultimately shapes your life. Attention determines how you perceive the world.

Life could be spent engaging in meaningless activities that temporarily fill windows of boredom and give empheral highs, but do nothing other than leave us on a chase; or we could be more intentional with how we spend our time and gain real fufilment from the things we pursue.

In order to protect my attention, I stopped doing a few things:

The News

  • Watching news channels
  • Following any kind of news on social media
  • Reading the newspaper
  • Listening to the radio

The majority of news I consumed often evoked negative feelings. I guess it’s good to have some kind of understanding of what’s going on in the world and at times I do feel ignorant when people discuss recent events. However, not knowing far outweighs the consequence of being barraged with information that induces fear, anxiety, sadness or anger.

Other People

  • Watching daily vlogs
  • Spending a lot of time watching people’s snapchat & Instagram stories
  • Watching reality TV shows  
  • Paying attention to any kind of celebrity gossip

The above is not a bad thing, it just isn’t for me. I realised that watching someone else’s life doesn’t add much value to mine. Although living vicariously through others can serve a purpose in terms of inspiration and encouraging motivation, I’d be mindful of being wrapped up in a life other than your own, especially when it comes to social media. I’ve deffo been there, so if you ever feel like you’re going down that road too, ask yourself: Am I acting on this inspiration? Is watching this person adding value or happiness to my life?

Notifications

  • Turning off notifications was a game changer
  • Now I choose when to look at my phone and not vice versa
  • My phone no longer dictates my attention

I wanted to be more deliberate with my screen time, therefore I changed how I viewed my phone. Now, I think of it as a personal tool rather than an object of entertainment. There have been many occasions where I’ve felt overwhelmed with the number of notifications I received and I didn’t enjoy the chaos. So I decided to turn off the notifications on apps I deemed non-essential (social media, banking, dating, music and shopping) and felt way more relaxed. It was simply a matter of recognising how something made me feel and changing it in order to make myself feel better.

Not paying attention to the news, other people’s lives and turning off notifications has reduced noise and given me more control of where I place my energy.

Imagine a more mindful life, a life where you are intentional with the time you have. Think about the things you could acheive, the meaningful activities you could engage in like learning a new skill, discovering ways to improve your health and wealth, contacting that person you’ve been longing to reconnect with, doing your favourite hobby, developing your self-awarness, as well as all of the other things you could do, but don’t because something else (less meaningful) has stolen your attention.

You see time is precious but your attention is even more so.

It is up to you to decide what deserves something so invaluable.

Live a life with intention by using your attention more wisely.

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