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Stress and focus

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Two for You — take two minutes to live and lead with intention

Episode 4.7

Squirl! When there are many things on your mind it is easy to get distracted and difficult to make decisions. In this episode, we share three strategies you can begin right now to help you focus.



Note: Two for You written transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before referencing content in print.

[Lori] Hello and welcome to Two for You. In this episode we're going to talk about stress and focus, right. I don't know about you but it can be very difficult to focus turn times of stress and there's all these things swirling and going on. And this can be particularly difficult in decision-making processes, when we get really need to hone in on something.

So a few things I want to talk about is, first of all what's happening in our brain? Right, so there's a part of our brain called the reticular activating system or the RAS. And the RAS really is the highlighter that the spotlight that allows our brain to see what we look for right.

So if we're intentional, we can set our RAS to look for the things that we want to see and so we can move through those decision-making process and really focus when we're feeling stressed.

[Denise] And one other practice that can help support the RAS is the practice of being present. Now we talk about mindfulness but presence takes it even a step further.

You are in the moment without judgment, but you're also in the moment with your arms open. Meaning that you're accepting of whatever is going to happen.

You can't control everything, right. And when you're stressed you feel sometimes like you have no control.

[Lori] Even though you may want to control it we can't control it, right.

[Denise] Exactly, so practice being present, be in the moment with attention, without judgment and with your arms open.

[Lori] Yeah, so we can't control everything but we can really think about the direction we want to go, and so our next tip is really around choosing something, right.

So think about that day think about just one thing that you want to accomplish and what's the one thing that you could do that day to move into the direction where you want to go. So choose one thing.

[Denise] So our last tip to help you get there to get to that accomplishment is the practice of "I am here." It's a type of meditation that helps ground you, right.

We're talking about if you want to focus, you want to be in the here, and now you don't want to be fretting about what's going to happen. You don't want to be regretting what's already happened.

So it's three deep breaths. On the intake of breath, you think the words "I am", and on the outtake, it's "here". So it's three simple breaths that help you, breaths I always help you, but it's it's the thought of "I am here, I am grounded, I am now."

[Lori] Yeah thanks for sharing that one. That's my favorite one, actually Denise. So here we go that we had four tips for you today.

So we're first about what's our brain thinking about? So what is your reticular activating system focusing on today? Being present with your attention on, what is your intention and what attitude are you bringing to things.

And what's the one thing you want to move forward and practice I am here meditation as you live and lead with intention. 

Authors: Lori Rothstein and Denise Stromme, former Extension educators

Reviewed in 2020

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