5 Quick Mindfulness Activities to Help You Focus

 

There are times when we all struggle to focus on tasks ahead of us. If we do not know how to manage this, we often end up procrastinating or abandoning the task altogether. We can however, practise some mindfulness activities that can help improve our overall focus for better well-being and productivity. Here are some quick mindfulness activities you can practise at home, school or work:

#1 – Breathing focus

When you first wake up in the morning, stay in bed for an extra 2 minutes and focus only on your breathing. Inhale and exhale slowly, paying careful attention to your breathing. Allow the thoughts of the days to come and go while you focus entirely on your breathing. If your mind wanders, bring it back by focussing entirely on your breathing.

#2 – Mindfulness relaxation

This activity can be done pretty much anywhere. The ideal way to do this is before you start any task so you can boost your concentration levels. For example, before you start reading, take 10 minutes to close your eyes, sit up straight and relax. Again, focus entirely on your breathing, paying close attention to the sensation of inhaling and exhaling deeply but gently. To help your mind focus on your breathing, silently count each exhalation.

#3 – Apply focus and awareness to everything your do

The objective of mindfulness is to unclutter your mind by keeping it sharp and clear. Instead of trying to multi-task, you choose to focus on the single task you are doing. Be aware of internal and external distractions as they creep in by being focussed and aware of the single task you are doing. This is the opposite of multi-tasking. Your productivity increases and mistakes decrease when you concentrate only on the present moment and task at hand.

#4 – 60 seconds mindfulness performance breaks

Try to regularly stop what you’re doing during the day and focus on your breathing only. This will help clear your mind and stay alert especially in moments where you feel flustered and confused. Whenever you find a minute to spare, these small bursts of 60 seconds mindfulness performance breaks can refresh your concentration levels and help your stay alert throughout the day.

#5 – Do absolutely nothing when commuting

Whilst commuting, do not reach for your phone, iPad or any other distraction device. Turn everything off and focus on the present moment. Allow the thoughts of the day to pass while you focus on your breathing. The essence again is to let go of doing anything and simply be. This will help you let go of all the stresses of the day and the commute so you can return home feeling calm and fully present.

I hope these activities inspire you to focus, be calm and stay present. Remember, it takes practise and it’s absolutely OK if you don’t manage at first. The trick is to focus on breathing and allow wandering thoughts to pass through your mind without engaging in any of them.

~ Nafisa

*Source: Improving Teacher Hapiness & Well-being: A collection of expert resources (Iris Connect)

10 Well-being Tips for Study Success

Well-being for Study Success

How do you manage your study and work schedule with the added challenge of workload and stress? Here are my 10 tips for well-being and study success:

Tip #1 – Always identify deadlines

Ask for extensions if necessary.

Set times for doing and finishing things and stick to it. Write deadlines in places where you can easily see and remember which tasks are priority and when they are due.

Tip #2 – Ask questions

What, why, when, how?

These are all simple but important questions we need to ask about things that we are supposed to do. Time is precious so it’s important you ask questions about the benefit and impact of tasks you’ve been set. Ask questions especially for clarification.

There is a proverb in Hausa, ‘The questioner is never lost‘.

Tip #3 – Learn from feedback

Mistakes are both unavoidable and necessary for us to learn. We learn from both what we did and what we didn’t do well.

As a teacher, I spend time giving feedback to help learners develop and learn from what they did or didn’t do and how they can do better. So whenever you receive feedback on your work, make sure you understand that teachers only give you feedback to support your progress not to criticise your efforts.

Tip #4 – Know when to stop

Say no to yourself and/or others when you can’t or simply don’t want to do something.

As hard as it may be, it will benefit you in the long run if you are honest about what you are able to do realistically from the onset.

Nobody is a superhuman and you are no exception. Sometimes things are simply not possible to do and that is absolutely OK.

Tip #5 – Take regular breaks

Rebooting is necessary.

You have the power to set the reset button anytime you like. Your mind and body are not machines, so it’s important to give yourself time and space to detach from your workload regularly.

Try to incorporate regular breaks for water, fresh air, body stretches (especially if you spend a lot of time at a desk) and food or snacks into your work schedule.

Tips #6 – Keep a happy workspace

Your mind needs inspiration to work effectively.

Find a space that makes you feel happy or decorate your workspace with things that make you smile like photos of your favourite places or quotes from inspirational people.

If you have awards or certificates from previous achievements, why not display these too? This will encourage you especially when you’re not feeling your best by reminding you of how your previous hard work has paid off.

Tip #7 – Talk about it

What are you up to? What’s bothering you?

Whatever it is don’t keep it in. Share ideas with your peers and other people to collaborate on managing time, study skills, productivity or anything else that interests you.

You should also be able to talk to your tutors, lecturers or student well-being officers. If you have some really important things that are bothering you, you should seek professional help.

Tip #8 – Go outside

Fresh air can do you wonders.

Leave your desk and step outside, even if it’s for a five minute mindfulness walk around the block.

It’s not only good to give your eyes a screen break but also a gentle stretch of your limbs to get your circulation flowing and fresh blood back to your brain!

Tip #9 – Enjoy the process

Studying is fun, if approached with the correct mindset.

Think positively about the tasks ahead and you are far more likely to enjoy doing them. If you enjoy what you are doing, it will be a lot easier. So focus on the process and you will see positive outcomes.

Tip #10 -Relax

If you’ve done your best, you’ve done pretty much everything.

Now relax and let it come together. Detach yourself from your work now and watch it all fall into place.

I hopethese 10 tips help you improve your well-being for study success. For daily inspiration and tips on study skills follow me on Instagram

12 Keys To Success
‘12 Keys To Success’ eBook is available for instant digital download from my online store; Nafisa London & Co.

You can also get you copy of my eBook: ‘12 Keys To Success’  –  a strategically designed, straightforward and reader-centred guide on achieving your visions and dreams and written with 12 useful tips based on my first hand experience and strategies I’ve used to turn my education, business and career goals into tangible results. It is designed with hands-on practical advice to engage active rather than passive reading. This eBook is available for instant digital download from my online store; Nafisa London & Co.Enjoy,

~Nafisa