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How To Overcome Overwhelm And Master A Laser Focus With Mindfulness

Written by: Virin Gomber, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Being ‘busy’ has become a social norm in these fast-paced times, to the extent that people use this word freely and consistently to either express their hectic nature of life or just to project their ‘busyness’ as a status symbol.

The problem has assumed such exponential proportions that if you don't come across as 'busy,' you're considered lazy, unenthusiastic, or coming from the stone age. This mindset is increasingly becoming more prevalent in the corporate and entrepreneurial world.


However, this pattern of conformist behavior contributes to one of the biggest problems of the century – ‘overwhelm.’


What does the word ‘Overwhelm’ actually mean?


According to the Cambridge Dictionary:

“If something overwhelms someone or something, it is too much, or almost too much, for them to manage.”

"Too much to manage" – are the keywords here.


When the situation becomes that hard to manage, it easily creates a ripple effect on your psychological and emotional response. Eventually, it can increase stress, anxiety, fears, health issues, and even financial losses.


Overwhelm to Burnout


If the overwhelm becomes consistent, it can make you feel emotionally drained and then quickly lead you into the stage called ‘burnout.’


The key effects of burnout include - reduced productivity, mental and physical fatigue, apart from feelings of cynicism and resentment.


According to an HBR research report: “The entrepreneurs, on average, said they experienced some level of burnout. But some were more burned out than others — 25% of entrepreneurs felt moderately burned out, while 3% felt strongly burned out.”


It continues to add: "The researchers found that the entrepreneurs who reported high scores of obsessive passion were more likely to say they experienced burnout than those who reported high scores of harmonious passion.”


This is a strong indicator that you need to identify this challenge at the stage of ‘overwhelm’ so you can avoid the stage of ‘burnout.’


Otherwise, it will soon seep into other areas of your life, including your personal relationships.


However, as a busy entrepreneur or professional, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed due to all the distractions and notifications constantly vying for your attention.


These distractions include — email alerts and message notifications and the never-ending demands from your social media presence - Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter, and others.


Above all, there’s the news overflow from the thousands of TV channels and the gigantic smorgasbord of entertainment options on OTT platforms.


The Harmful Impact of Information Overload


It’s consistently damaging your focus.


Our brain is simply not equipped to deal with the information overload from an ever-increasing number of sources, especially technology-related, that are consistently trying to attract our attention.


When we are feeling overwhelmed, we have difficulty sitting still. Our thinking gets clouded.

Our ability to make decisions becomes weaker, and our memory is impacted.


This can result in a loss of mental energy and strength required to concentrate on the tasks at hand.


Your ability to focus starts to get diluted and weaker.


Being able to stay focused on a set of tasks is one of the greatest indicators of your future success. Successful and mindful entrepreneurs and professionals make it a point to master the art of laser-focus because that's what gives them strong and fulfilling outcomes.


The Antidote


Now you’d think the problem can be easily resolved if you acted rationally and removed all the harmful distractions that are the source of overwhelm and so you can regain your focus.


But, the pattern of acting with an ‘obsessive passion’ hijacks the ‘rational’ part of our thinking, making it more complicated.


There is a deeper issue here that we need to address.


While learning to improve your focus in the face of all the distractions and overcome overwhelm doesn't happen overnight, there are strategies to make it easier.


With a few simple Mindfulness practices, you can quickly take charge of your mind, stop overwhelm in its tracks and develop laser-like focus.


1. Avoid Multitasking


Imagine this – you're working on a project when your phone rings suddenly. It's your partner calling who needs you to be back home a bit earlier that night due to an emergency.


As you finish the call, you hear a notification beep from one of your clients with an urgent query. You head over to Facebook to address this task, and half an hour later, you find yourself surfing social media and checking up on other messages.


When you finally bring your attention back to your project work, you realize you had lost the same clear focus you had earlier when you started working on it.


It's important to remember that consistent multitasking often can lead to a downfall in the brain's gray matter and eventually memory problems. It's not surprising that this can prevent you from focusing on one project at a time to complete it.


So, here’s what you need to do to avoid multitasking:

  • Never check your phone first thing when you wake up in the morning, as it can get you started on a multitasking mode and decrease your productivity. Wait at least an hour after you’ve completed some of your other morning priorities.

  • Make an effort to eliminate all pointless distractions when focussing on project completion. The best way to do this is to switch off your social media, text and email notifications, or put your phone on airplane mode. You can turn them back on again after the task completion.

  • Learn to say ‘No’ even when you get the opportunity for more projects than you can suitably handle. This will help you design a pattern of delivering high-quality work while reducing your multi-tasking madness.

2. Practice Mindfulness Meditation


Whether in the form of meditation or breathing exercises, integrating mindfulness into your routine will help you with your goal of overcoming overwhelm.


It has been proven to enhance focus, thereby improving optimism, happiness, positive emotional states, and self-acceptance.


Psychologist Daniel Goleman says: “Bringing attention back to the breath each time you feel your mind wandering during meditation helps strengthen the brain’s neural circuitry for focus.”


Essentially, it means when you notice that you’re off track due to any distraction, like a text or your phone ringing, you will be better equipped to come back to the task at hand.


Whenever you find your focus decline during the course of a day’s work, this simple step of a quick and short meditation will help you restore your attention and focus.


3. Consume Mindfully


Research shows that mindful eating and choosing your nutrition mindfully can help with greater psychological well-being, which directly impacts your brain’s power of focus.


Our gut and brain are connected with one of the biggest nerves called the 'vagus.' This means that the health of our gut impacts our brain's cognitive functioning.


According to Harvard School of Public Health: "Mindfulness targets becoming more aware of, rather than reacting to, one's situation and choices. Eating mindfully means that you are using all of your physical and emotional senses to experience and enjoy the food choices you make."


The keys to the mindful eating model rest on 4 pillars: what, why, how much, and how to eat. So, make use of the power of mindfulness to:

  • Notice internal and external signals that affect how much you eat

  • Observe how the food looks, smells, feels, and tastes

  • Become aware of how your body feels after eating

In terms of the 'How' – you can use mindful breathing techniques before or after the meal.


Also, your brain needs lots of good fat to function properly. So, try to get more ‘good fats’ in your diet. Nuts, avocados, and coconut oil are all great examples.


These steps will quickly improve your cognitive function and, thereby, your focus.


4. Master Your Sleep


Consistent sleep deprivation can potentially ruin your focus.


It’s a simple equation: poor sleep = overworked neurons.


Research from the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School suggests:

"A sleep-deprived person cannot focus attention optimally and therefore cannot learn efficiently. Sleep itself has a role in the consolidation of memory, which is essential for learning new information.”


Furthermore, a lack of sufficient sleep or low-quality sleep can result in a loss of ability to make correct decisions due to loss of assessment accuracy and judgment impairment.


Above all, experiencing chronic fatigue or exhaustion brings down our performance and efficiency.


At the same time, research also suggests that both situations - too little sleep or too much sleep – can result in cognitive decline.


So, what’s recommended is accomplishing a routine of ‘optimal’ sleep.


Here are a few quick tips:

  • Optimize your bedroom environment by minimizing the use of electronic devices in the room, especially before bedtime.

  • Create a regular sleep schedule to support your body clock.

  • Avoid alcohol and/or caffeine after a certain time in the evening.

  • Adopt a relaxing routine before bed – you can try reading, enjoying a warm bath, or mindfulness meditation. Apart from slowing down your overactive brain, this will also activate your pineal gland that supports the production of the sleep hormone ‘melatonin.’

  • The amount of sleep needed varies significantly across individuals. While there’s no ‘magic number of hours,’ become mindful of your own unique needs and follow that routine.

5. Stay Physically Active


While we all know how beneficial 'working out' is for your body, several research studies have revealed that regular physical exercise can help build the brain's ability to manage distractions better and improve its ability to focus.


Physical activity of any kind helps boost the levels of the ‘good’ chemicals in the brain - dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. All of this supports improving your focus and concentration scale.


So, there’s no excuse not to make physical activity a regular part of your routine.


Start your morning with some form of physical exercise. Or, you can include it in your evening schedule after work, making sure it suits your body type and the current state of your health.


The simple routine of getting your blood flowing for 20-30 minutes every day will spark your mind sufficiently and help you develop stronger focus throughout the day.


Staying focused is one of the biggest challenges we face today. It's not only because we have forgotten how to stay focussed, but also because we've far more distractions around us than ever.


When you learn and manage to consistently stay focussed on your goals and tasks at hand, you can become unstoppable!


Here’s what Steve Jobs had to say about focus:

“That's been one of my mantras - focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it's worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

If you’re looking to master your distractions and up-level your focus and attention scale to transform your performance, I will invite you to explore my program - Mindfulness Powerhouse™.


It’s an online program designed for professionals, executives, entrepreneurs, and individuals aspiring to build a successful system to turn stress and overwhelm into emotional wellbeing, optimal balance, and high performance. This program will empower you to transform overwhelm into laser-focus, uplift your productivity, and enhance your emotional wellbeing.


I hope this article has been of value to you and helped you to shift your perspective at some level. Please feel free to get in touch to share your thoughts - I’d love to hear from you.


For your mindful success,

Virin Gomber


Disclaimer: The suggestions in this article do not reflect any particular diagnosis or course of treatment. They are meant as a tool to provide you new perspectives. If you have any further concerns about your current well-being, you may contact your GP or a medical specialist.


Connect HERE for an opportunity to work with me!


Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, or visit my website for more info!

 

Virin Gomber, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Virin Gomber is a leading Mindfulness Success Coach, Speaker, and Author.


Following a successful corporate career that left him with stress and burnout, he learned, created, and mastered highly effective Mindfulness strategies to boost his balance and personal performance. Since then, he has integrated Quantum Physics, Neuroscience, and Positive Psychology principles to craft a unique blend for his Mindfulness success system.


Dedicated to helping people become top achievers, the core of his work is with entrepreneurs, CEOs, professionals, and driven individuals to support them to achieve peak performance, balance and happiness.


He offers more than a decade of Success Coaching, corporate training, and 25+ years of Mindfulness experience.


Virin has co-authored an Amazon bestseller, “The Missing Piece in Self Love,” appeared on TV shows, and contributed to numerous global online magazines.


His ‘WHY’: To empower people to create accomplished personal skills to achieve next-level success and happiness.

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