Focusing on a single object in a room is an example of narrow concentration. Focusing on a room as a whole is an example of broad concentration. With practice, you can learn to integrate both of these types of focus to the point where they work seamlessly. The benefits can be significant, enabling you to better maintain focus under high stress situations.
- To begin, breathe in slowly from the abdomen, pause, and mentally say the number "one". When you exhale, however, focus only on the sound of your breathing. If you prefer, make the sound "mu" every time you breathe out.
- Breathe in slowly, pause, and mentally say the number, "two". Pause, then breathe out slowly focusing only on your breath.
- Repeat this cycle until you reach the number "five"
- Repeat this cycle three more times for a total of four, or as many times as you find comfortable.
When you have finished counting, slowly open your eyes, and focus on a single object. Examine its every detail. Notice its shape, its colors; trace with your eyes any shadows, its design or lettering. After doing this for a few moments, expand your focus to encompass the entire room. Observe the room as a whole for a few moments; return your focus to the object. Repeat this process four times or as many times as feels comfortable.
Performance Rehearsal- Basic Technique
Performance Rehearsal is critical if we want to consistently perform at out best. This technique is like watching a movie in which you are the director and star.
To give you an idea of how this technique works, begin with something you know well such as the room in which you're sitting. This way you easily can compare your mental imagery to the real thing.
Begin by closing your eyes and mentally try to see the general shape of the room. Imagine the location of the door, the window(s), various pieces of furniture, etc. Open your eyes and compare it to the real location and objects. If the images seem difficult or sketchy, don't worry; with practice they will become clearer. Again, a precise image isn't necessary; a general impression can work well.
Close your eyes and again see the mental image of the room. Do this a few more times until you gradually become more comfortable with the image. When this general image is familiar, focus on a specific object in the room.
With your eyes open, look at an object for a few seconds and then close your eyes and see this image. Try to this image in mind for 10 to 20 seconds. Open your eyes and compare your image to the real object. Close your eyes and repeat for the same time period. Do this as many times as feels comfortable.
Repeat this exercise for four to five consecutive days until the image of the object becomes easier to see mentally. With this foundation, you're ready to begin Performance Rehearsal described in Part Three.
When people are under pressure, a common tendency is to recall past problems and setbacks at the expense of remembering what went well. Our emotions are soon controlling the situation.
A fundamental rule of Performance Rehearsal is go into the past only to recall the positive. The past is over and done. The only place it exists is in the memory. If there are lessons to be learned, learn them, then move on. Negativity accomplishes nothing.
Right now, without evaluating, take a pen and a piece of paper and jot down, in point form, past successes, times when you were pleased with the way you practiced or performed. For some people, this may seem difficult at first, but you didn't get this far without achieving certain goals and acquiring certain skills.
Use this phrase or word to regain focus when you find yourself slipping into thoughts about past difficulties and setbacks.
- What was the event?
- What type of feelings did you experience?
- When did you experience these feelings?
- Write down a phrase or a word that reminds you of this time and these feelings