Focus

Pause App Slows You Down so You Can Focus and Relax

.@ustwo's #Pause App Slows You Down so You Can #Focus and #Relax

Pause is a beautiful new mindfulness app from ustwo, the creators of the popular game Monument Valley. Inspired by Tai chi, the developers took a unique approach to help you find meditative states. The Pause app guides you to make micro movements with your finger via hypnotizing visual feedback and sound cues. These slow, deliberate movements shift your state of mind to become more present, relaxed and focused.

The experience begins with soothing sounds and text prompting you to place your fingertip on the screen. When you do, a small lava-lamp style blot appears and begins to swell in size. "You can interpret it as your energies of focus regrouping" says studio head Marcus Woxneryd. From there, the app encourages you to make micro movements to grow the blot until it envelopes the entire screen. Then, the app suggests you close your eyes to let yourself fall into a deeper state of calm attention. A bell chimes when the session is over.

Although Pause is not vetted with controlled trials, its approach is backed by scientific research and theory. The developers incorporated Attention Restoration Theory and physiology to activate the parasympathetic nervous system for the relaxation response.

Pause is available for iOS and Android.


The above article was written by Josiah Hultgren, Founder of MindFullyAlive.

A Simple Way to 3x Your Chances of Reaching Your Goals

How to Increase Your Odds at Reaching Your #Goals 300%

The written content of the post was authored by best-selling author and neuroscience expert, Mark Robert Waldman. It is posted with his permission.


Psychologist Heidi Grant recommends using if/then planning to improve performance and increase your chances of reaching your goals by 300%. 

If/then plans work, she says, because they “are built into our neurological wiring.” This kind of thinking helps “people decide exactly when, where, and how they will fulfill their goals,” providing powerful triggers for taking action. 

She recommends using these three styles of if/then thinking:

  1. Replacing 
    “If I start to engage in an unproductive behavior (procrastinating, worrying, stressing out, etc.), then I will do _______________.” Choose an activity that will interrupt it (relaxing, focusing on your values, seeking advice from a colleague, etc.)
     
  2. Ignoring
    “If I feel the urge to ________, then I’ll ignore it.”
    This form of thought suppression has been proven to be very effective.
     
  3. Negating
    “If I slip into a bad habit (over-working, over-eating, etc.), then I’ll choose to interrupt it.” By consciously making this type of commitment, you are more likely to remain on track.


Check out Mark Waldman's free 6 Days to Enlightenment email series for information on how you can access enlightened states often and easily.

Yawning is The Fastest Way to Hack Mental Stress and Focus

 Yawning is The Fastest Way to Hack Mental #Stress and #Focus

The written content of the post was authored by best-selling author and neuroscience expert, Mark Robert Waldman. It is posted with his permission.


Olympic athletes yawn before they race. Musicians and speakers yawn before they go on stage. Snipers get trained to yawn before they pull the trigger. Pack animals yawn together to establish communal empathy. This is because yawning is the ultimate stress and focus hack.

Here are 10 reasons to yawn frequently:


1. Stimulates alertness and concentration
2. Optimizes brain activity and metabolism
3. Improves cognitive function
4. Increases memory recall
5. Enhances consciousness and introspection
6. Lowers stress
7. Relaxes your upper body
8. Fine-tunes your sense of time
9. Increases empathy and social awareness
10. Enhances pleasure and sensuality

Yawning clears away the fogginess of sleep and increases cerebral blood flow. After yawning, you quickly benefit with enhanced mental efficiency and a heightened state of cognitive awareness. In fact, yawning appears to be the fastest way to lower mental stress and anxiety. 

Many neurochemicals get released during the yawning experience that are essential for motivation, memory recall, and voluntary decision-making. In fact, it’s hard to find another activity that positively impacts so many brain functions. So, If you want to maintain an optimally healthy brain, make it a habit to yawn whenever you want to relax or enhance your ability to concentrate on a task.

It has a similar effect on a person as having a cup of coffee. It helps your brain shift between the highly focused demands of decision-making and restful daydreaming states that give you access to creative problem-solving. It even regulates the time clocks in your brain, helping you to sleep better at night. Yawning helps you to wake up and stay alert during a stressful work day.

yawning-animal

Yawning also appears to be a primitive form of empathy and is found in many mammals. There is a connection between frequent yawning and increased emotional empathy. That’s why we recommend that yawning a few times before entering a stressful business meeting or discussing a sensitive issue.

We recommend you yawn as many times a day as possible. When you wake up? Yawn. When you're confronting a difficult problem at work? Yawn. Whenever you feel anger, anxiety or stress? Yawn. 


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Yawn before giving an important talk, yawn before you take a test, and yawn whenever you feel bored. Do it mindfully, paying close attention to how it affects your mood and awareness.

Conscious yawning takes a little discipline to get past our social conditioning that it is rude. Another barrier is the “excuses” that people sometimes use: “I don’t feel like it,” “I’m not tired,” and a favorite, “I can’t.” Of course you can. All you need to do to trigger a deep yawn is to fake it four or five times. Try it right now, and you’ll see how each yawn feels more pleasant and relaxing.

yawn-experiment-vintage

A Mindful Yawning Experiment:

This exercise only takes two minutes, and works better if you are standing up. 

  1. Begin by taking a slow deep breath and then yawn. You can fake them at first, and if you make an “ahh” sound during exhalation you should be able to trigger a series of real yawns on your fourth or fifth try.
     
  2. As you continue to yawn, pay close attention to the sensations in your mouth, your throat, your chest and belly, and don’t be surprised if your eyes start watering. 
     
  3. If you feel dizzy, lightheaded, or disoriented, stop, sit down, and rest. Continue to yawn another ten or twelve times, and then pause, noticing the different body sensations you are having. Do you feel more relaxed and alert? 

If you feel tired, it probably means that you are exhausted from overwork. If you’ve been particularly stressed or anxious, you might find yourself yawning a great deal over the next half hour, or even throughout the day after you’ve tried this yawning experiment. It means that your brain needs more blood circulation to improve neural performance. Enjoy the yawns, knowing that it’s a special treat for your busy brain.



Check out Mark Waldman's free 6 Days to Enlightenment email series for information on how you can access enlightened states often and easily.