If you’re like me, the most valuable source of happiness you can possess is the power of your relationships. The amazing feeling of connection to someone who reciprocates your affection enhances every aspect of life. This kind of relationship, when maximized, energizes your inner being and motivates you to healthfully honor your physical body temple. Continue reading →
Training and experience can affect how a person’s brain is organised, says a US study that compared 20 music conductors and 20 people with no music training.
All the participants were between the ages of 28 and 40. The conductors had an average of more than 10 years experience as a band or orchestra director in middle or high school.
The researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to monitor the participants’ brain activity while they performed a difficult hearing task that involved listening for two tones. They had to keep their eyes opened while doing the task.
Experience and brain functioning
Initially, both the conductors and non-musicians showed reduced activity in the brain’s visual processing area and increased activity in the auditory part of the brain. But as the task became harder, only the non-musicians tuned out more of their visual sense. This suggests that the conductors’ music training and experience altered the way their brains work, the researchers said.
“Because the task was equally difficult for everybody, the difference observed between conductors and non-musicians must be related to a change in how they deal with irrelevant sensory information and not just their ability to do the task,” lead author W. David Hairston, a postdoctoral fellow in radiology at the Advanced Neuroscience Imaging Research Laboratory at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Centre in Winston-Salem, N.C., said in a prepared statement.
“In general, based on the non-musicians, we suggest that the brain actively increases how much information from other senses gets filtered out or ignored when you have to concentrate really hard on one sense,” Hairston said.
He noted that conductors routinely must differentiate between subtle differences in sounds and often have to do this while reading scores and watching/communicating with their musicians. This leads to an ability to focus on a difficult auditory task without having to increase suppression of visual information.
The study results “show how the brain filters information from different senses is very flexible and adaptive and changes with the demands of the task at hand. Additionally, how this operates can change with highly specialized training and experience,” Hairston said.
In addition to the many health benefits of sleep, there are other factors that make sleep absolutely necessary to life. Sleep is important for concentration, memory formation and the repair of damage to your body’s cells during the day. Chronic lack of sleep increases the risk for developing obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and infections.
Lack of Sleep Can Kill
Researchers do not know exactly why people need sleep, but we do know that lack of sleep can kill. In research studies, rats normally live two to three years, but if rats are totally deprived of sleep, they only live about five weeks. They also develop sores, their immune systems do not work well and their body temperature drops. Humans deprived of sleep for long periods begin hallucinating and develop other mental problems.
Sleep and Concentration
When people do not have enough sleep, they cannot concentrate well the next day and have problems forming memories. Researchers believe that during sleep, neurons can shut down and repair any damage done during the day. Without these repairs, the neurons may not function correctly due to a buildup of waste products. Sleep also seems important for the formation of memories.
Growth and Beauty Sleep
Important hormone production is regulated during sleep; in children, human growth hormone (HGH) is released during deep sleep. Insufficient sleep can affect hormonal balance in adults as well. Tissue repair also occurs during sleep, including repair to the daily skin damage done by UV light. Getting enough deep sleep will help your skin repair itself.
She seemed so in charge of her balanced life. So I asked my student, this longtime, top producer, exactly how she managed to juggle so much and so well. Her response was the same I’ve heard repeatedly from achievers over the years, “I learned how to really concentrate.” When the vision is clear, braking down specific goals or tasks becomes easier. The ability to concentrate on single issues at a time becomes do-able and the success process becomes easier to control and duplicate.
The basic theme you hear from pro athletes at the peak of their game is the same you hear from great parents, teachers, students, scientists, realtors, doctors, communicators etc. They share a view that it is never the glitches, setbacks, disappointments that hold a person back, but rather the message the person assigns to those events or to any distractions. Stuff happens. How we choose to view and respond to these happenings determines whether we move away from or toward our personal power.
Many don’t feel they run their life. They feel their life runs them. They use others’ actions and opinions as well as their own experiences as excuses for what they choose to do. It’s like using an out-of-town guest as an excuse to do no work, as if the guest is pointing a gun and saying, “Take care of me every moment or I’ll shoot.” Or, we see external changes over which we have no control, like an interest rate change, and suddenly some find the way they sleep, communicate, project the future, view their colleagues or even their family, changes too. We’ve all been cut off in traffic. The driver who did the cutting, whether intentional or inadvertent, drives off focused on his destination. But how often have we, the ones cut off, invited that long gone, other driver to live, rent-free in our head? Learning to “let go” is not a just some random concept. Letting gois a way of coping with our distractions and disappointments in a healthy, productive way.
Letting go is about focusing elsewhere, by conscious choice. We don’t let go by saying, “I don’t want to think about it.” That’s like highlighting with a yellow marker the very thought we want to avoid. Imagine a teacher directing, “OK class… don’t think of a purple elephant…. large orange ears flapping in the breeze.” What did you see.. even if you tried to “let go” of it? Yet, there is a way to let go and it’s simple. We simply turn our attention to something else and keep placing our mind exactly where we want it to be until the mind gets the message. The mind learns by our repetition that we’re serious and in control of the DIRECTION of our attention. Imagine allowing all distractions and challenges to do only one thing: to serve as a reminder to focus and concentrate on those ideas and things about which we CAN do something, and towards those things that have value for own highest, most exciting, magnificent, “worth-it” goals.
And the great news is – this chosen FOCUS and CONCENTRATION is a way of responding and behaving that can be practiced and learned.
Here are a few simple tools to “get ‘er done:”
1. DO the SESSIONS. One way to establish excellence in focus and concentration is to practice the relaxation and self-hypnosis sessions I teach in seminars.
When you relax your mind (relaxing your body is great, but relaxing your mind is the key to excellence), many distractions may pull at you. As you keep bringing your mind back to your chosen focus (positive affirmations, imagery), like a puppy gets the message when you gently and consistently repeat, your mind gets the message and learns. Do these training sessions with yourself and just like muscles in the body, your mind gets stronger and more disciplined. Practice directing your mind to those acts and abilities you want, for example reading fast with perfect comprehension, giving clear presentations that are on target, being inspired by rejection or intimidating tactics of others, prospecting with confidence, experiencing memory that accesses with ease the images and details that serve, playing fluid, powerful, golf, being relaxed and confident taking tests, etc. Being “present” or “in the moment” are not just phrases. Like letting go, they are skills which can be learned and perfected for a better way of performing.
2. ASK YOURSELF the MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION. Another way of practicing the development of focus and concentration is to, throughout the day, ask yourself “Is what I am doing the most beneficial thing I could be doing, right NOW?”
Write this question on a 3×5 card and carry it with you for a couple of weeks to ingrain the sense of control you really do have over your time and energy. Don’t wait to be moved by this little reminder. If the answer is “Yes,” continue doing what you’re doing. If the answer is “No,” pay attention and take action that moves you NOW to your best use of your focused attention and resources of time, energy. The beginning of any process of change may be erratic and uncomfortable. It is also totally worthwhile. Look at the people who you think “have it together” and you may not necessarily find the most gifted or brilliant, but you will likely find those who choose to “shift gears” smoothly and be totally present. Copy success. Copy their best attributes.
3. CELEBRATE VICTORIES. Think about it: Confidence in this area of developing focus, like confidence about anything else doesn’t necessarily come from belief or faith, it comes from creating victories which we acknowledge. Start from wherever you are and show yourself what you CAN do. When you do something well, avoid the trap of thinking “It’s no big deal.” Acknowledge successes, little or giant, as of equal value relative to your ability to have success. What’s small to you may be huge to someone else.. and vice versa. Celebration of each success, without judgment of its size, continues to move us forward while creating a new habit. This is using our power and strengthening the habit of concentration.
The practice of self hypnosis will greatly facilitate your ability to focus. One of the definitions of self hypnosis is Heightened Awareness. If you commit yourself to practice a couple of sessions each day, within two to three weeks you will find some very interesting shifts in concentration and consciousness take place. Learn how, do it, celebrate your successes, benefit. Start NOW.
Please take a look at my CDs that can help you focus in your business and personal life and prepare you to have the best year ever. The choice is always there and the choice is always yours.