Why You Should Start Focused Attention Meditations – Ultimate How to Guide

All meditations are different.

Person sitting on the ground cross-legged and meditating.
Not all meditations are created equally – Photo by Katerina Jerabkova

They have different steps, different results, and different benefits.

Some meditations simply involve deepening the breath, some involve visualization, and some, like focused attention, involve a soft form of concentration.

Learn the benefits of focused attention meditations, how they differ from, say, mindfulness meditations, and learn how to do them today!

What is Focused Attention Meditation?

Focused attention meditation is a form of meditation that involves paying attention to a subject for a period of time.  

It can be the sound of a clock, a metronome, or the drop of water from a faucet. 

It can even be your own breathing or a gentle gaze of an object.

Many may think focused attention meditations involve hard work to concentrate, but it is an incredibly simple and easy practice.

Benefits of Focused Attention Meditation

Bringing attention to one single thing can help calm the mind due to this concentrated focus. 

It is a practice of cultivating concentration in a relaxed, non-judgemental way. 

Focused attention, therefore, becomes a great way to relieve stress, stay in the present moment, and reduce internal dialogue. 

These all help to quiet the mind and relieve negative emotions in day-to-day life.

What is the Difference Between Focused Attention and Other Meditations?

Different meditations will have different physiological and psychological effects on the body.

For example, long-time mediators using focused attention will have the anterior cingulate cortex activated in the brain, the problem solving, and the self-regulating part of the brain.

This part of the brain is not active during a session of mindful meditation.

This may lead to increased impulse control, planning, and other similar abilities. Focused attention even has the ability to increase creativity by increasing activity in the problem-solving areas of the brain.

How to Practice Focused Attention Meditations

1. Sit in a Comfortable Position  

Sit upright, with your spine comfortably straight. If on a chair, try to sit on the edge, or sit on the ground in a comfortable state. Relax the body, loosening shoulders, unclenching the jaw, and releasing tension from the limbs.

Be as relaxed as possible without falling asleep

2. Anchor mind 

Choose a target to direct your focus on. Many individuals choose to focus on breathing, as breathing is a foundation to entering into a meditative state.

Any calm and soft sensory sound or object will work, such as the ticking of a clock, or visually gazing at an object.

3. Focus Your Attention

When your mind wanders, return your attention to the object. Notice any discomfort, sensation, ache, or tensions and try to release them.

Calm your inner voice and internal monologue.

4. Don’t Worry About Failure

Wandering thoughts are normal. The process of returning your attention to the subject is very helpful and important in this type of meditation!

The Takeaway

All meditations are different, with different parts of the brain activated and different benefits.

Many have similarities, such as relaxing the body or reducing stress, however, learning the distinct effects of meditations can help you pick the right one for you.

Focused attention meditation can help increase planning, impulse control, creativity, and problem-solving abilities in long-time practitioners.

Try out different techniques and find the one that works best for you today.

Remember, health starts from within! Every step towards wellbeing is a building block you give your body towards health.

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