Are you an expert at paying attention?

Paying attention?

Humans have become experts in paying attention. Those among us who are best at paying attention are frequently rewarded with great jobs.

Jobs that involve focusing on numbers or documents or computers screens are often the height of professional achievement.

From an evolutionary perspective though close focus would likely not have been used anywhere like as frequently as it is today.

Where narrow and close focus would have been incredibly useful would have been to draw our attention to the damage.

We climb a tree to collect a coconut we climb back down and we are completely pain-free.

Movement and pain quit deliberately travel the same neural pathway so that if we are fighting or running for our lives (or climbing down a tree), we cannot feel the pain that may slow us down or distract us and get us killed.

Once we get down from the coconut tree though our sympathetic nervous system kicks in.

Our flight or fight system has fired up to draw our attention to a splitter, until resolved the pain can be quite strong.

It will stay this way until the danger has been neutralised. But what happens if we live our lives in narrow focus, what happens if our flight or fight system is almost permanently engaged?

Chronic stress, Inflammation and chronic pain, or rather chronic awareness of an issue often no more significant than a paper cut.

If our brains think we are constantly being chased by lions it doesn’t stop to think if it’s a metaphorical lion or not.

Removal of pain begins with the removal of threat. Taking ourselves more frequently into open focus by using our eyes to recognise what’s around us and spending time every day engaging our Parasympathetic nervous system.

Try spending 3-5 minutes every hour or two 15-minute periods a day focusing on diagrammatic breathing while trying not to chase your thoughts.