Energy goes where attention flows.
Hopefully right now it is on reading this article, but generally what grabs your attention? TV, computer games, social networking all give us instant stimulation that grabs our attention. The paradox is that the more we let our attention flow to these media the less energy we have for ourselves.
Schools are full of students who have been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD and if you look at the habits of these students, you will often find that they lack energy. There are many reasons for this and electronic media are not entirely to blame. Environmental issues such as diet and a hectic home life also contribute to energy or attention deficits and will be discussed in future articles.
Naturally a child’s attention span is dependent on their age. A pre-school child should be able to concentrate between 5 to 10 minutes at any given time, whilst a 10-year-old should have an attention span of 15 to 20 minutes. Adolescents should have an attention span of up to 40 minutes. The adolescent brain is changing, with old unused neural networks being pruned and new ones being formed. Quality sleep is crucial to the repair and rewiring of the adolescent brain. There is some research showing that a web browsing teenager will have the attention span of just 3 minutes which has implications for effective teaching and learning strategies.
Many diagnosed with ADD/ADHD are more than proficient with computer games and watch TV for long periods of time, so it seems to the onlooker that they are able to concentrate effectively. What happens is a visual overstimulation because the action is fast moving resulting in the attention span actually being quite short. Take the TV news. It is broken up into chunks of around 12 minutes between advertisements, consisting of 3 or 4 stories visually presented by a token newsreader. Imagine going back to having to watch a newsreader read the news from a script! Over time our neural networks get habituated to this time frame. Compare the speed of an old computer with the latest. We get used to the increased speed and even get frustrated when a new program or app doesn’t work as fast as we want.
So how is your energy and where is your attention?
If you are sitting reading this, check your posture.
Are you sitting straight, shoulders back, head up?
How much energy do you have right now?
Not a lot?
Then try this simple and effective exercise to change your physiology and increase energy.
Take a deep breath in, hold and as you release it allow your shoulders to drop.
Take a second deep breath, hold and as you release it bring your head up to a comfortable position and look straight ahead.
Now take a third deep breath, hold for a moment and as you release it relax and smile.
Notice how you are feeling now.
Do this quick and easy breathing exercise whenever you feel low in energy or stressed and you will be surprised at how soon you will create a positive energy state. The more positive energy you generate, the more you will live the life you want.