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Natural Awakenings Austin

Learning to Focus and Concentrate

Dec 05, 2016 04:01PM

Human brains are highly attuned to any blip on our sensory radar because that’s what ensured our survival. An area called the locus coeruleus is especially responsible for churning out neurotransmitters to the limbic system that tell the brain how to respond to stimuli and whether or not it’s supposed to be calm or on high alert. Even memories of events can trigger this physical stress response in our bodies.

With modern living, part of training our brains to adapt to our new environments involves our ability to recognize the root of what we want to transform and working with what’s there, rather than trying to constantly fight the outward symptoms of what the brain is doing. Someone might think that by getting into a space that’s completely quiet, she’ll be able to focus better, but if the quieter environment makes her brain becomes even more hyper-attuned to any tiny distraction, it’s counterproductive. Perhaps one thinks plugging in headphones with her favorite music will tune out noise and help focus, in but if the music is too fast or has words that evoke memories or heightened emotions, the brain might cause a stress response that has an opposite effect.

No one strategy fits all; however, anything that sends energy to the prefrontal cortex does help build that “muscle” of focus, despite the signals from the environment.

The prefrontal cortex plays the role of the executive controlling consciousness. It is central to decision-making, planning, modulating emotional experience and logical thought. When it’s energized, it provides the much-needed focused attention required to thrive in our over-stimulating environment and helps people get things done.

Source: Sandra Vela is a master facilitator of Higher Brain Living. For more information, call 956-351-0825 or visit

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