A 3-Part Exercise For Better Focus, From A Neuroscientist



The “flashlight” step of this three-part exercise might sound familiar if you’ve ever engaged in a mindfulness practice, Jha says. It’s essentially mindful breathing, and to get started, you’ll want to sit comfortably with good posture and close your eyes.

The object of this practice, she says, is to pick a target for your attention and then keep your attention focused there. “The reason I call it the ‘find your flashlight practice’ is because we’re going to think of our attention like a flashlight and direct it willfully toward something,” she adds.

The target in question will be breath-related sensations. “Maybe it’s your chest or abdomen moving up and down […] or the coolness of air on your nostrils,” Jha says, adding, “Whatever it is, clue into what is prominent and then really set the intention to have the flashlight of your attention be right there.”

She notes this is not breathwork, and you don’t have to try to control the breath. “You’re not doing anything to your breath—you’re taking an observational stance,” she explains.

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