focus points

This post has been swirling in my head since I made my intentions and wrote my 2012 Future Letter.

What I didn’t expect was to be in such dire need of this advice myself at this very moment.

You see, I digest a lot of spiritual, self-help(ish), business, and intention material. About 40% of the books, tv shows, podcasts, and blogs I consume focus on these themes. It’s a personal passion that has been a part of me my whole life and serves my purpose pretty well, too.

Some passionate accountants have been tracking expenses since they were a kid. Where as I was nicknamed Inner Peace on my seventh grade basketball team and my AIM screen name in high school was InnerPeace40. Yeah, I was that cool.

But back to the point: in all of the messages I have absorbed, one theme has been bubbling to the surface lately: we have the power to choose what we think and say, which will impact how we will eventually feel.

The opposite of this would be to think and believe whatever silly, mindless, hurtful, or fearful thing pops in our head and believe it as fact. I personally don’t regulate my thoughts that much, and therefore have more of these negative thoughts than I’d like.

And I want to change that.

To make this metal shift, I have realized that I am going to need to start observing my thoughts more carefully and find out where my attention lies. Just like in yoga class, I want to start noticing my thoughts at my desk, in my bed, on the bus, and while blow drying my hair.

Naturally, I fluctuate between positive moods and negative ones. And there is a symbiotic relationship between the mood I’m feeling and the thoughts I’m having. Both fuel one another.

So by changing what I’m thinking about, I’m hoping that I can over time influence my mood and reactions to things that happen day to day.

However, the first thing that comes to mind is affirmations. Then I immediately think of hippy dippy crystals, meditation chant circles, and Vegan ice cream sundaes.

Not that there is anything wrong with those things, but despite my new-age childhood nickname, I don’t relate to them naturally. Though spiritual, I don’t balance my chakras and therefore, I associate affirmations with things that don’t feel like me.

So to change that, I chose to look at the same habit in a different way. I “re-branded,” if you will, the idea of affirmations and came up with a term that sits with me a bit better: focus points.

Since we naturally always have a focus point, whether it’s chosen or not, we can stop and identify what we are centering on. And then we can choose to shift the focus to a more positive one, if needed.

For myself personally, I’m hoping to shift my focus point when I’m feeling stressed out or thinking about work after hours, to more positive beliefs about the situation or more presence.

I also have a theory that I’m excited to test out: I think I have the ability to get much more enjoyment out of fun things like hanging out with friends or Mr. Lively if I just take a moment to reflect on the fun I’m having and the moment that I’m experiencing.

Too often I don’t let really cool experiences sink in. I can be distracted by a negative focus point in a totally different area of my life that is completely separate from the present, fun, moment. By reflecting, even in the good times, on my focus point, I think I’ll enjoy life more.



This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. This idea is on my mind late…I recently heard a sermon preached about Rethinking. Joyce Meyer is also big on renewing the mind and reflecting on our thoughts.

    Lat year, I started taking tangible steps to keep positive thoughts in while kicking out negative ones. I found out that when I am tired or hungry is when i give in to the negative thoughts a lot. Last night I was up real early ‘cus I had two meetings in town. By the time, I got back home in the evening, i was so exhausted, hungry and still attempted writing, but I ended up having a nervous break-down, crawled into bed and sobbed. All i could think about before i broke down were negative thots of how nothing was ever going to work out even if I worked hard enough. So untrue,but I let it sink in and was too tired to filter it or replace them with good thoughts.

    Wheew…I wrote in my journal tis morning…when I am tired, I will rest, when I am hungry I will eat, when I am stressed, I will do somethng fun and when I am discouraged, I will pray.

    And even it something does not work out…i will keep going.

    That was a long comment. ūüôā

  2. SJM

    I love this idea! I’ve been struggling with trying to embrace things I know I need but that I find too traditional or uncomfortable (Chanting “om,” affirmations, etc).

    I keep forgetting you can take the best parts of things and make something new for yourself! Thanks for reminding me….

  3. Clara

    I love this, Jess! I’ve recently been doing something somewhat similar when I get really angry or upset. I don’t know how it started but a week or so ago when I would get really angry about something small I find myself pausing, questioning myself for my feelings, and being able to let go of the anger. I so often get upset over the smallest things, and now it’s as if I’m able to let go over the anger because I feel so foolish for getting angry in the first place. In my head I’m thinking, I’m not going to get angry, I don’t want to be that type of person! It’s been helpful so far, we’ll see how long it lasts…

  4. erin

    This post is so relevant for me, and yet another reason why I keep coming back for more. Thank you, Jess, for being so real, and for admitting what 99% of us are thinking or going through as well… not to mention offering a simple and logical way to deal! I have yet to find one of your posts uninspiring.

    P.S. I linked to you in my post today (re: something I discovered on FlipBoard, how awesome FlipBoard is, and how I discovered the app in the first place – here!).

  5. Such a great post. I find myself focusing on something totally related to what I’m doing (especially when I’m supposed to be having fun and relaxing) ALL THE TIME. I hope you’ll eep us posted on your progress as you work to put your new “focus points” method into action and let us know if you discover any good tips for staying positive and in the moment.

  6. Jess

    AdeOla, yep, Joyce definitely was ringing in my ears when I made this intention! I love that deep phrase you made as well in your journal, it’s just beautiful!

    SJM, you are most welcome!

    CB, I love that video! I just posted it on the MML FB wall. : )

    Clara, that’s wonderful! I’d just recommend gently returning back to your intention if you ever find yourself not following the plan.

    Erin, that is so sweet of you! I am happy to hear that my “mess” can become a helpful message!

    Alyssa, see my most recent post on Friday! I think I covered part of your question. Please do the email intervention with me!

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