May I Challenge Your Attention, Please?
By Mark Bloom, Legends Report Writer
Start the Timer...
Are you able to make it to the end of this article? Apparently, most people can only make it 60% of the way through an online article, and 55% of the time people spend roughly 15 seconds on a webpage. This means that by the time you reach the end of this sentence, most will already have left the page.
Will you be one of them?
I congratulate those of you who have made it this far and are now initiates of Attention Club. First rule of Attention Club... don’t talk about Attention Club (apologies).
Pop culture references aside, well done, seriously. In an age of technological advancements which allow you to read this article on a wireless device in the palm of your hand, it is easy to speculate as to how people’s attention spans have shrunk. A hundred years ago people were reading tome-sized novels like Tolstoy’s War and Peace, and now we have the above statistics to consider. So what can we do about this?
Cause And Effect
While technology is likely not the only contributor to the shrinking attention span, I am certain that it is a key contributor, especially when paired with social media and the dopamine hit received via the instant gratification of a like or share. I, of course, am not judging outwardly; rather, I myself have experienced this lack, and later growth, in attention span.
I, like many my age (29), grew up partially without and partially with the advanced technologies we see commonly today. I recall as a child spending hours drawing pictures after school, and I also recall as a teenager spending seconds impatiently waiting for a response on social media. It was only in my adult life, around the age of 25, that I became consciously aware of my lacking attention.
To remedy this, I decided to take action. I began reading fiction, starting with short reads and taking them one chapter a day. In time, I found myself building upon that set foundation, reading more, and even made attempts at writing my own fictional stories. A few years later, having implemented a few more ideas, which will be discussed below, I am now a published author writing this, my first ever article, to you.
Meditation And Frequency
Through the above-mentioned daily reading, I realised that I was spending less time with technology and social media as a welcome side-effect. It soon became apparent that my attention span was increasing. In seeing the correlation, I figured I should find more ways, or excuses, to step away from technology and social media. The trouble is finding an activity you’re willing and able to do, especially early on in the “withdrawal phase”.
Fortunately, I am a musician and have studied music a long while, having gained a certain degree of understanding in frequency and vibration. All we see and hear travels in waves, which are measured in frequency: Hertz or Cycles – I prefer Cycles, it sounds less painful. Any given frequency corresponds to a number and that number to a bandwidth: Alpha, Beta, Theta, Delta, or Gamma.
Don’t let me lose you now. I’m going somewhere with this, I promise...
These frequency bandwidths are also applied to brainwaves, and an FDA study has revealed that there is a connection between ADHD and Beta brainwaves (This is not a means of self-diagnosis and should not be used as such). The connection here is with Beta brainwaves and lacking attention. None of the bandwidths are intrinsically bad, each having their purposes. For instance, Beta is the state you are in when engaged, active, and or vigilant; like when using technology and, more specifically, social media. Issues arise when one becomes stuck in such a state.
Where meditation came into play, for me, was upon viewing a video presentation on the phenomena of entrainment. This is where the most powerful, or most persistent, frequency overrides the rest, which in turn synchronise with it – this can be seen with metronomes starting at different times to one another, synchronising over the span of a couple of minutes, or so. Applying this phenomena to brainwaves, meditation can have the same effect with practice.
Fun fact: the television was designed with the Alpha state in mind, and within a minute of watching most viewers enter this state.
Meditation allows one to calm the mind and move from the higher bandwidths – Beta and Gamma – into the lower bandwidths – Theta and Delta. So if you are having the same trouble I had in finding activities you’re willing and able to do, meditation is one which requires very few, if any, resources. You can even begin right after you finish this article, if you so choose. Implementing this even 10 minutes a day should over time take effect in a similar way to entrainment, easing those Gamma and Beta waves into Theta or Delta, calming the mind and broadening the attention span.
From this point, I found myself naturally gravitating more to reading and writing, even teaching myself new languages, which I still continue to do. And best of all, I didn’t miss social media one bit – I actually deleted all of my accounts; Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Bonus Attention Club Content
I understand many will not want to take so far a step away from technology and social media as I, and nor are you obliged to, so I should like to mention something free – yes free – that can help with meditation. This is something which has helped me greatly, and is even beginning to be used in medical sciences.
Binaural Beats are sound tracks which are recorded and produced in a single or sometimes multiple frequencies. These tracks will of course correspond to one of the particular bandwidths mentioned above, so the listener can scour YouTube at will for the frequencies they like or the bandwidth they want. I personally am subscribed to the YouTube channel ‘Meditative Mind’, who upload regularly and with a wide variety of frequencies to choose from.
If you made it this far, to the end, I applaud you. And if the opening statistics are anything to go by, most share an article without having read all of it. So I’ll mention it here, that if you wish to share this article with others, now is the time. And if you enjoyed the content of this article, and of the links provided, I would recommend checking out David Gibson's explanation of Binaural Beats and their effect on the brain, here. Or if you would like to jump right into a meditation track, I'll recommend one of my favourites in the Theta frequency of 741 Cycles.
We have a lot of support here at the Legends Report to help you gain more control of your mind and run many support groups on meditation as it's very common to struggle to follow through with it regularly. If you'd like to learn more about those just reply in the form below.
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