Concepts regarding focus keep coming up for me as I enter this new year. With new classes starting just a week ago, my goal to pay attention to one thing at a time, whether it be a lecture, just one of my assignments, a project, or even things not related to classes, has been a challenge. Yet, it lowers stress. Who knew difficult things could actually make me less stressed?
But wait, now that I think of it, ballet is mentally challenging. Yoga classes I take encourage me to connect mentality to breath to movement. Mentally tough things can correlate with stress reduction. The overarching theme is that these mental challenges are mental strengtheners. To reduce toxic fat in my body, I build muscle. To reduce toxic stress building up in my body, I build mental toughness, aka focus. Maybe I’m onto something here.
My music director in high school described singing as a conscious effort. It isn’t enough to hear the song and sing the note; you have to be aware of all the components. The start of the note, the end of the note, the quality of the breath, the tone of your voice, and the way you move to generate breath, are all important to producing a good sound. Again, it is about focus. The components my director described that are needed to create a good sound are all ways to focus on the sound itself.
My biggest lesson learned this week regarding focus is that it requires practice. Building a foundational, strong technique in ballet takes practice too. My focus practices this week have been helping my stress levels as I adjust to a new quarter of classes. It has been hard, like practicing yoga is hard. That is why we practice. When I focus, I am practicing yoga in the real world. I am taking my understanding of how to learn ballet technique and translating the process to writing a piece of code. Maybe stress reduction is a conscious effort too.