Se­cret to all-day hap­pi­ness

Renowned stress ex­pert Amit Sood, M.D., shares the sci­ence- backed tech­nique known as “fo­cused at­ten­tion” that can slash stress and boost pos­i­tiv­ity through­out our hec­tic days. Here, the sim­ple steps that put an end to wor­ries and send joy soar­ing

First For Women - - Feel-Good File -

New neu­ro­science find­ings re­veal there’s a bi­o­log­i­cal rea­son why our to-do lists aren’t just long but never-end­ing—and why we can’t get out from un­der to en­joy the con­tent­ment we crave. Ac­cord­ing to Amit Sood, M.D., chair of the Mayo Clinic Mind Body Ini­tia­tive and au­thor of The Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-Free Liv­ing, our brain see­saws be­tween two modes: the fo­cused mode, when we’re ab­sorbed in a state of cheer­ful en­gage­ment; and the de­fault mode, when our mind wan­ders to un­done tasks and wor­ries. Prob­lem is, our brain is hard­wired to keep us fret­ting about work deadlines, doc­tor ap­point­ments and back-to-school busy­ness, so we don’t get enough time in that joy-boost­ing fo­cused mode.

“On av­er­age, the choices we have to make and the strug­gles we sift through each day sad­dle us with up to 150 ‘open files’ in our mind, so we spend 50 to 80 per­cent of our days phys­i­cally present, but men­tally dis­tracted by con­cerns and wor­ries,” Dr. Sood ex­plains. “We get so caught up in weed­ing the yards of our lives that we com­pletely miss the flow­ers around us—we post­pone joy.”

Through his work with thou­sands of pa­tients over the past two decades,

Dr. Sood has dis­cov­ered that sprin­kling mo­ments of “fo­cused at­ten­tion” through­out the day, dur­ing which we con­sciously choose our thoughts and sen­sory ex­pe­ri­ences, can re­bal­ance our brain, al­low­ing us to break free of stress and step into bliss. Here’s how:

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