Now, more than ever, our world is moving so rapidly that it sometimes feels impossible to keep pace with the constant changes and demands. We get pulled from one project to another. Fires need to be put out that pull our focus from vision, mission and priority tasks.
This creates confusion and stress in the mindbody. If we are not mindful of ourselves, the emotions surfacing with the physical sensations can be buried down deep and wreak havoc on our biology while the mental and emotional stress fatigues and wears us down.
There are many ways to cut through the chaos, but figure-ground perception in Gestalt therapy and signal-to-noise ratio are foundational theories that move us back into focus quickly, tactically and meaningfully. Try them using the techniques below.
When you look at an image or scene, your eyes focus on what you look at directly and blurs the rest out as background. If you move your focus, what had been clear now becomes fuzzy as the new background. Right now, take a long, full breath. In this moment, identify one priority that stands out as the figure on which you must focus. Identify everything else as the background. Allow your mind to refocus and prioritize the way that the eyes, ears and our other senses can when we go into stillness and quiet.
Open your ears to pay attention to sound, and begin to notice that one sound is more prominent to you. You tune in and this becomes a signal to the brain. All other sounds at this point are noise. Take a long, full breath. In this moment, identify in your mind a priority that will bring you to joy and purpose. Like your ears, the mind can home in on a signal, or priority, that keeps you on track to live in meaning. Allow other distractors trying to steal your attention to become background noise.
Multi-tasking is a “skill” many people brag about. While it may seem that much is being accomplished, very little thoughtfulness and quality is being given as there is no figure or signal. Rather, everything is seen as background and noise; tasks become superficial rather than meaningful priorities. Even in the busiest of times, it is possible to take a breath and handle one thing at a time more quickly and effectively than previously believed possible.