Why Unfocused Attention Leads to Anxiety and Stress

Our daily lives can be OK – good enough job, we have friends, we do our best to lead a healthy lifestyle etc. Yet we feel stressed-out and depleted at the end of the day. Or even before noon.

We all have such out of control days. Like we are just along for a ride on a mad rollercoaster.

While other days we are firing on all cylinders all day long and are still full of energy and ready to go in the evening.

Why is that so? And how can we have more of the latter days?

The clue lies in figuring out what makes other days so full of energy and enthusiasm. What is so special about them.

When DO We Feel Good?

When do we feel good – happy, energised, fulfilled, at peace, satisfied? When can we really say that we had a good day?

Does it have to be a relaxed day at the beach?

No, of course not. Leisure only feels good after we have expended our energy on a worthwhile action. When it is a recharge and rejuvenation.

We feel satisfaction after a day where we worked on and focused upon something that interests us, that we find meaningful, that we believe in, that we are even passionate about. After a day of personally, subjectively meaningful action and focus.

That’s why people who do work they love are always full of ideas, energy and enthusiasm. Their energy is being replenished. Even more so, their energy is multiplying!

When we feel trapped or stuck doing work we are not interested in and find meaningless, when we believe we can’t afford the time or money to pursue our interests or have hobbies – our energy becomes stale.

We do not expend our energy, thus it does not replenish.

A good way to know what kind you are going to have is to notice your inner conversations – are they positive or negative, do they presume good things happening, or do they expect the worst?

Monkey Mind

If we want to change our life experience – how we feel throughout the day – we first gotta learn to guide our mind. Our thoughts determine our perspective, reactions and emotions. Our emotions are our subjective life experience.

How we feel is how our life feels.

An out-of-control monkey-mind will wreak havoc in our inner world. It feels like thoughts are thinking you.

With untrained mind we live in a response-only mode. There is no place for peace, happiness and real joy. It is dominated by outer impressions, other people’s opinions and noise that has no real meaning for us.


Photo by Maxime Raphael.

An unfocused mind reacts to everything happening around us. What the news media tells us important. What other people are experiencing and talk about. What we see going on around us.

If we want to be happy and feel fulfilled, we have to learn to guide our minds.

Not control our minds. Thoughts happen. Thoughts have momentum. It is impossible to control our thoughts, but we can learn to work with and guide them.

Our Focus Determines Our Subjective Life Experience

Our life experiences are subjective. They are determined by our beliefs and previous experiences – what we have been taught, our attitudes, what meaning we assign to circumstances and events, our expectations.

In other words, our mood determines how our day goes, not the other way around.

And, perhaps more importantly, our daily mood shapes our personality. Bit by bit, the attitudes we choose throughout the day accumulate into beliefs, thought patterns, actions/reactions and become the foundation of our personality.

Our practiced mood becomes our perspective and default response to life.

Our practiced mood becomes our personality. And we can choose our mood deliberately.

Homework for the Next Week:

Practice self-awareness. Be mindful of your mood throughout the day. What thoughts you were thinking that changed your mood? When you notice a change in your mood, think back about what thoughts you were thinking beforehand.

What inner conversations were you entertaining throughout the day?

Notice the connection between what thoughts you think, how you feel and how your day goes.

Before You Go:

To make this newsletter relevant and valuable to you, please let me know what is your number one question about personal development and spirituality? What are you struggling with currently? With what do you need help and support?

Let me know in the comments or through the contact form.


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