Character Chats

How can we calm our brains and bodies so we can focus?

Here at True Balance Karate, we have a True Character program. It’s our comprehensive character development program.

I’m Master H, the head instructor here at the studio. I have two master’s degrees in education. I’ve developed a curriculum to meet the needs of every student who walks in the door, whether they are three or 83.

This month we’re talking about discipline.

Last month, we were talking about goal setting, and I find that discipline and goal-setting go great together.

We can’t achieve our goals without discipline — without our focus, without our willpower, without our drive to achieve that goal that we set forth in January.

We need our willpower, and we need to understand that there are rewards and consequences for our discipline.

This week we’re talking about how we can calm our minds and bodies so that we can focus.

Dealing with distractions

At any moment, there will be things that distract us.

For example, a fire engine racing down the street with the horns blaring.

Or, someone drops something. Think about being in a library and somebody drops a book. It was totally quiet, and that book fell, and everybody stops and looks around.

That just pulled all of those people off of focus.

So what can we do to help calm our minds, calm our bodies, and help ourselves stay focused?

There are some great options for us…

Do some exercise

One thing we can do is exercise.

Exercise is a great way to help us remain focused. It releases positive endorphins, it makes us feel good about ourselves, and it gives us an opportunity to work out the wiggles. (Yes, adults, even we have the wiggles.)

Exercise helps us in so many ways. By having a great routine set of exercise, even if it’s as simple as taking a 20-minute walk around the block, having that kind of consistent movement in your day can help you remain focused.

As we’re going through and talking about focus and things like that, maybe what you need is a momentary brain break.

You could take a walk right after lunch, or something like that. It helps improve our focus.

Think about what kind of movement can you put in your day that would help grow your focus — something that would help you recenter where you’re at.

Have a dance-off

Another great option to help calm our minds and bodies is, well, I refer to it as a dance-off.

Parents, this is great for kids when you’re at home with them. They get home from school and are overwhelmed with all the information that they got in school. So you turn on the music and you have a five minute dance-off — shake it off, let go of the whole day.

It’s very similar to exercise, yes, but kids will be laughing. They’ll be giggling. They’ll be starting to feel positive, and they’ll be moving.

It’ll help shake off any kinds of things that were possibly negative from school — or something that maybe discouraged them or something like that.

By teaching them, “hey, let’s take a brain break and just move for a moment,” you’re helping them be able to refocus on their homework later in the day.

Find a quiet space

There’s another great way to calm our brains and calm our bodies.

Some of us just need a quiet room — that peaceful place, that spot in our houses or in our offices or in our cars, or wherever it may be that is calm.

It is a quiet place. It is the way we need it to be. It could be a dark room, or it could be a favorite chair.

But it’s finding that quiet place to just sit and breathe — and let everything else go.

This is a great way to calm our minds and calm our bodies, and then we can get up and we can focus again.

Talk it out

Here’s another option: talk.

Talk with someone. Talk it out, share where you’re at.

Discuss your joys, frustrations, happiness, successes, and things you’re working towards.

When we share with each other, we realize we’re not alone. And by sharing, we find that we have more in common than we realize.

Refocus and stay disciplined

When we can find these moments, we can find ways to calm ourselves down.

This helps us refocus and stay disciplined so we stay the course towards our goals, working towards what we want to achieve.

Because it’s all about what we can do to help each other be focused and help ourselves refocus. Along the way our discipline grows.

And as we teach some of these to our children, we need to make sure that we give it to them in a way that they can understand.

For example, finding a quiet space and just breathing — giving them the idea that if thoughts enter their minds, they can let them float past their head like a cloud in the sky. Don’t let it sit there. See it, let it float away.

Maybe in that quiet room, we encourage our children to think of a place that brings them peace and calm. Perhaps we encourage them to think of a place that brings them happiness and joy.

Have them think of these kinds of things to help them focus on positive things so that they can grow their discipline and refocus back on what they need to work on.

And as adults, we get to learn a few things too.

My happy place is picturing the beach, and I actually have little pieces of seashell all over my house. When I need a moment, I find one of those shells. There’s one in my desk. There’s one up in the bathroom cabinet. There is actually one here at the studio.

I find those shells, and I rub them, and I feel the shell underneath my thumb. I picture the sand underneath my toes, and I kind of ground myself back into that calm, peaceful feeling. Then I’m able to refocus on my work along the way.

So find what works for you — dance off, exercise, movements, talk, meditation. Give yourself an opportunity to calm yourself down, refocus your body, and then refocus your mind back on the task at hand.

Thanks, and we’ll see you on the mat.