"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses the power of questioning and expanding our focus.
By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea
If you have a piece of paper grab it, or simply imagine one, place a single small dot anywhere on the paper, and look at the page. What do you notice?
This isn’t a puzzle, or a cryptic riddle. It’s a reflective exercise to understand how and what you might focus on.
Some people will become fixated on the dot, what it looks like, represents, and reminds them of.
The same thing can happen in our daily lives. We can become engrossed in certain things; tunnel vision takes over and everything becomes relative to the dot.
When this happens, we can become preoccupied and lose sight of what is important to us.
But what if we also considered the blank space?
If we shift our focus from the dot to the page, there’s a wealth of space to a comparatively small dot.
This space can be indicative of many things, opportunity in particularly. The space for creativity, for change, growth and for something other than a singular fixation.
Being able to look at the bigger picture and interrogating what we see and why can be liberating.
By practicing this kind of reflection, you can give yourself permission to consider alternative situations, context, and the flexibility of reality.
However, broadening one’s focus is sometimes easier said than done. We bring with us past experiences and education which can shape our response to stimulus, alongside our present mindset and busyness which can influence our focus.
Mindful practices can be used to help create the time, space, and ability to step back and reflect.
Breathing exercises are among the most accessible and simple tools to creating such a space. Some techniques include box breathing; whereby you inhale for four seconds, hold your breath for four seconds and then exhale for four seconds, repeatedly. Another exercise is belly breathing and mindful breathing.
There are numerous apps and resources online with further information on breathing and mindfulness techniques.
If you have a spare moment today, consider if there’s something you’re fixating on and what you might see if you broaden your focus.