The subthalamic nucleus is a region in the brain that interrupts our ability to focus on tasks. It is called into action whenever something in our environment catches our attention. Its purpose is to prepare us for fight or flight by clearing out all current thinking so that we can focus on the external stimuli that interrupted our thinking. In the modern age of email notifications, text message notifications, Facebook notifications and phones ringing, the sub thalamic nucleus is perpetually at work, distracting us. As a result, we are constantly preparing for fight or flight. Thus, our focus is constantly shifting from one thing to another. And this is very bad. An overactive subthalamic nucleus means we are constantly distracted at work, decreasing our efficiency, productivity and costing us (if small business) or our employers (if employee) time and money. It’s no wonder so many individuals and companies are struggling financially.
So, what can we do? Daily meditation may be the solution. Like exercising a muscle, daily meditation increases your ability to focus and, through daily practice, when distractions occur, your brain is strong enough to shut down the subthalamic nucleus from pulling you in different directions. A study from Emory University found that 20 minutes a day of meditation is enough to override this region of the brain, allowing you to focus. Also, shutting off notifications limits external distractions from pulling you away from the tasks you are focused on. Lastly, taking a break from a task, every hour or so, helps restore your willpower reserve, enabling you to focus more on those tasks. So, start meditating, shut off notifications and take a short break every hour or so and you will increase your ability to focus, which will improve your efficiency and productivity.