Category Archives: focus

Increasing Focus: Calming the Craziness


AUGUST 6, 2012

As I was driving home through the city today I was distracted by all of the commotion outside of my car.  Tractor trailers were banging and clanging quickly past me. On the sidewalk, construction workers were shouting to one another, finishing up the day’s work. Loud noises, such as radios and car horns, were invading my quiet space. My thoughts were scattered and I was having a hard time concentrating on one thing at a time. My mind was racing from topic to topic. Then I realized; it all reminded me of a busy day on a nursing unit!

I know we have all had experiences like these: getting interrupted while calculating medication dosages, being called to the telephone while in the middle of patient teaching, or hearing a bed alarm and rushing away from talking to a family member about how their loved one is doing. This is the nature of our position as a nurse. We need to be in a million different places all at one time. We care for many people at the same time. We have so much to get done each day and so much responsibility on our shoulders. It can be a distracting role with its multiple facets and tasks.

Is anyone else cringing at the thought of “chaos” and “exhaustion” too?!?

One way to decrease distraction during your day-to-day routine is by using positive affirmations. Stating positive declarations can create greater focus, increased concentration and a sense of balance. Taking time out each day to sit quietly, breathe, and state these things either to yourself or aloud can have a deep impact on your happiness, peace of mind, and health.

When you take a minute to consciously quiet the mind, you create a mental space that is free from disruption. With practice, you can call upon this “space” of mind at any point during a busy shift.

Here is what you do. Make time each day, either in the morning or the evening, to quietly state each affirmation. Reflect on what it means to you. You can also begin to add affirmations of your own as you become comfortable with the process. Take a slow and deep breath in and out through your nose between each of the affirmations. Become aware how you feel and start to notice any shifts in energy, mood, or stress levels. Also, observe how you relate to others; your patients, your family, your friends, or your colleagues. Here are some statements I use that can help you get started:

  • I am exactly where I need to be as my journey in life reveals itself to me.
  • I honor my mind, body, and soul and treat each aspect of my being with respect.
  • I am a confident, knowledgeable, and successful role model as I inspire others to be the same.
  • I know great joy and peace and therefore have wonderful energy.
  • My speech is a form of love.
  • I am limitless in my capacity for joy, healing, and happiness.
  • I will achieve perfect balance and be successful in all that I take on.

Realizing that you are worth it and taking the time to sit quietly with your own positive thoughts will greatly affect your life on many levels. You will create a way to cope with distraction during your busy days. You will generate a calmer presence through slowing down and breathing. Knowing that you are a wholesome force of good that deserves peace and joy in your life will create a space of being able to receive for yourself. You deserve great happiness, peace, and love in your life.  Make room for yourself!


~Elizabeth “Coach” Scala is a Holistic Health Nurse, Integrative Wellness Coach, & Reiki Master who Guides Nurses that are Ready for a Total Wellness Transition on a Mind-Body-Emotion-Spirit Level. Find her and more information at




Flow is a source of mental energy in that it focuses attention and motivates action. Flow is a state — a fleeting experience of various qualities. Flow theory, developed by Mihaly

Csikzentmihalyi, has been characterized as having these qualities:

• Effortless concentration and enjoyment

• Complete immersion

• there is no room in your awareness for conflicts or contradictions

• Flashes of intense living against the dull background of everyday life

• Effortless action that some people feel stand out as the best in their lives.

• Athletes refer to it as “being in the zone,” religious mystics as being in ecstasy, artists and

musicians as aesthetic rapture.

Csikzentmihalyi asserted that “the happiness that follows flow is of its own making, and it leads to increasing complexity and growth in consciousness,” which is the whole point.

Higher stages of human development have been found to resemble this list of attributes, according to Hartman and Zimberoff.

Descriptions of people functioning at an optimal level include:

• increasing flexibility

• conceptual complexity

• tolerance for ambiguity

• recognition and acceptance of internal contradictions

• a broader and more complex understanding of the self, others and the self in relation to


• internalized self-control

• emotional self-regulation

• transcendence of ego boundaries

• transparency;

• “post-ambivalence” i.e. total whole-hearted and un-conflicted love, acceptance, and


This is our aim. To evermore embody increasingly higher levels of complexity, with greater ease and fullness… and to model this for our students, colleagues and the administrative leaders with whom we work. “Flow happens when a person’s skills are fully involved in overcoming a challenge that is just about manageable,” according to Hartman. And Zimberoff.


We create flow by offering an opportunity in which a student/learner must stretch to acquire a new skill, whilst using all of her previously attained skills, and this with a refined level of support for facing the challenge.

According to Flow theory, Flow activities allow a person to focus on goals that are clear and compatible, and provide immediate feedback. The clarity of the goal has been found to create a “self-contained universe,” where everything is black and white. Flow tends to occur when a person is engaged in their favorite subject. Surprisingly, flow states occur more often at work than at leisure. Flow dissipates when the level of challenge is too low, or too high. A person’s skills must be fully involved to create flow.

A note on embodying flow: When one allows oneself to relax into the mystery that we are, there is an effacement — an opening — an allowance to being touched by a silent, dynamic force which has an intelligence that, again when I allow it, or soften into it, has an unerring potency and inherent knowing. Flow itself seems to have the “answers,” the way, the depth and breadth to move us into new, deeper contact with life. There is a sense of intimacy, immediacy, wholeness and “rightness.”

energy – do a monthly review


At the end of every month, I conduct a review. I look at many areas of my life, like finances, relationships, self-care, and more. While I’m thinking about these categories, I review what worked well and what didn’t go so well.

In addition, I ask myself a lot of questions, like:

– What did I learn during the month?
– Where did I grow and what can I focus on next month?
– Where did I focus most of my energy?

On the surface the review process seems cumbersome. However, I’ve found that these monthly reviews keep me on track and motivated to complete my goals. Everything requires energy and I want to be sure I’m putting energy toward priorities that matter, like family, doing good work, and giving back.

Want to conduct a monthly review? Read this post. It’s an older article, but toward the end you’ll find guidelines to get started. And while you’re at it, make a cup of coffee. Drinking coffee while reflecting on the past month always brings me joy.

Be well,